Staff Sergeant John W. Walding, United States (US) Army, heroically
distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of the
enemy of the US, while serving as the Communications Sergeant for Operational
Detachment Alpha (ODA) 3336, Special Operations Task Force — 33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force — Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING
On 6 April 2008, Sergeant Walding heroically distinguished himself during a
combined raid against a High Value Target in Shok Valley, Nuristan Province,
With disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Walding fought his way through
intense sniper, machine gun, and RPG fire to reinforce his ODA and Afghan
Commandos pinned down by effective insurgent fire.
Sergeant Walding led an assault element from the ODA and Commandos uphill
for over an hour to reach the beleaguered force pinned against a near vertical
60 foot cliff.
Undeterred, knowing they had multiple urgent casualties, and in danger of
being overrun, Sergeant Walding led a courageous attack five hundred meters up
treacherous terrain, braving danger close air strikes to reinforce the most
After moving forward under Insurgent fire for more than an hour and killing
multiple insurgents, he finally reached the besieged element, and began to
organize Commandos to evacuate casualties.
His heroic actions and leadership under the worst of circumstances motivated
his Commandos, and his team mates to fight on as they faced nearly two hundred
well trained insurgents, during the six and a half hour gun battle.
As Sergeant Walding suppressed Insurgent positions, in order to protect his
fallen comrades, he was shot in the lower right leg by sniper fire, effectively
amputating his leg below the knee. Despite receiving a life threatening
amputation of his leg, Sergeant Walding continued to suppress Insurgent
positions in order to defend his comrades.
His heroic actions and determination in the face of extreme pain inspired
the entire assault force.
His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism
and reflect distinct credit upon himself, Special Operations Task Force — 33,
Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force — Afghanistan, Special Operations
Command Central and the United States Army.
Article Courtesy of Army Times: