WARRIOR AND SON—STAFF SERGEANT SEAN KEOUGH. A SALUTE TO HIS MOTHER, MRS. KRIS KEOUGH
MY APOLOGIES FOR AN OMISSION
When I wrote about Staff Sergeant Sean Keough’s courage some time back—which resulted in his being awarded a Silver Star—I made a major omission. Sadly, his parents are now divorced, and I forgot to mention his mother. My mistake, and one I regret deeply.
The achievements of a son reflects well on both parents. I was reminded of this truth when his mother, Mrs. Kris Keough, wrote to me to thank me for honoring Sean (whom I have known since he was a difficult teenager). I guess the word “difficult” is redundant in such a contest. Let’s put it this way: He was showing character and promise in his own idiosyncratic way—and he certainly delivered.
I have scant idea how to compensate for my errors in judgment. Arguably, the best thing I can do is repeat his citation. If you think about what was involved, and over such an extended period, his conduct was, indeed, awesome.
Acts of courage are always praiseworthy, and should be admired, but courage over a prolonged period is in a league of its own.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Army Ranger of 2nd Battalion Receives the Silver Star
In a rare public appearance for a tightly-knit special operations unit, awards were presented to members of the 2nd Battalion, 75th Rangers, home based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington.
One Ranger, Staff Sergeant Sean Keough, received the Silver Star for action against Taliban insurgents during a raid on an enemy compound last autumn.
Leading his squad, Keough saw one of his fellow Rangers shot and fall wounded, still under fire from the enemy. Keough placed himself between the fallen soldier and the enemy, returning fire in order to provide cover for other members of the unit who administered aid and retrieved their downed teammate.
Keough and another Ranger shot an insurgent who attacked them, but he received a gunshot wound to his arm. Despite his wound he remained in place, still delivering effective fire at the enemy while his squad radioed for a medevac.
The attacking force regrouped but Keough refused medical aid that would interfere with his mission, and directed and participated in attacking and overrunning the enemy compound eight hours later. He also received the Purple Heart for his wounds sustained in action against the enemy.
The award was presented by Lieutenant General John F Mulholland, commander of the US Army Special Operations Command. In addition to Keough, the battalion received two Valorous Unit Awards for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in summer 2005. Seven Rangers received the Bronze Star Medal (‘V’) for actions in combat, and five received the Soldier’s Medal for heroism in a non-combat role for rescuing two stranded climbers on Mount McKinley (Denali) in Alaska, in addition to 17 who received the Purple Heart, among other awards. During this latest deployment, four Rangers and an attached junior officer were killed in action, and many wounded, including 30 as a result of the explosion of an IED.
Since October 2001, the battalion has deployed 14 times and conducted over 2500 raids. It is preparing for its 15th deployment.
The figures quoted in this citation are worthy of both consideration and admiration. They reflect an intensity of combat that is practically inconceivable. “14 deployments—2,500 raids?”
Consider the stress and violence of just one.
I am a professional writer, and I just do not have the words to pay adequate tribute to such ongoing courage. Let me salute the entire Keough family.