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Commack Soldier Saves Lives in Taliban Attack in Afghanistan

Known as the Guardian Angels, Long Island’s 106th Air Rescue Wing, saved the lives of three soldiers while under intense fire.

Photo by USAF / Senior Airman Christopher Muncy.
Photo by USAF / Senior Airman Christopher Muncy.

A Commack man is one of six members of the New York Air National Guard, known as the Guardian Angels, recently awarded a Bronze Star for valor.

The airmen flew two helicopters into an intense ground battle with Taliban forces in Kandahar Afghanistan last December. According the Air National Guard, Commack resident Sgt. Christopher Peterson, along with his team, treated three badly wounded Americans and one Afghan after the Taliban ambushed an Army patrol.  

The Combat Rescue Officer and five pararescuemen, flew into a "hot" LZ and were under continuous Taliban fire from AK-47s, machine guns, and rocket propelled grenades, as they called in helicopter gunship support, and provided emergency medical care to the four men while shielding them with their own bodies, according to the National Guard.

The Guardian Angels then carried the three injured soldiers back to the helicopters and flew them out of the dangerous combat.

Three of the rescued soldiers survived. The fourth lost three limbs to a bomb and died, according to CBS news report.

Bravery shown by Long Island’s 106th Air Rescue Wing, earned Sgt. Erik Blom of Hampton Bays, Sgt. Anthony Yusup of Pennsylvania, Sgt. Matthew Zimmer of Westhampton and Peterson the honors at a ceremony in Westhampton Beach

The soldiers live by the motto: "These things we do so that others may live."

The Bronze Star with V device is the fourth highest ranking United States military award for heroism. The six soldiers were awarded the star at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach.

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