Narrative Recommendation For Award of The Army Commendation Medal (With “V” Device) To Staff Sergeant Dylan J. Elchin
Staff Sergeant Dylan J. Elchin, United States Air Force, distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous achievement to the United States as a U.S. Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) attached to Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. SSgt Elchin conducted a ten-day response mission to Ghazni City, Ghazni Province to repel over 500 Taliban fighters that had attacked and seized much of the city.
On 12 August 2018, SSgt Elchin served as the detachment JTAC during the execution of the Quick Reaction Force mission when Taliban fighters attacked the convoy of U.S Special Forces and Afghan Commandos. SSgt Elchin was in the lead U.S. vehicle moving to assist the Ghazni Prison when Taliban fighters engaged the U.S. and Afghan convoy with multiple RPGs, PKM machine gun fire, and Small-Arms Fire from a well-fortified compound. SSgt Elchin’s vehicle was struck by an RPG that disabled both the vehicle and its primary weapon system leaving the vehicle completely exposed and vulnerable to enemy fire. Following the RPG strike, SSgt Elchin, judging the severity of the situation, acted without hesitation and opened the rear hatch of the RG-33. At great personal risk and complete disregard for his own personal safety, SSgt Elchin exposed himself in the rear air-guard hatch to facilitate communication with aircraft overhead. Atop the disabled U.S. vehicle and completely exposed to enemy fire, SSgt Elchin, coordinated with U.S. aircraft amidst constant, effective RPG and heavy weapons fire. SSgt Elchin coordinated a strike against the well-fortified compound within minutes of initiation of the engagement which suppressed enemy fire and allowed friendly forces to start hooking up the disabled vehicle and facilitate the convoy’s movement from the ambush area.
Despite the initial air-to-ground strike against the enemy compound, all enemy fighters survived and began to re-engage friendly forces in the open around the disabled vehicle. SSgt Elchin for the second time, with complete disregard for his own personal safety and knowing that U.S. lives would likely be lost otherwise, exposed himself to heavy enemy machine gun and RPG fire to coordinate a second strike against the well-fortified structure. While exposed to the heavy enemy fire, SSgt Elchin coordinated the precise and life-saving ‘Danger-Close’ air-to-ground engagement that killed four heavily-armed and well-fortified Taliban fighters that had pinned down the U.S. and Afghan convoy along the open road. SSgt Elchin’s timely and precise actions while under heavy enemy fire were essential to saving the lives of the Special Forces Detachment and Afghan Commandos within the patrol. Staff Sergeant Elchin’s valorous actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.