Soldier receives fourth Bronze Star for valorous service - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Soldier receives fourth Bronze Star for valorous service

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SFC John Melson receives his fourth Bronze Star SFC John Melson receives his fourth Bronze Star
FORT BENNING, Ga. -

SFC John Melson, 42, received his fourth Bronze Star marked with a "V" for valor in recognition for his outstanding service in Afghanistan.

He says his dedication comes from a very personal place.

"I was attending college full-time," Melson remembers. "9/11 happened. I watched it live in the cafeteria while I was in college. At the time I knew something was wrong. I tried to enlist that same day, and later on that night I found out that a childhood friend that I grew up playing hockey with was on the flight coming from Boston. I just felt it was something I had to do."

Melson had been out of the Marines for nearly a decade, but since joining the Army National Guard in 2004 he has served in six combat tours.

During Operation Enduring Freedom in May 2009 he and a ten-man team survived an ambush of 250 Taliban fighters with the help of just 12 Afghani national policemen.

Army National Guard director LTG William Ingram, who presented the award, remarks, "SFC Melson, at that time SSG Melson, quickly identified and destroyed several Taliban fighting positions, all while his turret was being hit by machine gun bullets, and his vehicle was being attacked by RPG teams."

"It really wasn't much of a thought process," says Melson. "It was just what was right, and right to me was not to leave anybody behind."

He stayed with his humvee and a trapped driver after the vehicle flipped into a canal, ensuring that everyone made it out alive.

As a Ranger instructor at the National Guard's Warrior Training Center at Fort Benning, Melson has received two Purple Hearts, seven Army Commendation Medals, two of which are marked with a "V," and an Army Achievement Medal in addition to his four bronze stars.

Ingram says Melson demonstrates all the values set forth by the Army.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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