U.S. Army Sgt. Shelly Amborn of Atwater was presented with the Combat Action Badge at a combat outpost in Kandahar Province by Combined Special Operations Task Force — Afghanistan commander Col. Mark C. Schwartz.
Amborn is a member of SOTF-South's CST, a team comprised of female soldiers who support coalition special operations forces by engaging the female population in an area where such contact may be deemed culturally inappropriate if performed by a male service member, according to a news release from the 19th Public Affairs Detachment.
Amborn and her unit traveled to a small village in Khakrez with coalition special operations forces to take part in a major clearing operation to disrupt insurgent activity in the northern part of the district. Once the SOTF team finished clearing the building, the CST would go in and search the females.
"The CST was taking part in a major clearing operation with us," said a coalition special operations forces team leader with SOTF-South. "Around mid-afternoon, a four- to five-man insurgent element engaged us with small-arms fire and (rocket propelled grenades)."
"You know it's a possibility that something like this can happen," Amborn said in the news release. "But until it does, you never think it's going to happen to you."
"During the entire operation, the CST acted very professionally," said the SOTF team leader. "We were able to set up a support by fire and sent a maneuver element to destroy the enemy. Soon after, the enemy broke contact and retreated."
The Combat Action Badge is awarded to members of the Army who, while serving in a hostile environment, are actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.