RANGERS 2 Killeen, Ethan P.

Those Devils in Baggy Pants
By David Ross Fraley & Ross S. Carter

John Robertson

Staff member
Ethan P.
  • UNIT
75 Ranger Regiment (Company B,1 Bn)
  • RANK
Staff Sergeant
Silver Star
Afghanistan 2011
home town Oreland, Pennsylvania
WIA 13.6.2011 Paktika Province, Afghanistan


Silver Star : The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Ethan P. Killeen, United States Army, for gallantry in action on June 13, 2011 during combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States as a Squad Leader for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Sergeant Killeen came under heavy and sustained enemy machine gun and AK-47 fire from several shooters barricaded in the target compound. Despite being severely wounded with multiple gunshot wounds to the legs, left arm, and hand, Sergeant Killeen continued to engage the enemy. Refusing to give up his ground, he called out through the dense smoke and dust to identify the enemy location and make-up of the defensive position. When his squad reached him and began to extract him to safety, he continued to engage the enemy, issuing commands to his men and instructing them where to engage and how to eliminate the threat. Staff Sergeant Killeen's distinctive accomplishments are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, this Command, and the United States Army. NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD: Staff Sergeant Ethan P. Killeen, on June 13, 2011 distinguished himself by exceptionally heroic gallantry as a Squad Leader while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Staff Sergeant Killeen was assigned to a joint task force, whose mission was to kill or capture terrorists. On June 13, 2011, the task force conducted a raid, on a known enemy village in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. After becoming decisively engaged on three separate occasions, within one hour of insertion and sustaining one Friendly Killed in Action, the task force requested insertion of the quick reaction force team to assume the main effort and clearance of the primary target compounds. The QRF was re-tasked to contain the northern portion of the objective and interdict any possible enemy combatants who were attempting to flee from the objective area. SSG Killeen's team was to assume clearance of the target compounds. After successfully calling out the A Compound, and assaulting through and clearing three enemy who were killed in action in the alley leading up to the B compound, Staff Sergeant Killeen prepared his squad for the call-out of the B compound. After the escalation of force elicited no response, his squads moved to assault and clear the southern buildings behind the Multi-Purpose Canine (MPC), followed by the eastern portion of the B compound. Upon entering the final building on the south eastern side of the B Compound, Staff Sergeant Killeen, his Bravo Team, and the Mortar Section Leader found themselves in a small, left corner-fed room that led down a narrow hallway and seemed to end abruptly. Upon reaching the elbow in the hallway, Staff Sergeant Killeen identified an open breach to the north (left) blocked by two wheel-barrels. Flowing through the breach Staff Sergeant Killeen instantly received heavy machine gun and small arms fire from the back of an adjoining room. Moving to engage the enemy, Staff Sergeant Killeen sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the left hand, left arm, and both legs. Immediately realizing that the remainder of his squad and the rest of the QRF in the adjacent compound were at risk of being ambushed from behind by a heavily armed, fortified, and concealed enemy, Staff Sergeant Killeen rolled onto his back and effectively engaged the machinegun position, simultaneously alerting his squad to nature of the threat in front of them. The MPC "DJ" reacting to the gunfire entered the breach to building B. In the dust and smoke DJ became disoriented and latched onto the leg of Mortar Section Leader. Dragging DJ with him, the MSL moved up to Staff Sergeant Killeen and attempted to pull him backwards. Mistaking him for the enemy, DJ latched onto Staff Sergeant Killeen's good arm (right arm). Staff Sergeant Killeen found himself engaging a heavily fortified machinegun position less than three meters away, while severely wounded, and largely inhibited by the bite of a MPC who was attached to his shooting arm. Despite the odds stacked against him, Staff Sergeant Killeen knew that his squad faced imminent danger, and understood that if this barricaded enemy were able to re-organize and shift their fire onto the courtyard, they could effectively destroy his platoon. With the fate of his platoon resting on his shoulders, Staff Sergeant Killeen fought off DJ in order to place constant fire on the enemy position, and forced the enemy focus to remain on Staff Sergeant Killeen. He continued to call out to his squad through the dense smoke, dust, and enemy fire identifying the enemy location and make-up of their defensive position, refusing to give up his ground. Despite his severe wounds, when the remainder of his squad reached him and began to extract him, Staff Sergeant Killeen refused to give in, gesturing in the direction of the barricaded shooters with his fractured arm and mangled left hand to point out the enemy position to his squad. He continued to engage the enemy, and issue commands to his squad, instructing them where and how to engage the enemy in order to eliminate the threat. His actions ensured the enemy remained fixed and unable to maneuver until the platoon could be reorganized. Staff Sergeant Killeen's heroic actions under effective enemy fire on the objective undoubtedly saved the lives of his squad, prevented the possible destruction of his platoon, and were instrumental in the death of three heavily armed, enemy combatants and a fortified machinegun position, two enemy commanders, including a district commander, and directly contributed to the removal of an enemy encampment and 14 EKIA. His actions changed the outcome of the battle. He is most deserving of the special recognition afforded by the awarding of the Silver Star Medal. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Staff Sergeant Ethan P. Killeen's actions and leadership reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.


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