“Take the Americans Alive” … when the intercepted Taliban radio message was translated. Senior Airman Dustin Temple was sure as hell he’d never let that happen. For 48 hours, Temple and the rest of his Special Forces team fought off an overwhelming force.
When the enemy got close, he called in dangerous close airstrikes. When they ran low on ammunition, he sprinted from cover to a resupply chopper for more. When his friends were shot, he dragged them to safety.
For his heroism and critical role in turning the tide in battle, Senior Airman Temple was awarded the Air Force Cross. Serving with the 21st Expeditionary Special Tactics Squadron in Helmand Province, Afghanistan from 27 to 29 September, 2014.
As overwhelming hostile fire continually suppressed his team, Airman Dustin Temple broke the assault on many occasions with danger close air support from F-16’s, AH-1’s, AC-130’s and an MQ-1.
Following a teammate being gravely wounded by a sniper, he put himself directly in the line of fire, and dragged his wounded comrade from the rooftop. With the evacuation helicopter inbound, Airman Temple again risked his own life to save his teammate.
Senior Airman Temple carried him across one-hundred meters of open terrain. Despite overwhelming and accurate enemy machine-gun fire, he remained on the open landing zone, providing covering fire while his teammates pulled back.
After he returned to the compound, enemy fighters surged within 40 meters after intercepted communications stated,”Take the Americans alive.” Temple immediately directed F-16’s in danger close strafing runs, killing one insurgent and repelling the assault.
As supplies dwindled, he braved open terrain again to retrieve critical needed ammunition from a re-supply helicopter. With continuous machine-gun fire, he and a teammate sprinted into the open and dragged the supplies off the aircraft.
However, unable to carry the entire load, they withdrew back to cover. Airman Temple called in close fires from F-16’s to cover his team as they went out to retrieve the remaining ammunition.
Despite the continuous heavy enemy machine-gun fire, Sr.Airman Temple and two men again ran into the open terrain to retrieve the remainder of the supplies for a second time.
At the end of the 48-hour engagement, he controlled 28 attack helicopters and 20 fixed wing assets for a total of 26 engagements while safely employing munitions at danger close-range 75 times.
Airman Temple’s heroic and selfless actions directly resulted in confirmed 10 enemy fighters killed, and another 8 estimated killed, while saving the lives of 38 friendly forces.🇺🇸