Roger D. Sparks | Silver Star
Citation to accompany the award of the Silver Star to Master Sergeant Roger D. Sparks.
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 Master Sergeant Roger D. Sparks, United States Air Force, for gallantry in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States as a Pararescue Jumper assigned to the 212th Rescue Squadron in the Watapur Valley, Afghanistan, on 14 November 2010. On that date, Sergeant Sparks responded to a call in support of Operation BULLDOG BITE and the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. While in the air, circling the objective, the ground situation grew extremely hostile and the number of casualties increased from two to six. As a result of the increased fighting in the area, Sergeant Sparks’ team took the lead position for the evacuation mission. With limited information regarding the ground situation, Sergeant Sparks and Captain Bailey began their 40 foot descent from the helicopter via a hoist to the ground and immediately began taking enemy fire. Bullets flew by the two pararescuers and the lowering cable was hit three times while they dangled in the air. They yelled for rapid descent and the flight engineer lowered them to the ground with enemy rounds flying all around. Upon reaching the ground the pair was assaulted with a rocket propelled grenade. Exploding just 20 feet away, the blast knocked them both off their feet. As the gunner engaged the enemy with danger close rounds, Sergeant Sparks ran approximately 70 yards uphill, to take cover. As he approached the tree, it was blown to pieces by another enemy fired rocket propelled grenade. Still under intense enemy fire, with bombs hammering danger close enemy positions, Sergeant Sparks performed lifesaving measures for nine wounded Soldiers. He feverishly triaged chest wounds, punctured lungs, shattered hips, fist-sized blast holds, eviscerated stomachs, and arterial bleeders with limited medical supplies and only the light of the moon. Upon return of evacuation aircraft, Sergeant Sparks directed evacuation of the injured while briefing crews on each casualty’s injuries and medical needs, choosing to remain behind until the last man departed. His extraordinary efforts under direct, immediate danger to his own life resulted in saving four American lives, one Host Nation civilian and returning four Soldiers killed in action to their families. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Sparks has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.