Zachary A. Kline | Silver Star
Citation to accompany the award of the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Zachary A. Kline.
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 Zachary A. Kline, United States Air Force, for gallantry in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, on 23 April 2011. On that date, Sergeant Kline was part of a rescue team tasked to recover two United States Army pilots downed in the Allasay Valley, an insurgent controlled area east of Bagram. While descending on the rescue hoist, Sergeant Kline’s team took effective fire that damaged the aircraft and seriously injured one crewmember. The aircraft was forced to depart leaving Sergeant Kline and his team on the ground. At the wreckage, Sergeant Kline directed his teammate to assess the patient and conducted a search to recover sensitive items. Soon after, Sergeant Kline began taking effective fire at his position next to the aircraft. With Pedro no longer overhead, the insurgents voiced their desire to move to the crash site and take coalition forces hostage. Sergeant Kline coordinated by radio with aircraft to engage enemy troops. He coordinated AH-64s on to targets in the high ground and calculated reverse azimuths to identify threats located on low ground behind his position. One incoming round ignited fuel within the wreckage and the crash site erupted in flames. Sergeant Kline pushed through enemy fire to an alternate hide site and continued to guide overhead weaponry onto fighting positions. Sergeant Kline showed great heroism over the six hour rescue mission and risked his life during an overwhelming volume of enemy fire and enabled the recovery of one United States Army Soldier from enemy territory. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Kline has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.