The medals presented Thursday were earned by troops with the 7th Group’s 2nd Battalion for actions in Afghanistan during six-month tours spanning 2018 and 2019.

EGLIN AFB — On the same day one of their fellow soldiers was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) troops took a moment Thursday at Camp Simons to honor acts of valor among their peers.


But the memory of Sgt. 1st Class Michael Goble was never far away from the thoughts of the hundreds of soldiers who gathered in Liberty Chapel for one of the 7th Group’s periodic Valor Award ceremonies.


Goble, a Green Beret with the 7th Group’s 1st Battalion, died Dec. 23 from injuries he suffered the day before when a Taliban weapons cache exploded in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province.


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“Let us never forget Sgt. Michael Goble and his family,” said Army Col. Steven M. Marks, deputy commander of the 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), under which the 7th Group operates.


Marks was at the 7th Group ceremony as Army Maj. Gen. John Brennan Jr., commander of 1st Special Forces Command, attended Goble’s funeral.


The medals presented Thursday were earned by troops with the 7th Group’s 2nd Battalion for actions in Afghanistan during six-month tours spanning 2018 and 2019.



The tours were part of the Resolute Support Mission of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. That operation is the ongoing U.S. effort to train and assist Afghan security forces while conducting counter-terrorism operations.


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During those tours, 7th Group troops “worked to tame chaos,” Marks said. At that time, he recalled, Afghanistan was working through a hotly contested election and negotiations with the Taliban, Islamic fundamentalists involved in an insurgency against the government.


Among other things, the actions of the 7th Group soldiers prevented enemy forces from capturing any provincial capital during the deployment, something not done in several years. The battalion operated alongside partner force units as well as elements from the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), and 717th Ordinance Company at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.


But unfortunately, Marks noted, Goble’s death “underscores the fact that there is still work to be done” in Afghanistan.


An honor for the 7th Group


For security reasons, the names of the medal recipients honored Thursday can’t be made public, but 51 soldiers were honored with decorations including the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest military honor. Also presented Thursday were Bronze Star Medals for Valor, Army Commendation Medals for Valor and numerous Purple Hearts.


Medal citations read during the ceremony described soldiers exposing themselves to enemy fire to protect fellow soldiers, provide them with life-saving medical aid, and taking other extraordinary actions on the field of battle.


The soldiers honored “embody the most impressive form of what it means to be a soldier,” said Lt. Col. Edward J. Sanford, commander of the 7th Group’s 2nd Battalion.


“They acted selflessly and put the welfare of others above themselves.” Sanford added.


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In addition to the hundreds of soldiers who filled the chapel, dozens of family members and community representatives were on hand.


Sanford took a moment to recognize “the profound sacrifice made by families here today.”


But, he added in other comments to family members, “The strength of a soldier is in his heart, and what is in his heart is you.”