JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (BP)–Carson-Newman College student Graham Porter, who was activated for the conflict in Iraq, has been awarded the Bronze Star for Valor.
Specialist Porter attended the Baptist-related college in 2001, 2002 and spring of 2003 before being called to active duty. Porter’s campus involvements included band and ROTC. He is now serving in Iraq with the 422nd CA Battalion Quick Response Team (QRT).
Jerry Porter, SPC Porter’s father and a 1978 graduate of the Jefferson City, Tenn., college, reacted to his son’s honor by saying, “I guess you can tell I’m a proud dad.”
SPC Porter was awarded the Bronze Star after a mission to locate and assess power transformers in downtown Baghdad April 10 and 11. During the mission, the QRT was attacked with small arms fire as they neared the location and then were ambushed with rocket-propelled grenades. Due to roadblocks, SPC Porter and his unit were forced to travel back through the ambush.
On the morning of April 11, the team regrouped, met with the supervisor of the power plant and coordinated getting electricity to Baghdad. Although he was given the chance to stay behind as a lower-ranking soldier, Porter volunteered to lead other soldiers even though in meant going into possible harm’s way. Porter entered back into the streets to find the ground soaked in diesel fuel and a stranded tanker truck.
Another firefight broke out between the QRT and enemy forces. Although they received fire from two directions, they managed to keep any rounds from hitting the parked tanker truck. The team then regrouped, and SPC Porter was given another opportunity to stay behind. Once again, he declined. Later that afternoon, the team returned in force to secure the safety of the power plant.
Graham Porter’s recommendation for the Bronze Star states: “SPC Porter’s actions, his disregard for personal safety and his perseverance to mission accomplishment is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3rd Infantry Division (MECH) ‘Rock of the Marne’ and the United States Army.”
Via e-mail Porter relayed a message back to his classmates, saying, “The only thing that I can think to tell everyone there on campus is that I am fine and appreciate everyone’s support and look forward to rejoining my friends at C-N.”
Mikki Chandler is a writer at Carson-Newman College. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: COLLEGIAN’S COURAGE.