December 22nd, 2009
11:43 AM ET

Two Special Forces soldiers awarded the Silver Star

Two U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers - Master Sgt. Anthony Siriwardene (left in the above photograph) and Staff Sgt. Linsey Clarke (right in the photograph) - were recently awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest combat medal, for their actions during combat in Afghanistan.

Siriwardene, 38, was cited for “valorous conduct” during seven engagements over a span of more than 50 hours from August 7-9, 2005, according to the U.S. Army.

His detachment was conducting operations with members of the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) in Zabul Province when they came under attack.

During the next 2 1/2 days, Siriwardene helped repel several attacks, rescued a soldier whose turret had burst into flames and assisted ANA soldiers who were trapped by enemy fire, the Army said.

“If not for the bravery of Sergeant Siriwardene, moving under enormous amounts of fire, ensuring no ANA were left behind, the ANA element would have sustained tremendous losses,” according to an Army narrative that accompanied the award.

Siriwardene came to the U.S. from Sri Lanka when he was 8 years old. He grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and currently lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Clarke, 26, who grew up in Staunton, Virginia, was on his first deployment to Afghanistan earlier this year when the events that led to his award occurred. 

Clarke’s patrol struck a roadside bomb and was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, on February 20, the Army said.

Three members of the patrol were immediately killed.

Clarke, facing heavy enemy fire, pulled another service member who suffered two broken legs and a fractured back away from danger. “He then ran 100 meters back through enemy fire with no cover” to help another soldier, the Army said.

He again risked danger to help recover the remains of those who had been killed. “[Clarke’s actions] went well above and beyond the call of duty,” his award narrative said.

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Ryan Burns

    thats my cousin. Born hero!

    May 19, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Kennath

    siriwardana...a Sri Lankan American has shown his true lion blood qualities here...
    Your brothers in Sri Lanka Special forces and deep penetration units finished off worlds most ruthless, equipped terrorist org. (LTTE -Tamil Tigers) which lift Sri Lanka up by defeating a terrorist organization for the first time..
    so keep it up brother "Sinhala blood never turns back to enemy, you get shot only on chest"

    April 8, 2010 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. jb

    Look here MT... You have obiviously never been to Afghanistan. There are clearly no resources here that we can obtain that will benefit ourselves. We are here for a reason and the reason is to help this country rebuild their military and economy to get themselves up on the right foot. These people literally have practically nothing at all, but yet they are some of the most prideful people that I have ever seen in a country such as here. While your sitting at home soaking up all the benefits at which soldiers, marines, airman, and sailors such as these two are willing to sacrifice time away from their lifes, their homes, and their families to give you the life that you take so much for granted. So if you want to be a tree hugging hippie how about you get off your ungrateful butt come here and see what its about Im sure your opinion will change. As for these two NCO's it just proves that NCO's are truely the backbone of the Army.

    March 2, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Allen

    Hooah! SF, best of the best

    February 25, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SSG C

    I feel overwhelmingly honored to count myself a brother to two such outstanding soldiers, I can only hope and pray that I can perform so well under such conditions. It is soldiers like these two, who have fought, lost their lives or came back home, that set the standard for the rest of us.

    Such personal courage and selfless service should be recognized at all times, of the living and of the lost. Most of us I think agree, that those that deserve recognition most had paid the ultimate sacrifice and will never hear the "thank you" or applause of a welcome home party, but being able to thank those who make it through this awful mess is a blessing and a gift.

    Those two NCO's simply followed this excerpt that we are bidden to remember always:
    "I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, I will never leave a fallen comrade." Warrior Ethos. There is no denying that they deserve recognition. Saving others above concern for your own safety deserves all kinds of recognition and exemplifies selfless service for our country and our fellow soldiers.

    February 23, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. S. Lavigne Idaho

    MT if it weren't for people like you that won't let us drill in Alaska there would be no need for Afghan oil. No matter what you say those men are true American heroes and they always will be.

    February 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Roger Shockley

    In reply to mt who says we are in Afghanistan to take advantage of their resources and control it economically you ignore the fact that they have no resources and we are spending far more than we could ever recover. You do our military men and women a great disservice.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. moeursalen

    Your actions, courage, and your sacrifices are inspirational....

    February 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Debra Mc

    It is the selfless acts of these soldiers, in support of their brothers in arms way, that brings out the true character of our brave. Recognition for these men of honor is warranted for the entire world to see just what the true meaning of "sacrifice" really is... Wear their boots before you find fault in the orders these warriors carry out without hesitation, even when it means giving the ultimate sacrifice ~ their life. At the very least, they not only deserve it, they've earned it. These Patriots are who make me proud to me an American. Show them your respect and support!!!

    January 9, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TSOCKS

    It's acts like these which will eventually put an end to this war. Every time the Afghans see an act of valor and bravery by American soldiers towards their Afghan brothers, a little piece of the wall crumbles down. It shows love and respect for eachother as human beings. EVERY culture respects this. Only forced ignorance can dismiss these actions, and it makes recruiting very difficult for the manipulators .

    January 8, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Melissa

    So proud of these two men fight for my freedom. What a great honor to share this photo and see just a little reward for their bravery and loyalty to our country!

    December 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robert Gilligan


    December 24, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Teufelhunden

    I bow my head to these heroes!! They carry the honor of all the others walking and not, they just happened to be the ones recognized, and I think they will agree.

    Thank you Guys!!! You and people like you are why we are free

    December 23, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. D,

    Considering how strict the guidelines are for awarding MoH, one pretty much has to die saving others to get it. All the MoHs awarded since Vietnam were given posthumously.

    December 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Team 2-3

    So why wasn't this man awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions?

    December 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |