CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti, March 12, 2021 – Seven U.S. Army Soldiers, assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB), were presented command coins by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Lapthe Flora, the commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), in recognition of their life saving actions March 7, 2021.
While deployed to Djibouti, U.S. Army Staff Sgts. Samuel Hopton, a fires advisor, and James Heroux, an operations advisor, witnessed a vehicle accident and immediately responded to the injured.
The two immediately called for other unit members to assist. Sgts. 1st Class Caleb Mathena, an assistant team leader and Malree Frisby, a maintenance advisor, alongside Staff Sgts. Kyle Parker, a medical advisor, Alyssa Aragon, a signal advisor, and Andres Sanchez, a fires advisor, immediately rushed to the site to support.
“We were at the right place at the right time, and I’m glad we were able to help,” said Heroux. “It’s a big relief knowing that I don’t have a person’s death on my hands - that with my training, I could stop that from happening.”
At the time of the accident, the Soldiers were advising their Djiboutian Battalion d’Intervention Rapide (B.I.R.) counterparts. Together, both forces worked to assist the injured.
The U.S. Army SFABs are specialized units with the core mission to conduct training, advising, assisting, enabling and accompanying operations with allied and partner nations. Soldiers in SFABs are highly trained, and among the top tactical leaders in the Army. Their work strengthens allied nations and partners while supporting America’s security objectives and the combatant commanders' warfighting needs.
The SFAB unit members continuously train, which prepares them to quickly assess various situations and in this instance provide the life-saving care needed.
“This situation shows that the SFAB and the B.I.R. are partners, as they worked together to save lives, treat the injured, and to prevent future accidents from occurring,” said Maj. John P. Flach, SFAB commander.
Heroux, Hopton, Sanchez, Parker, Aragon, Mathena and Frisby are nominated for service awards based on their actions during the incident.