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Portraits in Courage: SSgt. Brooks

  • Published
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
One night in October 2016, Staff Sgt. Chris Brooks as part of a Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan conducted a time-sensitive raid in pursuit of a high-value target.

During maneuvers to block the target’s escape routes, the assault force was caught in a complex ambush from elevated fighting positions. Under fire, Brooks quickly used aircraft sensors to identify and mark the threats.

The assault force gained a foothold using rooftop fighting positions, but three of their members were wounded and another killed. Brooks maneuvered toward the casualty collection point to prepare for immediate evacuation of the wounded team members.

Brooks then called in fires from an AC-130 gunship. Moments later, aircraft sensors under his control identified additional enemy forces moving into position to attack his task force. Brooks directed his assault force to fall back and take cover before calling in a danger close fire mission from the AC-130 gunship that used its cannon on the relentless enemy.

Next, helicopter pilots could not identify the landing zone to medically evacuate the wounded, Brooks risked enemy fire to mark the hot landing zone and evacuate his injured teammates to safety.

Following the casualty evacuation, the assault force began withdrawing from the area. Brooks continued directing sensors providing overwatch. When additional enemy forces moved toward the team, Brooks again called in fires from the gunship, which enabled the team to safely depart the area.

The airpower he directed, with little regard for his personal safety, eliminated enemy forces with no collateral damage. Brooks was submitted for a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor for his courageous actions.