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U.S. Soldier Awarded German Silver Cross of Honor

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Regional Command North
Story by U.S. Army Sgt. Sean Harriman
4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office

BALKH, Afghanistan (April 27, 2011)
– An American soldier holds the rare distinction of wearing a German Silver Cross of Honor for his actions in coordinating medical evacuation of casualties after a February terrorist attack in northern Afghanistan.

German Maj. Gen. Markus Kneip, commander of Regional Command - North, Afghanistan, presented U.S. Army Maj. Robert Federigan, medical operations officer, Headquarters Headquarters Company, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, International Security Assistance Force, with the Silver Bundeswehr (German military) Cross of Honor for outstanding meritorious service April 25.

Federigan, who is a MEDEVAC pilot and medical planner for the 4th CAB, humbly accepted the award, Germany’s second highest military decoration for merit, at a ceremony hosted by 4th CAB staff and including senior RC-North German leadership and RC-North Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Sean Mulholland.

The award was founded in 1980 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Bundeswehr. It is uncommon to award foreign Soldiers with this symbol of brave service and excellent soldiership. In this instance, it was meant as a sign of gratitude and acknowledgement of performance in terms of cooperation and comradeship.

“It was a very overwhelming feeling,” Federigan said. “That day challenged the military health care system at all levels and at all locations where the patients transitioned … everyone’s sole goal was to save as many soldiers as they could.”

 The attack, which occurred Feb. 18 near Pol-e Khumri in northern Afghanistan, resulted in three German soldiers dead and six wounded.

Germany and the U.S. are two of 16 nations contributing to the 11,000 Soldiers in Regional Command - North. They partner with Afghan National Security Forces to provide security for the Afghan people and develop governance and socio-economic programs.

Federigan earlier this year received the gold German Armed Forces Skill Badge For Medical Personnel for increasing cooperation between the German medical task force and the 4th CAB.

Brigade Commander Col. Daniel Williams, who also received a Silver Budeswehr Cross this year for efforts increasing cooperation between the German and American armed forces, said of Federigan: “He is one of the most selfless and humble officers I know. He masterfully orchestrated a MASCAL during one of the darkest days the Germans have had here. He mastered the chaos and frankly saved lives.”

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