Got this Baltimore Sun article from P.B. today:
Army blocks 'narratives' of heroism
Public cannot read medal winners' stories
By David Wood
December 9, 2007
On a clear night last spring in Afghanistan's eastern mountains, a U.S. infantry platoon went looking for an al-Qaida operative named Habib Jan, and they found him. Outside an abandoned village clinging to a rocky hillside, the platoon was ambushed in a rain of deadly rifle and machine gun fire. Twenty-seven Americans and five Afghan Army fighters together fought 90 or 100 of Habib Jan's Islamist extremists.
For 17 hours, the American platoon was pinned down. Bullets snapped and hissed as the enemy slowly closed in. Ammunition ran low. Water ran out. Sniper rounds plucked at the soldiers' helmets and sleeves and drilled through boots as they shifted and returned fire. Night stretched into day and on into night again and the fighting intensified.
-- From interviews with soldiers and an official Army account
Three American soldiers were awarded Silver Stars for valor in that battle. Their actions are detailed in official Army accounts drawn from eyewitness reports, radio transmissions and other corroborating evidence used as a basis for awarding the medals.
These one- or two-page "narratives," as they are called, are the best accounts of American battlefield heroism. Apart from those who wear the Silver Star - the third-highest decoration for valor - few people even know the accounts exist.
But the Army won't let you read any Silver Star narratives. Though most are not classified, they are kept filed away from public view, a practice being challenged in Congress...
For the record, I've had a tough time getting narratives from the Army. In some cases, I had to wait until the unit rotated home from Iraq or Afghanistan which I think might be considered reasonable in some circumstances. But to have soldiers home and not release the details?
Maybe we can get the Army (PAO or others) to respond.
What do you think?