WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump presented the nation’s highest military honor to a Green Beret who helped save four critically wounded comrades and prevented the lead element of a special operations force from being overrun in Afghanistan.
The Medal of Honor was presented to Master Sgt. Matthew O. Williams of Texas, who still serves in the Army.
The events leading to the honor occurred in April 2008 during a mountainside firefight that lasted several hours when Williams’ team and about 100 Afghan commandos were attacked by insurgents waiting above them.
The honor is an upgrade of the Silver Star that Williams initially received for his actions that day. He is the second member of his detachment to receive the Medal of Honor for that operation. Former Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II received it a year ago.
Trump has embraced efforts to honor service members and show his support for the military. But Wednesday’s ceremony also comes as he and some Republican allies have sought to cast doubts about the loyalty of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who works on the National Security Council and testified in the House impeachment inquiry about a July phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s president.
Vindman said he did not think it was proper for the president to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine. Trump has dismissed Vindman, a 20-year Army officer, as a “Never Trumper.”