SPC Kit Lowe Receives Bronze Star in D.C.

Photo courtesy: WSAV-TV/Andrew Davis

From Liisa, SMSgt Temple’s wife: Here is a link to the first video via Blackberry from SPC Kit Lowe’s Bronze Star Ceremony earlier today in Washington, D.C. (Video courtesy of WSAV-TV in Savannah)

SPC Kit Lowe Receives Bronze Star in D.C. | WSAV.

This second link is to the much longer in-depth television story that aired later in the day:

WSAV-TV: SPC Kit Lowe receives Bronze Star

This third link is to a story about the status of Kit’s medical recovery and his future plans:

WSAV-TV: Specialist Christopher Lowe Recovering After Being Injured Saving Fellow Soldier

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Spc. Christopher M. “Kit” Lowe receives the Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device during a ceremony in Doss Memorial Hall at Walter Reed Feb. 26, 2010. Lowe is recovering at Walter Reed from wounds he received as a result of actions he took during the combat operations in Afghanistan. (Photo by Craig Coleman, Walter Reed Public Affairs)

Guardsman earns bronze star with ‘V’ device

By Craig Coleman
Walter Reed Public Affairs

WASHINGTON  — A Soldier being treated at Walter Reed for wounds sustained in Afghanistan received the Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device during a ceremony here in Doss Memorial Hall Feb. 26.

Spc. Christopher M. “Kit” Lowe, a forward observer with the 1-108th Cavalry Regiment, received the award for actions he took during combat operations in the Alasai Valley, Afghanistan.

Lowe, a six-year veteran of the Georgia National Guard, was on a combat mission with the 48th Battle Training Brigade when he heard gunfire on the roof of the building he was searching. Lowe knew then Marine Capt. Matthew Freeman, whom he considered a friend, and the unit’s medic were on that roof and in trouble. Lowe scrambled up a ladder to the roof and saw Freeman had been hit, with bullets still incoming.

“My friend was shot and I needed to get to him,” Lowe recalled.

Lowe crawled across the roof to the spot where Freeman was lying, bleeding and unresponsive. “I went to go get him, and I got hit,” Lowe said.

As Lowe was pulling the medic to the ground, Lowe was hit by machine gun fire in the upper right thigh.

“It ruined a perfectly good uniform,” Lowe quipped. “It was surreal. I never thought I was going to die, even after I was shot. I didn’t realize the extent of my wounds. I thought I’d be back at work the next day.”

With shots still incoming, Lowe scanned the area. “When you come under fire you want to know where it’s coming from,” Lowe said. “What I was trying to do was find out where [the enemy fire] was coming from so I could fire on the position.”

He discovered the enemy was shooting from a house built into the side of a mountain, so that indirect fire would be ineffective. “You can land mortars on it, but all you’d be doing is beating up a mountain,” Lowe said. “You have to hit the house.”

Although injured, Lowe returned fire until reinforcements arrived in a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicle to neutralize the target.

“I really hate public speaking,” Lowe told the audience assembled to witness his award. “But I’d better get used to it if I want to be president.”

Lowe said of Freeman, the Marine who died, “He was my friend. I wish they didn’t have to give his Purple Heart posthumously. I did what I was supposed to do. I did what I was trained to do. It reflects well on the Georgia National Guard.”

“My main concern was Capt. Freeman,” Lowe said. “Capt. Freeman was killed, and I needed to get him and the medic with him off [the roof].”

Col. Stephen Joyce, commander of the 48th Battle Training Brigade at the time of Lowe’s actions, said his behavior was exemplary. “It’s everything that’s right about America, and everything that’s right about the Army.”

First Lt. Matt Smith, a member of the unit who earlier received the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in combat two months before Lowe’s actions, presented the Bronze Star with “V” Device to Lowe.

“I was intensely proud of him and all the other Soldiers involved,” Smith said. “Cavalry have a reputation as above average Soldiers, and his actions exemplified that.”

Lowe’s thoughts still remain with his fallen comrade. “The only thing I can say is that I’m sorry. He meant the world to me in the short time I knew him and I wish there was more I could do for him.”

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Here is the text of the Citation as it appears on the award:

THE BRONZE STAR MEDAL
WITH ‘V’ DEVICE
Specialist Christopher M. Lowe
1-108th Cavalry Regiment

For valorous and meritorious actions wile engaged in direct combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 7 August 2009.
Specialist Lowe’s courage and selfless dedication in a combat zone, under the most extreme of circumstances, greatly contributed to the fight against the War on Terrorism.  Specialist Lowe’s actions reflect great credit upon himself, Task Force Phoenix, Combined Joint Task Force-82 and the United States Central Command.

SPC Kit Lowe with his mother Sandi and Lt. Matt Smith during an interview.

Citation that was read during the ceremony:

For gallantry and acts of heroism while performing combat advisory duties under enemy fire in the Shpee Valley, Kapisa Province (Regional Command-East) during Operation Brest Thunder. Spec Lowe demonstrated unwavering courage, exemplary professional skill, and daring initiative in the face of heavy enemy fire.  His actions led to a life saving medical evacuation and another medical evacuation ensuring a fallen warrior’s remains did not fall into the hands of the enemy.  His actions allowed supporting forces to locate and destroy over 20 enemy fighters including a senior Taliban commander.  These acts of heroism and disregard for his own personal safety reflect great credit upon himself, the 1st squadron, 108th cavalry, and the United States Army.

SPC Lowe shakes hands with singer Brittini Black who sang the National Anthem at the ceremony.

Honoring Capt Freeman, SPC Lowe + other camp business

Our connectivity has been terrible lately but sadly it was also purposely cut off as we had another fatality.  Until the proper family notifications were made, we were under an Operational Security (OPSEC) emergency and ordered not to discuss disposition of casualties.  The fallen warrior and sister ETT member was Marine Capt Matthew Freeman.  His body was flown back to the U.S. and the Department of Defense officially released the news about his death today (some media has already reported on it), so we are allowed Internet access again.  I am in the process of gathering information so I can honor this fallen hero.

SPC Christopher Santiago Lowe

SPC Christopher Santiago Lowe, wounded in battle but now recuperating in Germany

But I also want to honor another hero and friend of mine who was at this engagement.  SPC Christopher Santiago Lowe (a Georgia Boy from the Alpha Troop) whose pictures I have previously featured on this blog was wounded in this battle and underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to his leg.  So as soon as I can get new information, proper permission for the additional information that can be released and pictures, I will have Liisa post them.

Here are links to some of the media coverage so far about Captain Freeman:

Department of Defense release: DoD Identifies Marine Casualty

Stars and Stripes: Second Okinawa Marine dies in Afghanistan

Bryan County News: Richmond Hill Marine killed in Afghanistan

WTOC-TV: Local Marine killed in action

Atlanta Journal Constitution/AP: Georgia Marine Killed in Afghanistan

Coastal Courier: Richmond Hill Marine dies in Afghanistan

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Two days ago was Jumaa and I was assigned ANA Tactical Operations Command Center (TOC or TOCC) duty for 24 hours.  For OPSEC reasons I will only generalize.  The TOC is like the brain center for operations.  It receives information, intelligence, reports, etc and then makes command decisions based on this input.  My job was to disseminate the information to our TOC along with quality checking the briefing slides and correcting any egregious grammar errors or misspelled words.  The briefings are then given to the ANA General and to our camp leadership who attend the meetings.
While on my watch, I was called out several times.  Based on the reports, it was obvious a fierce battle was going on.  I knew members of my brigade along with several of the “Georgia boys” were in the vicinity.  The first report detailed 3 ANA killed, 1 injured, along with 3 French soldiers wounded.  The ANA officers explained that the battle was still going on.  I returned to the camp and saw the OPSEC warnings posted on all of the entry doors.  My heart felt heavy as I knew what this meant, I just didn’t know who.  A few hours later I received another call.  This time I was notified that 4 ANA soldiers died and the bodies were being flown to our Landing Zone (LZ).  The ANA would have to meet the helicopter and transfer the bodies.  Note:  The daily casualties of the ANA and ANP are reported daily in the local newspaper.  It was a long day and I received a few other phone calls and was dispatched accordingly.  These phone calls and detailed information were a stark reminder that I am in a combat zone and this is reality.

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Camp puppies

Camp puppies

Today before going to ANA land I saw my 2 furry friends.  Liberty is the black female in the picture and the other puppy is still unnamed.  Liberty likes to roll on her back while her brother likes to sit up in hopes of getting a treat that may fall from someone’s hand.  I can also report that both of the puppies are very cognizant of oncoming traffic and hide when armored vehicles approach.  I also found another bag of Pupparoni mixed in with my Beef Jerky.  Rumor has it that these puppies really like this American treat, but I can’t confirm it.  I can’t figure out what happened to the other bag either. I’m certain I didn’t eat it by mistake.  Hmmm….some mysteries just never get solved.

Library transformation

Library transformation

I stopped by the library-tea shop and the transformation of the former mosque is taking place right before my very eyes.  New window frames with glass and door have been installed.  A stone and brick wall topped with iron railing has been constructed too.  I peeked inside get a glance at the interior and noticed a fresh layer of concrete had been laid too.  Our goal is to have it complete before the 20 August presidential elections.

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