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Homeschooler Awarded Bronze Star With Valor
As recently as 1998 homeschoolers were faced with significant discrimination regarding their access to military service. However, the late Senator Paul Coverdell was the driving force behind a five-year pilot program which brought a substantial amount of fairness for homeschool applicants. Due in part to the 1998 program, homeschoolers have thrived in the military and it should therefore come as no surprise that homeschoolers are part of the events in Iraq.
Hundreds of homeschool graduates are serving in Iraq. A partial listing of around 150 graduates can be found at (http://www.hslda.org/hsiraq.asp). The country owes a huge debt of gratitude to these men and woman.
However, one homeschool graduate went above and beyond the call of duty. Sergeant Simon A.J. Kiser and has been awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for his actions in Iraq. (The full citation can be read below). Kiser was formally awarded the Bronze Star with Valor at Fort Bragg.
Kiser graduated homeschool in 1992 and proceeded to complete his bachelor's degree in psychology at George Mason University. Currently he is a student in Liberty University's distance learning program working towards a Master's in counseling with plans to become a licensed marriage counselor. An Army reservist, he was called to active duty Thanksgiving 2002 and in his civilian life he is a full-time employee of Titan.
Homeschoolers are truly proving themselves in all walks of life and Kiser is the latest example of homeschoolers excelling in society. This award demonstrates the exceptional character of homeschool graduates.
Narrative Recommendation for Award of the Bronze Star with V Device
To Sergeant Simon A.J. Kiser, U.S. Army
On 26 March 2300, in support of Task Force Tarawa's objective to secure a safe cordon of travel along Route 7 through Nasiriyah, TPT 1141 with Sergeant Simon A.J. Kiser was directed by 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines to conduct civilian non-interference operations directing people east towards Albu Azim.
Combat Engineers informed the tactical psychological operations teams that they would be creating vehicle blockades by detonating explosive charges in the road 800 meters and 200 meters east of the intersection and that no more civilians should pass until the charges were detonated. Tactical Psychological Operations Team 1141 drove north along Route 7 until reaching a group of 20 civilians roughly 400 meters from the intersection. Instructions were given that they should wait in place until the charges were detonated. Roughly ten more individuals joined the group bringing the total to 30 individuals.
Light was dissipating and from his position in the turret, Sergeant Kiser spotted movement along the east side of the road north of the team's position. Each team member was assigned a sector of fire with Sergeant Kiser standing upright using the vehicle loudspeaker as a base for his squad automatic weapon. From this vantage point Sergeant Kiser was best able to use the PVS-4 scope to scan the surrounding wood line. Sergeant Kiser continued to see movement along the wood line but maintained fire discipline waiting to confirm his target before engaging. The team began to take intermittent fire from the wood line; at which time, Sergeant Kiser reoriented himself on multiple occasions to shield the civilians from the line of fire. Sergeant Kiser's concern for the civilians left him exposed on the roof and hood of the vehicle. After approximately 5 minutes, enemy fire dissipated.
The team moved the civilians 200 meters farther north and again setup security, directing the civilians to stay beside the vehicle. The team was again engaged, this time from both sides of the road. Sergeant Kiser engaged targets to the east, in buildings approximately 250 meters away. Realizing that both of his teammates did not have helmet mounts for their night vision, Sergeant Kiser gave directions and distances, acting as spotter and illuminating targets with tracer fire. All enemy fire subsided after several minutes of sustained fire.
The team, with Sergeant Kiser again standing on top of the vehicle as spotter, moved up the road pacing the civilians, exposed and alone, to meet with Tactical Psychological Operations Team 1143. Driving at a walking pace, Sergeant Kiser continued to fearlessly place himself on the incoming side of fire, between the enemy and civilians until all 30 civilians reached the safe area controlled by coalition forces.
Proposed Citation for Award of the Bronze Star with V Device
To Sergeant Simon A.J. Kiser
For exceptionally meritorious achievement while assigned to the 305th psychological operations company in support of Task Force Tarawa during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sergeant Kiser demonstrated a true concern for the people he came to help liberate when he unselfishly endangered himself in order to keep them safe. His demonstrated leadership potential was truly displayed during this intense armed conflict. Sergeant Kiser's performance reflects distinct credit upon himself, the psychological operations community, and the United States Army.
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