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Sheldon W.
Democrat RI

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  • Tribute to Technical Sergeant Gregory M. Grutter

    by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

    Posted on 2013-02-13

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    WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the heroic service of Rhode Island Air National Guard TSgt. Gregory M. Grutter. Technical Sergeant Grutter was awarded the Bronze Medal Star with Valor and the Purple Heart, and I honor him for the courageous actions he took to earn these awards.

    In 2008, Technical Sergeant Grutter was assigned as a security officer for the Defense Intelligence Support Office-Afghanistan. On March 20, 2008, while driving a convoy vehicle for the Guard, Technical Sergeant Grutter twice risked his own life to thwart enemy ambushes and save the lives of others.

    In the first instance, Technical Sergeant Grutter used his own vehicle as a shield to protect Afghan National Police officers driving an unarmored vehicle. Then, noticing the Afghan National Police's machine gun crew in distress, he dismounted from his own vehicle, ran through intense fire, and helped the police repair their weapons.

    While Technical Sergeant Grutter was working with the machine gun crew, enemy insurgents moved in to flank the convoy and began to prepare an attack. With great bravery, Sergeant Grutter ran approximately 200 meters over exposed terrain to engage the insurgents, which forced them to retreat. Shortly thereafter, the enemy disengaged and left the area.

    Unfortunately, a second ambush was already in the making. A large number of civilians became trapped by small arms fire from enemy forces. Without regard for his personal safety, Technical Sergeant Grutter provided suppressing fire from an exposed position, which allowed the Afghan National Police to evacuate the civilians to safety.

    As a result of the courageous actions taken by Technical Sergeant Grutter, lives were saved and the convoy continued its mission.

    I thank Technical Sergeant Grutter for his brave actions and honor his distinguished service and meritorious achievement in earning the Bronze Medal Star with Valor and the Purple Heart. The courage he demonstrated during his combat mission brings great honor to our country, the Air National Guard and the state of Rhode Island.

    Along with his fellow Guardsmen, I thank Technical Sergeant Grutter for his outstanding commitment to serving and protecting our country. We in Rhode Island are lucky to call him one of our own, and we are proud of him. ____________________

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