Master Sgt. Timothy Nix, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Dunne and Chief Warrant Officer Brandon Seabolt have all been retired from the Army for years, but last week they received awards for their heroic actions while working in Afghanistan.

All three received the Medal of Valor, the Defense Department’s highest civilian valor award, for fighting back against insurgent attacks while serving as contractors, according to a DoD release.

“I just grabbed a weapon and ran out,” said Nix, who was serving as an irregular warfare analyst with NATO Special Operations Component Command Afghanistan, of an Aug. 7, 2015, IED attack on Camp Integrity near Kabul.

Enemy fighters had blown open the entrance of the base, following up with small arms fire, grenades and suicide vests.

“The gate came off. It collapsed the guard tower out there,” said Dunne, an operations intelligence integrator, who joined Nix.

Eight Afghan contractors were killed in the fight, along with 7th Special Forces Group Green Beret 1st Sgt. Peter McKenna.

Their actions undoubtedly saved countless lives at great risk to their own lives, according to their citations.

Later that year, Seabolt was working as a counter-IED expert with the Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Agency in Helmand province. While on a mission with U.S. Army and Afghan special operators, the group came under withering fire.

“We entered the compound with about 10 people, and there were two of us left in the fight,” he said.

He single-handedly fought off the insurgents until back-up arrived, according to his citation.

“Each of these award citations serves as a moving testament — and a fitting reminder ― that the work being done by those who fight on the front lines and protect us all is exceptional, essential and extraordinary,” said Lt. Gen. Darsie Rogers, the deputy director for combat support at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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