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Medal of Honor recipient promoted to sergeant major

A Green Beret who received the Medal of Honor in October has been promoted to the rank of sergeant major, 3rd Special Forces Group said in a news release.

Sgt. Maj. Matthew O. Williams was promoted during a ceremony at the Col. Aaron Bank Hall on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, attended by Williams’ friends and family on Friday afternoon.

“Today we recognize a great Soldier who is incredibly humble,” said Col. Nathan J. Prussian, 3rd Group commander, in the unit release.

Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor on Oct. 30, 2019, for his actions during an April 6, 2008, mission in Nuristan province, Afghanistan, that later came to be known as the Battle of Shok Valley.

“There is not a more deserving person in the force to receive a promotion of this magnitude,” Prussian said during the ceremony.

During the 2008 battle, Williams exposed himself to enemy fire multiple times on steep and challenging terrain. His team was pitted against an overwhelming enemy force that held the high-ground and was able to rain rocket propelled grenades, sniper rounds and small arms fire onto the Green Beret team and their Afghan Commando partners.

Williams carried wounded teammates down the mountainside, including his team sergeant, to a casualty collection point. He continued to expose himself to enemy fire while consolidating wounded teammates. Williams’ Medal of Honor citation stated that his actions helped save the lives of four critically wounded soldiers and prevented the lead element of the assault force from being overrun.

Over the course of a seven-hour firefight, Williams protected the wounded until the team was able to completely evacuate from the target area inside CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

Williams’ new rank was pinned by his wife during the ceremony Friday, followed by a brief speech in which he expressed his intention to continue serving in the special operations community.

“It’s been an honor to serve at 3rd [Special Forces] Group and rise through the ranks,” said Williams in the release. “I am looking forward to continuing to lead and serve the regiment and do the best I can to develop, mentor, advise, and bring up Green Berets.”

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