ERHS grad honored for valor
Cpl. Ryan T. McSweeney, a 2008 Eagle River High School graduate and recovery vehicle operator serving with Transportation Support Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, Regional Command (Southwest), was working to recover a downed vehicle when a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device as a precursor to a ground assault on Forward Operating Base Shir Ghazi in Helmand province, May 13, 2013.
The initial explosion erupted less than 50 meters from his position, knocking his fellow Marine to the ground.
McSweeney immediately dismounted his vehicle to check on his fallen Marine. The two servicemembers returned to the vehicle, and McSweeney positioned himself to engage insurgents attempting to enter the base.
He quickly eliminated one combatant as the insurgents fired on coalition forces inside the compound. McSweeney then engaged and eliminated a second insurgent after taking direct fire.
McSweeney then dismounted his vehicle and moved to secure the site of the explosion. After confirming the area was clear of additional attackers, McSweeney provided medical aid to a wounded Georgian soldier.
He then ran to a nearby tower and used hand and arm signals to organize an effective security posture in the wake of the insurgent attack.
For his uncommon bravery, initiative, and composure under fire, McSweeney received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device during an award ceremony held in Afghanistan on July 23.
When asked to address a formation of his peers, McSweeney remained humble, asserted a simple, “Thank you,” and embraced several of his fellow servicemembers before returning to his duties.
McSweeney who wrestled and played football at ERHS, is the son of U.S. Army Captain Joseph McGough and Amy Vivian McGough, formerly of Fort Rich.