United States Army Specialist Nathan Watson received a Bronze Star for valorous and meritorious actions while engaging in direct combat during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009. He was serving as part of the 108th Cavalry Regiment, operating a .50 caliber machine gunner on a mounted combat patrol.
His unit was escorting an Afghan National Police force that was delivering materials in the Kapisa Province of Afghanistan to facilitate the country’s upcoming presidential election. As they approached the village of Duran, their patrol came under direct fire from insurgent forces. The convoy engaged the enemy fighters, and Specialist Watson killed two insurgents. When his weapon jammed, he switched to an alternate weapon – his M4 carbine – and killed two more before being shot in his arm.
Despite his wound, he continued to return fire until he was ordered to come down from the turret because of significant blood loss. His wound was treated
right there in the vehicle, but rather than remain in the back of the vehicle, he took the driver’s position so the driver could serve as the vehicle’s gunner. At
that point, he drove the vehicle another 2 to 3 kilometers to the nearest Forward Operations Base, saving the convoy precious time and helped prevent the
insurgents from disrupting elections in the district.