Some of the soldiers who won the Silver Star Medal in 2014 included Tech. Sgt. Matthew McKenna, retired Lt. Phillip Fikes and retired Lt. Col. Ralph W. Kuethe. Master Sgt. Thomas Case received his second Silver Star in 2014.
The Silver Star is the third-highest medal that the military awards for valor. McKenna and Case served in Afghanistan, Fikes is a Vietnam veteran, and Kuethe served in World War II.
McKenna was a 22nd STS combat controller who was involved in a 13-hour fire fight in Afghanistan. He was the fourth 22nd STS soldier to receive the Silver Star. Fikes was awarded for acting fast to help wounded troops and for leading an assault that allowed the wounded to be evacuated. Fikes did not learn that he won the Silver Star until 2013.
Kuethe waited even longer for his Silver Star. During World War II, he led a withdrawal of soldiers to a defensive position in a battle that lasted throughout the night and into the next morning. The medal originally went to the wrong person. Kuethe was 95 when awarded the medal.
Case was also involved in an overnight mission that took place in the Paktia province of Afghanistan. Case helped his team carry out its mission after an ambush in a mountain pass.