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Christopher Thomas Upp

Date of birth: 17-May-81
Place of Birth: Florida, New Smyrna Beach
Home of record: Sterling Colorado

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Staff Sergeant Christopher Thomas Upp, United States Army, for gallantry in action while serving with Company D, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, in action in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan, on 31 July 2007. Staff Sergeant Upp's leadership and ability to motivate his Soldiers under extreme fire is a direct reflection of his spirit. Due to the actions of Staff Sergeant Upp and his mortar crew, Destined Company suppressed and destroyed several enemy fighters-the decisive factor in the survival of several other paratroopers. Staff Sergeant Upp's gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army. NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD: On 31 July 2007, 25 to 35 enemy located in three different locations, conducted a simultaneous attack on the Chowkay Vehicle Patrol Base (VPB) from positions 250m to 350m on the high ground- the fourth time in less than a month. Enemy initiated with 107-mm. rockets used as direct lay and rocket propelled grenades from the closest positions. Staff Sergeant Upp stood in the mortar personnel bunker at the time of the attack. He called higher headquarters with a SALT report and then, without hesitation, led his 4 man crew through 75 meters of open terrain, under intense machine gun fire, to the mortar firing position. As the crew ran towards the mortar firing position, a 107-mm. rocket impacted five meters from the mortar team, knocking all four members down and damaging VPB Chowkay's primary mortar ammunition position. Without regard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Upp led the crew to extract the buried mortar rounds and he began to manually traverse the 120-mm. mortar tube's destroyed bipod with his own hands. With the increasingly intense rocket and small arms fire directed primarily at the mortar team, Staff Sergeant Upp fired 20 missions and placed 75 very effective 120-mm. WP and HE rounds on enemy positions with his damaged mortar. The mortar crew continuously fixed the enemy for over 70 minutes, while positioned without cover and concealment, which allowed precise direct fires, CCA and CAS to destroy the enemy. During the 70 minutes of continuous enemy fire and mortar counter-fire, Staff Sergeant Upp received a four inch long by ½ inch deep open wound, provided self aid, and then continued to adjust fire. Staff Sergeant Upp demonstrated his insurmountable bravery, determination, and resolve, to stay in the line of fire when he operated the mortar tube and continuously compiled data in the FDC computer to direct fires accurately onto enemy fighting positions, while traversing the tube manually. The enemy tested Staff Sergeant Upp's leadership from the beginning of the fight when they mortally wounded his element's Ground Commander 7 meters from the crew. His steadfast leadership and undeniable calm under fire enabled him to lead his mortar section under extremely dangerous conditions. During the enemy attack, more than ten 107-mm. rockets, over a dozen rocket propelled grenades, and two known machine fighting positions pummeled Staff Sergeant Upp's position. Illustrating his character, Staff Sergeant Upp ignored his gaping wound and helped carry his fallen leader to the MEDEVAC HLZ. At the completion of the 70 minute engagement, Staff Sergeant Upp ensured his mortar section's preparation for a counterattack when he conducted thorough PCIs and ammo resupply. Staff Sergeant Upp refused to leave the VPB in the initial MEDEVAC aircraft because he knew the eminent danger the Vehicle Patrol Base faced. Staff Sergeant Upp's leadership and ability to motivate his Soldiers under extreme fire is a direct reflection of his spirit. Due to the actions of Staff Sergeant Upp and his mortar crew, Destined Company suppressed and destroyed several enemy fighters-the decisive factor in the survival of several other paratroopers.

Action Date: 31-Jul-07

Service: Army

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Company: Company D

Battalion: 2d Battalion (Airborne)

Regiment: 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade