New York Army National Guard 1st Lt. Eric J. Leon, a Port Washington resident serving in Afghanistan, was awarded the Combat Action Badge. He was recognized for his part in repulsing an attack on Forward Operating Base Salerno on June 1.
According to the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Leon was one of three New York Army National Guard Soldiers belonging to the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team involved in defending Forward Operating Base Salerno in eastern Afghanistan against an enemy attack on June 1. The three were assigned to the 401st Army Field Support Brigade as customs agents.
Leon is a member of the 427th Brigade Support Battalion. He and the other soldiers were assigned as customs agents for their nine-month tour of duty in the combat zone.
According to Army Public Affairs, the incident began about 1 p.m. on Friday, June 1.
Insurgents detonated a vehicle loaded with explosives near the post. The insurgents then tried to gain access to the base. A firefight lasting about 30 minutes ensued.
Leon, redistribution property assistance officer-in-charge, said he was working when he heard and felt the blast and heard the direct fire from the insurgents. He took action to secure the Army Materiel Command compound at the base.
"We rounded up the civilians and put them in MaxxPros [mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles]," he said. "Then we positioned other vehicles so no one could get into the AMC compound."
"I'm really proud of my soldiers," Leon said. "Some went in the other direction."
The Combat Action Badge is awarded to soldiers who engage the enemy, or are engaged by the enemy.
New York Army National Guard Specialists David P. Clark, of White Plains, and Justin C. Ruiz, of the Bronx, directly engaged insurgents during the attack. They were both awarded the Army Commendation Medal with "V" Device for valor for their actions.