Restraint at Abu Ghraib leads to Army Commendation Medal

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A U.S. Army soldier was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Valor after preventing the escape of over 100 prisoners.

Maj. Gen. William Brandenburg congratulates SPC McClellan
Maj. Gen. William Brandenburg from Task Force 134 congratulates SPC McClellan on receiving his Army Commendation Medal with Valor

On April 2nd 2005, Abu Ghraib came under mortar and small arms fire from 40 to 60 insurgents. Corporal McClellan held back the prisoners attempting to escape.

Corporal McClellan held off the massing detainees by firing rounds of non-lethal munitions. With less than two non-lethal rounds left, CPL McClellan raised his voice and waved his M9 pistol in the direction of the detainees.

He gave the detainees instructions to maintain control and prevent breaches of the compound wire. The detainees were throwing materials and debris at him, but he did not leave.

Corporal McClellan’s actions, while under indirect enemy fire and in the face of a potentially critical situation, represent the highest standards of military conduct and training.

His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself, this Command, and the United States Army.

Citation to accompany the Award of Army Commendation Medal for Valor

TO CPL Angus K. McClellan

FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS ACHIEVEMENT DURING OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. HIS OUTSTANDING DEDICATION TO DUTY DURING COMBAT OPERATIONS IN IRAQ CONTRIBUTED TO THE PREVENTION OF A MASSIVE ESCAPE FROM THE BAGHDAD CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, IN CONJUNCTION WITH AN INSURGENT ATTACK. HIS ACTIONS ARE IN KEEPING WITH THE FINEST TRADITIONS OF MILITARY SERVICE AND REFLECT DISTINCT CREDIT UPON HIMSELF, THE 306TH MILITARY POLICE BATTALION (I/R), THE 18TH MILITARY POLICE BRIGADE AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY.

NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD OF Army Commendation Medal for Valor

TO CPL Angus K. McClellan

Corporal Angus K. McClellan, United States Army, distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as a Camp Redemption Guard, Forward Operating Base Abu Ghraib, Iraq, during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. On 2 April 2005, CPL McClellan without regard for his personal safety, acted above and beyond the call of duty when he foiled a possible massive escape attempt by Iraqi prisoners during an enemy attack on Forward Operating Base (FOB) Abu Ghraib. At approximately 1910, FOB Abu Ghraib came under mortar and small arms fire from a total of 40-60 suspected insurgents located in the vicinity of the FOB.

At the time of the attack, CPL McClellan was manning a guard post at the gate to Level I in Camp Redemption. Upon commencement of the attack, CPL McClellan attempted to direct that all persons within the site to seek cover and protect themselves. Upon moving forward to report his status to the NCOIC, CPL McClellan took cover in a mortar bunker where he noticed a detainee exiting from a hole cut in the fence in the southeast corner of Level I “Delta.”

CPL McClellan confronted the detainee by aggressively moving forward and firing non-lethal rounds in the direction of the detainee and other detainees trying to escape. The detainees returned to their compound and CPL McClellan took cover in the mortar bunker just in front of the hole.

Approximately 100 detainees began to engage CPL McClellan by throwing rocks, wooden objects and other materials while driving themselves into frenzy by chanting “ALLAH AKBAR.” The chanting detainees then began to throw rocks at the lights in an effort to break them to aide in their escape.

CPL McClellan continued to hold off the massing detainees by firing approximately 12 rounds of non-lethal munitions. With less than two non-lethal rounds left in his arsenal, CPL McClellan began to raise his voice and wave his M9 pistol in the direction of the detainees.

He then proceeded to give the detainees instructions in an effort to maintain control and prevent breaches of the compound wire. CPL McClellan continued to take cover through an onslaught of materials and debris being thrown in his direction.

At that point, the Detainee Chief of compound “Delta” approached CPL McClellan and tried to persuade him to leave. After numerous attempts by the Compound Chief failed, he began to lead the crowd in an effort to verbally and physically persuade CPL McClellan to leave his self designated post.

The Chief then spoke to the crowd in Arabic and the onslaught of materials and debris continued to be thrown in the direction of CPL McClellan.

The crowd of detainees in Level I “Delta” began to yell to the detainees in Level I “Bravo.” The detainees in Level I “Bravo” then ignited a tent in the northern section of the compound. The detainees in Level I “Delta” then began to burn mattresses that had been placed on the concertina.

CPL McClellan now found himself in a position in which detainees were using smoke in an effort to obstruct his view and force him to vacate his position. CPL McClellan continued to hold the detainees at bay until he was subsequently resupplied by his NCOIC.

CPL McClellan’s quick thinking and subsequent reaction to the possible prison escape, while still under mortar and small arms fire, prevented what could have been a more dangerous environment within the FOB had the prisoners escaped.

CPL McClellan’s actions, while under indirect enemy fire and in the face of a potentially critical situation, represent the highest standards of military conduct and training. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself, this Command, and the United States Army.

Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it’s head and makes him start pounding the keyboard. Alan has a fascination with making video and video editing, so watch out if he points his Canon 7d in your direction.