In the military you adapt to the mission and the hours. For Army MAJ Robert Nesbit Jr., that meant performing about 99% of his missions at night. He was deployed to Iraq from June 2006 to September 2007, as a troop commander.
"Over the course of the tour there were more than a few tough nights,” said Nesbit. "But there was one single night that stands out.” That incident led to him being awarded both an Army Commendation Medal with Valor device and a Purple Heart. It also was part of the reason he received the Bronze Star.
In October 2006, Nesbit was stationed in Baghdad with the 1-14th Cavalry. His squadron was in a neighborhood known as Abu-Dichir, and his mission was to "create a ‘safe neighborhood’ in the squadron’s battle space.”
"At the time there was a lot of violence directed by the insurgents against the local population and we were trying to protect them,” explained Nesbit.
One of the things Nesbit and his team of about 80 soldiers did was place concrete barricades across streets to prevent vehicle access.
"Emplacing concrete barriers always attracted a lot of attention which was part of why we normally operated at night,” he continued.
"On Oct. 22, 2006, we [the Troop Team Task Force] were en-route to start our mission for the night when the Stryker I was on was blown up in an ambush. There were four of us on board who were wounded, said Nesbit.
"Long story short, I got the other three soldiers medivaced off of the battlefield. Even though I was hurt, I chose to stay in the fight. Not for any sense of heroics, but rather, I felt as the commander as long as I physically could still move the soldiers deserved for me to stay and command,” Nesbit continued.
"A lot went into it, and it was a long night, but we got the ambush defeated,” he said.
All of the unit’s equipment was recovered, and they were able to return to their Forward Operating Base.
"The next night I was back out leading the mission. I was awarded the Purple Heart for being wounded that night, and I was awarded the ARCOM w/V for continuing to fight while wounded,” he stated. "There were other nights and other fights, but that one certainly stands out for me personally,” Nesbit concluded.
He received the Bronze Star for his service, work ethic and leadership as the troop commander during this deployment.