When U.S. Army Reservist Staff Sergeant Patrick Jordan took control of the C66 tank he was riding in on April 4, 2004, he had never served as tank commander before.
It was during a long day of constant attacks by the Mahdi Army in Sadr City, Iraq. Nineteen Infantrymen had been isolated and in constant contact with the enemy for over three hours, when Jordan and his company traveled across the city to reach and evacuate them.
When the company commander moved to another tank due to communications problems, he left the then- Sergeant to take the lead.
Despite no prior experience and though he had no radio communications, Jordan "commanded his tank during a brilliant four-hour attack against elements of the Mahdi Army," according to the award citation of the Silver Star he earned for his actions that day.
The company was fighting through densely urban terrain as they tried to reach the isolated soldiers.
Jordan's tank was constantly assailed from both sides by hundreds of enemies firing both small arms and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). But he commanded the tank from its open hatch throughout the entire attack and evacuation. He ensured that his gunner fought the tank properly, and provided security at the rear of the combat column they were fighting in.
While commanding the tank and checking his gunner's work for proper fire control, Jordan also fought with every weapon at his disposal, through the extremely close quarters of the urban terrain.
In all they traversed over four kilometers to reach the 19 soldiers.
As his company commander coordinated the evacuation, Jordan provided cover from the enemy attacking the evacuation effort. And as the company moved towards safety, Jordan's tank again took up the rear.
When the Humvee traveling in front of him was hit and lost multiple tires as well as its engine, Jordan, of his own initiative and without orders, loaded the remaining infantrymen into his tank. He then pushed the damaged Humvee at speeds as slow as five kilometers-per-hour for over a kilometer. All the while they were still in heavy contact with enemy forces attacking from buildings on his immediate right flank.
Jordan remained out of the hatch throughout this journey, engaging and eliminating enemies with the array of weapons at his disposal.
Jordan persevered until he pushed the damaged Humvee back to camp, and safely delivered the infantrymen riding in his tank back to their base camp, as well.
Jordan was awarded the Silver Star in 2004 for his leadership and bravery which were key in evacuating those 19 men, and ensuring they all reached safety.
"I might've got the Silver Star, but we're all heroes," said Jordan, who has since been promoted to staff sergeant.
"Everyone who served. They're all heroes. No matter what war they fought in or if it was peacetime. They took time out of their lives to serve. Not everybody does that."