Military City is a great website for military information.
The Army Times (not to be confused with the New York Times) carries the story.
Last November, insurgents attacked several police stations in Mosul. According to the military’s account of his actions, Coffman was with a group of Iraqi commandos moving to reinforce one police station that was under attack when insurgents ambushed them.
All but one of the commando team’s officers were killed or seriously wounded early in the fight, leaving the Iraqi officer and Coffman, an adviser to the commandos, to direct the battle.
“Coffman exhibited truly inspirational leadership, rallying the commandos and organizing a hasty defense while attempting to radio higher headquarters for reinforcements,” his award citation reads.
During the fight, Coffman was shot in his shooting hand, a shot that wrecked his weapon. But he picked up AK47s from the wounded Iraqis and kept shooting.
The battle lasted four hours, ending only after U.S. armored vehicles and air support arrived. Coffman consented to be evacuated for medical treatment only after all of the Iraqi wounded were evacuated.
Twelve Iraqi commandos were killed, as were 25 insurgents, the military said.
I often wonder what separates the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) from the Congressional Medal of Honor (CMH)? Heroism under fire is hard to measure empirically. It is clear that the CMH tends to be awarded posthumously or after critical injury. Congratulations to Col. James H. Coffman Jr. for NOT earning the CMH.
U.S. Army Decorations
Congressional Medal of Honor
b. The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Army, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.
Distinguished Service Cross
b. The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to a person who while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguished himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor; while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing or foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing Armed Force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.