CORONADO, CA — In a ceremony yesterday, U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Bryan Able was presented with the Silver Star for bravery, making him the first to receive the award for the use of a prosthetic limb as a weapon.
"I've got to say that it feels good to receive this award, but I think any one of my guys would have done this," said Able. "Well... except for the whole using your leg part, but you get what I'm saying."
Able is the officer-in-charge of a platoon with SEAL Team One. The young Lieutenant lost his leg in an explosion in 2005, while fighting in Ramadi, Iraq, but he recovered and fought to re-deploy with his men. Last year, his unit was sent to Afghanistan's volatile Helmand Province.
While applying sunscreen to their bare chests and backs while on a rooftop patrol base, the SEALs apparently came under a ferocious attack from Taliban fighters.
"They opened up with everything they had," said SO2(SEAL) Michael Davidson. "You can smell these guys a mile away because they have never heard of a shower, but they were so close and the B.O. was so bad, you could practically taste it."
The investigation of the incident revealed not only the interruption of a scheduled volleyball match in the courtyard, but also extraordinary heroism among the SEALs -- including acts above and beyond by their commander.
"If it wasn't for LT and his leg, we probably would've gotten smoked," said Davidson.
Soon after the Taliban attacked and gained access to the rooftop, Able radioed for support. Unable to thwart the attack, the SEALs then conducted a "badass looking rappel" down the side of the one-story building and extracted to a nearby village.
According to his citation, Able was walking around a mud wall when a Taliban fighter grabbed the muzzle of his weapon -- bringing on a hand-to-hand struggle. With his weapon thrown to the dirt and out of reach, the SEAL grabbed his leg and used it as a weapon of opportunity.
"He basically smashed the son-of-a-bitch's face in," said Davidson. "Which is pretty awesome, considering some other shithead just like him [the insurgent] gave him that leg."
The Taliban fighter apparently begged for the SEAL to stop showing the underside of his boot as he was being repeatedly hit in the face, screaming "it's extremely offensive to my faith" in Arabic.
With the fighter dead from blunt force trauma, Able then propped his rifle on his leg -- using it to sight in on the advancing enemy. Giving him a steady shooting platform, the Lt. was able to kill over thirty Taliban fighters and break up the attack.
"This young man is a real hero," said Admiral Anthony Miliken. "I think his actions show that being a wounded warrior doesn't mean you can't still be a great fighter."
As a result of the incident, Navy Recruiting Command is actively seeking sailors with missing limbs for use in Naval Special Warfare and has further implemented the "prosthetic sniping position" into BUD/S training.
Anonymous sources within the Navy have also said that while Lt. Able is being publicly hailed a hero, he is privately being forced to attend cultural awareness training for showing his boot in ignorance of Islamic customs.