TRADOC Commander presents Distinguished Service Cross at Fort Leavenworth.
Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command presents Command and General Staff College student, Maj. Nicholas Eslinger, with the Distinguished Service Cross during an awards ceremony May 3, 2019 at the Lewis and Clark Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Eslinger was previously awarded the Silver Star for his actions in Samarra Iraq, October 2008 when Eslinger was then a 2nd Lt. and serving as a platoon leader with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Eslinger and his platoon were conducting a dismounted patrol when an enemy combatant threw a grenade into the alley where they were located. Eslinger moved to the grenade, first covering it with his body, then throwing it back in the direction of the enemy. The citation with both the Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross cite Eslinger’s actions for saving the lives of at least six other soldiers. The Army recently conducted a review of all valor awards under the direction of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Eslinger’s Silver Star was chosen to be elevated to the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award for valor.
“Nick, Your reaction to move toward’s that grenade that day, rather than away from it was more than just your training,” Townsend said “I think it was more instinct, I think it’s hardwired into your DNA.”
“Even though the grenade attack was ten years ago, there are days, like right now, that it seems far more recent,” Eslinger said. “I remember the way that the grenade felt in my hand, I remember the taste of dust after the explosion, I remember the way it felt when Doc McMillan told me that there were zero casualties – that was a good feeling.”
Photo by Tisha Swart-Entwistle, Combined Arms Center Public Affairs.
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