Airman Servais was in the
rocky Uruzgan province in south-central Afghanistan on Aug. 19, 2006,
when the convoy he was traveling with came under heavy fire from
An estimated 100 or
more concealed enemies began shooting
from three sides. Immediately, Servais turned his Humvee’s
machine gun toward enemy fire and began shooting. Rounds began
exploding near the convoy. Servais turned over responsibility for the
machine gun to another team member and began directing close air
support to help suppress the insurgents. As he was talking with pilots
overhead and spotting targets for them, a rocket-propelled grenade
exploded behind Servais, killing him. Servais was a member of a Special
Forces operational detachment that was working with Afghan National
Army soldiers and Afghan police. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze
Star Medal for Valor on Aug. 25, 2006.
Brad Reilly, a fellow Combat Controller and noncommissioned officer in
charge of the Blue Team in the 23rd STS, honored Airman Servais by
reading excerpts of e-mails from those who served with him while
deployed, summing it up with his own thoughts.
"We understand, absolutely, the risks involved in what we do, and we
accept them," he said. "We focus on doing our best work in the worst of
"In my world, actions speak louder than words. I truly believe that
Adam Servais would want us to hear the story of his actions engaged in
ground combat against enemies of the United States. He would want us to
stand a little bit taller, taking great pride in the fact that he did
not go gently, that he fought hard and true until the very end. He
would want no pity, no sympathy and would laugh at the first mention of
the word 'hero.'
"And I imagine he'd wonder why the hell we're here in this hangar, and
not out training for the next fight," he said.
Servais, 23, volunteered to serve as the rear machine gunner in
a convoy consisting of U.S. Special Operations Forces, Afghan National
Army and Afghan Security Guard elements.
His patrol was ambushed by an estimated 100 anti-coalition militia as
they traveled through the mountainous terrain, receiving small arms,
rocket propelled grenade and sniper fire as close as 440 yards away on
things heated up, Airman Servais delegated his machine gun duties to
another crew member to free him up to direct close air support to
suppress the enemy. He continued to engage the enemy while
simultaneously directing close air support.
As he was talking to the pilots,
an RPG exploded behind him, killing him.
Servais made the
ultimate sacrifice for his country. We can ask no more than that," Lt.
Gen. Mike Wooley, Air Force Special Operations Command commander, said
in a letter read to the 23rd and 720th at the memorial. "We will always
remember him along with the other warriors who have fallen while
protecting our freedom. We will mourn his loss, we will honor his
memory and we will miss his smile."