Delta Force commando honored for Benghazi rescue effort
An Army Delta Force commando who infiltrated Benghazi to rescue U.S. diplomats, spies and security officers during a 2012 terrorist attack “was critical to the success of saving numerous lives,” according to a citation awarding him the military’s second-highest honor.
Delta Force’s role was not disclosed in any public report or congressional testimony. The Army citation for the Distinguished Service Cross, posted on a website for Army personnel, provides the first detailed look at what one of the commandos, Master Sgt. David R. Halbruner, accomplished.
The Washington Times reported in November that two members of Delta Force, the Army’s premier counterterrorism unit, were among seven U.S. personnel who went to Benghazi, Libya, on a rescue mission the night of Sept. 11, 2012. The second Delta member, a Marine, was awarded the Navy Cross for heroism, The Times reported.
The Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross are the second-highest military awards in precedence, below the Medal of Honor.
After al Qaeda-linked terrorists stormed the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi at 9:40 p.m., killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and State Department officer Sean Smith, the rescuers chartered a plane in Tripoli. They landed in Benghazi around 1 a.m. and made their way via convoy to a CIA annex where Americans were fighting off various terrorist groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, which had attacked the mission.
The Army’s one-paragraph award narrative does not identify Sgt. Halbruner by his unit, only as “a team leader for a joint task force in support of an overseas contingency operation.” It also does not name the country.
But the citation’s dates for his heroism — Sept. 11 to Sept. 12, 2012 — correspond with the dates when the rescue team left Tripoli and completed its mission by getting about 30 Americans onto aircraft bound for Tripoli. Sources confirmed to The Times in November that a Delta solider was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
...There were some profiles in courage during the attacks and at two have been honored. Unfortunately there were few such acts of courage in Washington where many "leaders" went AWOL during the crisis, and started trying to spin campaign narratives rather than delve into the real world where the enemy was on the attack.
“Without regard for his own safety, Master Sergeant Halbruner’s valorous actions, dedication to duty and willingness to place himself in harm’s way for the protection of others was critical to the success of saving numerous United States civilian lives. Throughout the operation, Master Sergeant Halbruner continually exposed himself to fire as he shepherded unarmed civilians to safety and treated the critically wounded. His calm demeanor, professionalism and courage was an inspiration to all and contributed directly to the success of the mission. Master Sergeant Halbruner’s distinctive accomplishments are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his Command and the United States Army.”