The mission was supposed to be standard: move into enemy territory and capture or kill marked Taliban leaders in the middle of the night in the Kunduz Province.
But for a team of 12 Army Special Forces soldiers, 43 Afghan Army commandos, and one Air Force combat controller, all hell was about to break loose. Soon after the sun had risen on Nov. 2, 2016, the coalition team had already engaged the enemy through various curtains of intense ambushes and gunfire — with four allied troops injured.
During the barrage of gunfire, Staff Sgt. Richard Hunter, a combat controller with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, began engaging the enemy right back.
Staff Sgt. Richard Hunter, a 23rd Special Tactics Squadron combat controller. (Source: Air Force)
While taking multiple casualties, Hunter put his exceptional combat training to good use, calling in a total of 31 airstrikes from AH-64 Apaches and AC-130 gunships onto the enemies' elevate position — killing 27.
Some of the airstrikes landed within just meters of Hunter's position. Hunter then coordinated with the quick reaction force and medical evacuation helicopters to export the wounded. But Hunter's fight wasn't over with just yet.
He heard a familiar voice calling for help desperately. As he looked to investigate the sound, he noticed one of his teammates was injured and pinned down approximately 30-meters away.
With disregard for his own life, Hunter leaped over a wall and dashed toward his injured teammate. Once there, he quickly scrabbled the wound and pulled him to safety.
Reportedly, the engagement lasted around eight hours, and for Hunter's heroic efforts he'll receive the Air Force Cross.