People of Pierce: Calvin Gilkey

Katie Fenton, Online Reporter

“I got to meet the Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. I was in the service for seven years with the U.S. Army. I received the Bronze Star Medal of valor. It was in Kandahar province, Afghanistan 2010 to 2011. We were in a four-day firefight with the Taliban, there was around 64 of us all together. My squad leader was killed, so I ended up taking over the squad. I had to take over his duties and help kill those guys, basically push them out of our little area – our area of operations. We lost a lot of guys during those four days. We got mortared, sniper fire, guys were stepping on bombs. That’s how I was able to get the Bronze Star Medal of valor, which I didn’t really want because I felt like anyone could’ve received it, but I just wanted to go home after those four days. That was in the first month being in Afghanistan, that intense of a firefight. You can Google my name and my name will pop up next to the Secretary of Defense because he came to Afghanistan around March 8, 2011 and presented me and a few others with awards, which I received the highest award that day. Secretary of Defense is the fifth most powerful man in the world. Robert M. Gates served in the Bush era and partially for the Obama era too, so it was an honor to meet him. I’ve been married for going on nine years in September (and) I have a 6-year-old son, Levant. I’m retired now. We did something that the Russians couldn’t do, which was defeat the Taliban in Kandahar province. It’s a really challenging part of my life and I’m glad I overcame it with my guys.”

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People of Pierce: Calvin Gilkey

by Katie Fenton time to read: 1 min