FORT DRUM - On Friday, three awards for valor were given to soldiers who displayed remarkable courage by their actions during battles in?Afghanistan.


    FORT DRUM - On Friday, three awards for valor were given to soldiers who displayed remarkable courage by their actions during battles in?Afghanistan.
    Sgt. 1st Class Richard J. Olson Jr., 32,?Spencer,?Mass., received a Silver Star for leading a combined task force on?August 10 to rid the provincial headquarters in Logar, Afghanistan, of Taliban fighters.?Stepping into enemy fire,?Sgt. Olson rescued the governor of Logar and continued to secure the five-story building during a 5 1/2 hour fight.
    “I was there to conduct business,” he said. “Usually after a fight, you replay things in your mind and say, ‘What could I have done differently?’ On that day, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
    Spc. Jesse R.?Sprint, 24, St. James, Minn., received the Army Commendation Medal With Valor Device for his efforts on July 30.?Spc. Sprint captured an enemy gunman.?After facing enemy fire and an on-foot pursuit through an apple orchard,?Spc. Sprint followed the enemy to his fortress, where he eventually captured him.
    Spc. Jesse Sprint is the son of Jacque Sondag and brother to Amanda Sondag and Matthew Sondag of Godahl-St. James and the grandson of  Jim and Mary?Sprint of Mankato.
    Cpl. Derrick V. Blackburn, 24, Florence,?Ala., received the Bronze Star With Valor Device for his efforts on?Sept. 12.
Cpl. Blackburn’s mounted patrol was stuck by an improvised explosive device(ied), launching one of the vehicles into the air. The vehicle eventually burst into flames and the patrol came under direct enemy fire. Cpl. Blackburn managed to secure the safety of the injured soldiers. He attempted to rescue the two soldiers trapped in the vehicle but could only remove their remains.
    “Surprized? No I wasn’t surprized,” said Cpl. Blackburn’s mother,?Sharon J. “That’s just the type of man he is.”
    Maj. Gen. James L. Terry, 10th Mountain Division commander, said the men were called upon to serve selflessly and to support and defend the Constitution. They were trained to never accept defeat and never leave a fallen comrade, and he said that is exactly what they did.
    “They have my personal thanks and eternal gratitude,” he said.