1. Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry
Army Staff Sergeant Leroy Petry received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Afghanistan in 2008. While under enemy fire and wounded in both his legs, Petry continued to move to protect his fellow Rangers - eventually picking up a grenade which detonated shortly after he released it away from the group, amputating his hand.
2. Monica Lin Brown
Army medic Monica Lin Brown became the first woman since WWII to receive the Silver Star after she ran through insurgent gunfire to save her fellow soliders in an April 2007 battle in Afghanistan.
3. Dakota Meyer
Another impressive Medal of Honor recipient, Corporal Dakota Meyer received his for exceptional acts of bravery after he almost single-handedly rescued 36 men trapped in a firefight during the Battle of Ganjgal.
4. The NAVY Seals that lead the final Bin Laden mission
Though much of the operation is still cloaked in secrecy, the group of NAVY Seals that were able to once and for all wipe FBI’s Most Wanted Man off the face of the planet are heroes in most of the country’s eyes.
5. Salvatore Giunta
Better known as “Sal”, Giunta was the first living person since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor for saving lives of the members of his squad during the War in Afghanistan in 2007.
6. Corey M. Calkins
Green Beret Corey Calkins inspired a group of 69 Afghan soliders in Marjah to risk crossing a road laden with bombs to pursue and eventually overrun the insurgents. For his acts of valor, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross earlier this year.
7. Lori Hill
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Lori Hill became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross after she provided suppressive fire against heavy rocket fire and later executed a safe emergency landing of her damaged Kiowa Warrior, saving her crew.
8. Sgt. Felipe Pereira
Brazilian Felipe Pereira, a “Screaming Eagle”, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions while he was patrolling in Senjaray, Afghanistan and encountered a suicide motorcycle. Despite his wounds, he helped get his fellow soldiers to safety.
9. Brendan O’Connor
Brendan O’Connor has been in the US Army since 1980, but it was in 2006 that he showed true heroism when his team was ambushed by hundreds of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. After over 17 hours of intense combat, two of his men were wounded and in danger of being executed. O’Connor personally removed his body armor and crawled towards the soldiers to come to their aid.