|From The Atterbury campatterbury.org
Indiana National guardsman and Silver Star
recipient leaves a legacy of service
For any Soldier who has served in the National Guard, the concept of family legacies is familiar.
Some family names stretch across unit rosters as far back as anyone can remember. At any given time that name will appear over and over on current rosters of units across the state.
Prominent among those family names in the state of Indiana is one that has become synonymous with honor: the name is Proctor.
Family members, friends and fellow Soldiers gathered in the atrium of the Indiana Statehouse to recognize that name, a name that belongs to one of Indiana’s fallen, Sgt. Joseph Proctor of Whiteland.
The Indiana National Guardsman was lost May 3, at Camp Ramadi, Iraq. Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana National Guard Adjutant General R. Martin Umbarger presented Proctor’s family with the Silver Star Medal, the third highest award for gallantry.
Beth Proctor displays a Silver Star medal certificate awarded posthumously to her husband, Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor on Dec.20 during a ceremony at the Statehouse. Their son, Joe Proctor, stands behind her. Joseph Proctor’s parents, Lloyd and Sharon, are on the left. Photo by Staff Sergeant Russell Lee Klika
Among the Soldiers present were three of Sgt. Proctor’s family members: his son Joseph Jr., his brother Eddie and his nephew Bradlee. Another nephew, Eddie Jr., is still in training and was unable to attend. All enlisted in the months following the loss of Proctor.
Many years have passed since Sgt. Proctor’s older brother Eddie served, but soon after his brother's death, Eddie re-enlisted in Proctor’s unit as a motor transport operator. It is a skill he brings after years as a civilian long-haul driver. “I heard they needed truck drivers (in Iraq), and that’s something I know about,” Eddie Proctor said.“And if I can continue what Joeystarted, I wanted to do that.”Proctor was an aviation fueler but volunteered for Military Transition Team duty in Iraq.
The job is adangerous one, embedding one or two American Soldiers into an Iraqi unit to train and mentor the fledgling troops. A group of Soldiers that served with Proctor and shared that danger traveled from New England to be with his family during the ceremony. “We’ve never met, but have talked on the phone,” said Sgt. Ben Hannur of Watertown, Conn. “Now to actually meet them brings it into perspective.
It’s a big family and they’re close ... close like we were in Iraq. ”Hannur said the loss of Proctor was felt heavily, particularly among the Iraqi soldiers Proctor trained. “Everybody knew him and he knew everybody. He made a huge impression on the Iraqis and they mourned him along with us, ”Hannur said. “He was the one you went to when you needed something, needed anything.
”The most telling evidence of Proctor’s mettle and character can be found in the narrative of the incident that accompanied the presentation of the Silver Star: “Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor, United States Army, distinguished himself by exhibiting exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of an enemy attack as Military Transition Team Trainer for 1st Battalion, 172ndArmor, Camp Ramadi, Iraq on 3May 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
”Proctor served with 1st Battalion,1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Division as a trainer in the Anbar Province of Iraq. He was in almost constant danger patrolling the most violent areas of the 5 Kilo District of Tammim, often with only one other coalition force member present. ”Proctor spent several days at Observation Post 293, one of the most isolated areas in Ramadi.
The post had been a target for insurgents in the area and routinely came under attack. Proctor was on duty when the post came under one of the fiercest attacks since its establishment. At approximately1415 hours the post began receiving indirect fire. Proctor was in a relatively safe location at the time, inside the cement barracks.
Cognizant of the hazards outside the barracks and without any official order to leave the safety of the building, Proctor quickly donned his protective equipment, went to assess the situation and render aid to those on security who were under attack. The severity of the attack was a diversion by the enemy in its attempt to destroy the observation post with a vehicular suicide bomb.
A large dump truck penetrated the west gate during the complex attack and continued moving toward the center of the observation post. Proctor immediately and aggressively stood his ground in the compound, firing more than 25 rounds from his M16 into the cab of the truck.
“He did not waver; he did not flinch, engaging the vehicle head-on as it was moving toward him and the remaining Soldiers in the building, ”said the narrative. He killed the driver of the dump truck before it could move further into the compound. The bomb detonated and Proctor was mortally wounded in the explosion. “Sgt. Joseph Proctor saved countless lives that fateful day by stopping the driver before he could reach his objective.
His actions were nothing less than heroic and embody the warrior ethos by his selfless courage. His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Indiana National Guard and the United States Army,” the narrative said.
BY Staff SGT Les Newport
Atterbury Staff Reporter