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by Bill Armstrong and Edgar Morrison, PAO Staff

  Editor's note: These reports of heroism and valor are representative of what the soldiers of 3rd Armored Division did in order to emerge victors on Iraqi and Kuwaiti sands.

Not all heroes in wartime drive a tank or low crawl through concertina wire. Sergeant Rick Hamilton of 2nd Bn., 3rd Field Arty. handled fuel and helped support the scouts of 3rd Bn., 5th Cav. during the allied ground assault.

He and his driver, Spec. Jerry McNiel, drove a 2,500-gallon diesel fuel truck through minefields and dodged incoming mortar fire to help keep the combat vehicles fit to fight. Both soldiers received the Bronze Star for Valor for their efforts.

"There was genuine fright. For some time we didn't know what our ultimate ends would have been. But we got through. We did what we had to do."

Along the same lines, Spec. Christopher Mills, a member of HHC, 12th Eng. Bn., lent a helping hand to 1st Brigade. As a petroleum specialist, Mills knew he'd have to meet the challenge of feeding fuel to vehicles essential to the ground battle.

One 15-minute stretch put Mills in line for a Bronze Star. "I refueled 45 vehicles in 15 minutes." On top of that, he managed to keep his own fuel tanks filled for the duration of the offensive, ensuring that fuel would always be available.

Mills didn't despair as he moved forward with the battle in his 5-ton tank and pump unit. "We were surrounded by artillery; we knew we were safe."

The 12th Engineers are an 8th Infantry Division unit that was attached to 3rd Armored Division for the duration of the Persian Gulf War.

Another member of the 12th Engineers, Pfc. Robert Gatto, also received the Bronze Star. Actually, Gatto was a representative for a group of nine soldiers, plus a first sergeant and a driver, from Bravo Co. who combined their efforts to take 97 Iraqi prisoners.

The group took the prisoners after raiding enemy bunkers. In fact, the engineers stayed out until 11 p.m. dealing with the prisoners after beginning their raids at first light.

"We took all those prisoners instead of fighting. We saved a lot of lives."

Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk handed out awards to these soldiers at a ceremony for 1st Brigade March 10.

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