Thomas Donald Maholic
Master Sergeant, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 605-06
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Master Sergeant Thomas D. Maholic, 38, of Bradford, Pennsylvania, died on June 24, 2006, in Ghecko, Afghanistan, when his patrol unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire during a cordon and search mission. Maholic was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Media with questions about this soldier can
call the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Public Affairs Office at
(910) 432-3383 / 8650 / 7585.
Killed 24 June 2006 in the Kandahar Province, near Ghecko, Afghanistan when he was fatally struck by enemy small arms fire during a cordon and search mission.
Age 38 and a native of Bradford, Pennsylania, He is survived by his wife, Wendy, and son, Andrew of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. Also survived by his mother Dorothy Maholic of Bradford, sister, Ann Davis, brothers David of Cleveland, Ohio, John and Michael of Bradford and Robert of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Awards and decorations:
Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Expert Field Medical Badge, Special Operations Dive Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Special Forces Tab. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman Badge.
Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Courses, Combat Diver Qualification and Course, Combat Diver Supervisor Course, Advanced Special Operations Techniques Course, Basic Instructor Training Course, Air Assault Course, Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course, Basic and Advanced Airborne Courses, Spanish Language Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Course and both the winter and summer mountain warfare schools.
Master Sergeant Maholic graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course in 1995 and was assigned 1st Bn., 7th SFG, as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant. In 2003, after serving more than seven years in the 7th Special Forces Group, he was assigned to the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as an Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course instructor. In April 2005, Maholic was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, and served there as an Operational Detachment – Alpha team sergeant until his death.
Maholic enlisted in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 1986 as an infantryman and attended Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
His first assignment was with the Pennsylvania
National Guard where he was an infantryman for five years. In July of 1991,
he transitioned to active duty and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 508th
Infantry Battalion at Fort Kobbe, Panama where he served for two years.
In 1993, he volunteered to become a Special Forces Soldier.
Thomas D. Maholic
Action Date: June 24, 2006
Rank: Master Sergeant
Company: Operational Detachment Alpha 765 (ODA-765), Company A
Battalion: 2d Battalion
Regiment: 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Division: Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Master Sergeant Thomas D. Maholic, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as the Detachment Operations Sergeant for Operational Detachment Alpha 765 (ODA-765), Company A, 2d Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), during combat operations in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, on 24 June 2006, at Pashmul, Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Master Sergeant Maholics' heroic actions defeated a Taliban attack, saved the lives of his comrades, and prevented the destruction of his team. His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.
NARRATIVE TO ACCOMPANY AWARD:
Master Sergeant Thomas D. Maholic, United States Army, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry in action as the Detachment Operations Sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 765, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. On 24 June 2006, while conducting a cordon and search mission to capture or kill Taliban leadership in Panjawi District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Sergeant Maholic and his detachment commander identified a small compound west of their perimeter on a knoll that would threaten their position if occupied by the enemy.
Shortly after, they observed several individuals run toward, and then enter the compound. Sergeant Maholic volunteered to lead a patrol of three other detachment members, 20 Afghan Soldiers, and two interpreters to assault and secure the compound. He assigned two detachment members, along with four Afghan Soldiers and one interpreter, to a support-by-fire position. Sergeant Maholic took the other detachment member, one interpreter, and the remainder of the Afghan Soldiers to form the assault force. As he prepared to assault the compound, both of his elements came under heavy enemy fire from concealed enemy positions around the area. Sergeant Maholic immediately initiated the assault and his small element rapidly entered and cleared the compound. Once inside, he learned that his two detachment members at the support-by-fire position had been critically wounded, and that their position was in danger of being overrun. As he established a defensive position from which he could control his forces, a large Taliban Force counter-attacked and occupied positions on all sides, effectively surrounding and isolating Sergeant Maholic's force and the support-by-fire position from each other as well as other friendly elements. From all directions, the numerically superior enemy initiated an uninterrupted barrage of machinegun, rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fires on both elements. From intercepted radio transmissions, Sergeant Maholic learned that the enemy commander's intent was to capture the combined force alive. An eight-man quick reaction force, dispatched by Team Leader and led by the detachment Medical Sergeant, fought its way to the compound to assist in the fight and the medical evacuation of the two wounded Soldiers. Sergeant Maholic immediately ordered them to reinforce the support-by-fire position and render aid to the two wounded Soldiers, leaving himself, one other detachment member, and 15 Afghan Soldiers to hold the compound.
For 40 minutes, Sergeant Maholic moved throughout the compound from position to position in the more than 100 degree heat. Moving across rooftops, on ladders, and behind mud walls, he coordinated his unit's fires and adjusted his perimeter as required, while repeatedly exposed to an extraordinary volume of fire by an estimated 50 well-armed and determined Taliban fighters. The enemy element quickly maneuvered to as near as 15 meters from the outside walls of the compound, brought forward machineguns, and began to place effective fire on the defenders. As the volume of enemy fire reached an unbearable level, and with Taliban fighters shouting insults and threats at the Afghan Soldiers less than 25 meters away, the compound defense began to falter. Sergeant Maholic sprinted from one position to the next, without regard for his own personal safety, ignoring bullet and rocket-propelled grenade impacts all around him, as he rallied and motivated the defenders to hold and regain the initiative. He repositioned weapon systems, identified targets, directed fires, and shouted encouragement while continuing to engage enemy fighters with his personal weapon and simultaneously coordinating the relief effort for his two wounded Soldiers. His determination, resolve, and personal example inspired the defenders and they began to eliminate enemy forces maneuvering ever closer to the compound. Slowly and methodically, Sergeant Maholic's defenders gained fire superiority and drove the Taliban back. When Sergeant Maholic learned that the previously dispatched reaction force was engaged by heavy Taliban fire, he ordered the one remaining detachment member to depart the compound, maneuver to the support-by-fire position, and assist his wounded comrades.
As the only remaining American Soldier in the compound, Sergeant Maholic continued to direct the defense of the compound against several determined and well coordinated attacks. While attempting to engage one enemy fighter maneuvering in an alley, Sergeant Maholic emerged from behind cover to fire his weapon and was mortally wounded; however, inspired by his personal example, the remaining Afghan National Army Soldiers continued the defense. The attackers eventually withdrew in the face of the determined defense by the remaining Afghan Soldiers. Sergeant Maholic's courageous actions not only rallied the defenders to deny the enemy's attempt to overrun and capture the force, but successfully eliminated enemy forces that would have certainly enveloped the detachment's more vulnerable positions.
His gallantry, dedication to duty, and selfless sacrifice exemplified the warrior ethos and directly resulted in the detachment seizing the initiative, denying the enemy use of key terrain, and forcing the Taliban retreat. The heroic accomplishments of Sergeant Maholic reflect great credit upon himself, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.
NOTE: Although Sergeant Malohis was killed in 2006, he was laid to rest in the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery on 23 June 2011. Section 60, Grave 9193.
MAHOLIC, THOMAS DONALD
Posted: 27 June 2011 Updated: 8 September 2011
Photos by Eileen Horan, September 2011
Photos by Eileen Horan, June 2011