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Character Education: Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Matthew O. Williams (Afghanistan)

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EST

Character Education: Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Matthew O. Williams (Afghanistan)

Hosted by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

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edWeb is honored to present an interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Matthew O. Williams. Master Sergeant Williams was awarded the Medal of Honor for risking his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Afghanistan.

Interviews with Medal of Honor Recipients are part of the Medal of Honor Character Development Program, a free program that helps middle – high school students build character and promotes responsible citizenship. The Medal of Honor is awarded for “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of one’s life, above and beyond the call of duty.” Those awarded it drew upon their deepest convictions and values in the most challenging of circumstances. Their examples of courage and sacrifice can inspire us as we face our own challenges.

Sergeant Matthew O. Williams distinguished himself by going above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Afghanistan. The lead portion of his assault element, which included the ground commander, had sustained several casualties and were pinned down in rugged terrain. Sergeant Williams braved intense enemy fire to lead a counter-attack across a valley of ice-covered boulders and a fast-moving, ice-cold, and waist-deep river. Under withering fire, he was able to reach the wounded and move them down a sheer mountainside to the casualty collection point. He then fought his way back up the mountain to help evacuate more wounded and to reestablish radio communications. Noting that the casualty collection point was about to be overrun by enemy fighters, Sergeant Williams led a counter-attack that lasted for several hours. When helicopters arrived to evacuate the wounded, he again exposed himself to enemy fire, carrying and loading casualties onto the helicopters while continuing to direct commando firepower to suppress numerous insurgent positions. His actions enabled the patrol to evacuate wounded and dead comrades without further casualties.

This recorded program is appropriate for middle and high school teachers and their students, and will be of special interest to school and district leaders. We recommend that upper elementary teachers preview the program before showing it to their students. This program is not appropriate for younger students or preschool level classes.

Students must view the program under the supervision of a teacher and are not allowed to log into the program individually.

Here are ways you can share this inspiring story and interview with your middle – high school students:

  • Share Master Sergeant Williams’ story with your class.
  • Watch the live presentation as a class, or show the program as a recording, and discuss with your class.
  • Take advantage of the free lessons provided by the Medal of Honor Character Development Program. For shortened activities specifically for you to use while learning has shifted to an online format, follow the Character Development Program on Facebook.
 

Matt WilliamsAbout the Presenter

Sergeant Matthew O. Williams distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on April 6, 2008, while serving as a Weapons Sergeant, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task Force-33, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Sergeant Williams was part of an assault element inserted by helicopter into a location in Afghanistan. As the assault element was moving up a mountain toward its objective, it was engaged by intense enemy machine gun, sniper, and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The lead portion of the assault element, which included the ground commander, sustained several casualties and became pinned down on the sheer mountainside. Sergeant Williams, upon hearing that the lead element had sustained casualties and was in danger of being overrun, braved intense enemy fire to lead a counter-attack across a valley of ice-covered boulders and a fast-moving, ice-cold, and waist-deep river. Under withering fire, Sergeant Williams and his local national commandos fought up the terraced mountainside to the besieged element. Arriving at the lead element’s position, Sergeant Williams arrayed his Afghan commandos to provide suppressive fire, which kept the insurgent fighters from overrunning the position. When the Team Sergeant was wounded, Sergeant Williams braved enemy fire once again to provide buddy-aid and to move the Team Sergeant down the sheer mountainside to the casualty collection point. Sergeant Williams then fought and climbed his way back up the mountainside to help defend the lead assault element that still had several serious casualties in need of evacuation. Sergeant Williams directed suppressive fire and exposed himself to enemy fire in order to reestablish the team’s critical satellite radio communications. He then assisted with moving the wounded down the near-vertical mountainside to the casualty collection point. Noting that the collection point was about to be overrun by enemy fighters, Sergeant Williams led the Afghan commandos in a counter-attack that lasted for several hours. When helicopters arrived to evacuate the wounded, Sergeant Williams again exposed himself to enemy fire, carrying and loading casualties onto the helicopters while continuing to direct commando firepower to suppress numerous insurgent positions. His actions enabled the patrol to evacuate wounded and dead comrades without further casualties. Sergeant Williams’ complete disregard for his own safety and his concern for the safety of his teammates ensured the survival of four critically wounded soldiers and prevented the lead element of the assault force from being overrun by the enemy. Sergeant Williams’ actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.

 

About the Host

Cathy Ehlers Metcalf joined the Medal of Honor Character Development Program as Vice President of Education in 2015 after serving as a Regional Curriculum Trainer. She now serves as the Executive Director of Education for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Cathy taught college-level writing for over 33 years in Southern California. Cathy’s father was a World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. Those experiences gave Cathy a great respect for both the Medal of Honor and a passion for service to our Nation’s Veterans.

 

Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join The Medal of Honor Character Development Program community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


CMOHThe Medal of Honor Character Development Program is a curriculum resource built on the values of courage, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship, integrity, and patriotism. Its living history videos and accompanying lessons teach students that ordinary people can meet great challenges and make the world around them a better place. Each lesson highlights skills such as writing, collaboration, and critical thinking. With two available curriculum options (elementary and secondary), the resources are appropriate for K-12 students and beyond. Assignments and activities fit efficiently into existing disciplines, time periods, and schedules.

 

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