Indiana Army National Guard Sgt. Joseph E. Proctor, 38, Indianapolis/Whiteland, IN
Assigned to the 638th Battalion (Aviation), Indiana Army National Guard, Shelbyville, Ind.; killed May 3, 2006 when a suicide, vehicle-borne, improvised explosive device detonated near his observation post during dismounted combat patrol operations in Tammin, Iraq.
Family members, friends and fellow soldiers gathered on December 21, 2006 in the atrium of the Indiana State House to recognize the heroism of Sgt. Joseph Proctor of Whiteland, Ind. The Indiana National Guardsman was lost on the 3rd of May 2006 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. Among the ranks of Soldiers were three of Sgt. Proctor's immediate 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 Sgt. Proctor.
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, 172nd Armor, Camp Ramadi, Iraq on 3 May 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Sgt. Proctor served with 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 7th Iraqi Division as a Military Transition Team Trainer in the Anbar Province of Iraq. This is one of the most dangerous and challenging jobs a soldier can perform.
Previously, Sgt. Proctor was a petroleum supply specialist who volunteered from the task force support platoon. 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.
He would spend several consecutive days at Observation Post 293, one of the most isolated areas in Ramadi. This observation post had been a target for insurgents in the Tammim area and routinely came under attack. Sgt. Proctor was on duty the afternoon of May 3rd when Observation Post 293 came under one of the fiercest attacks since its establishment. At approximately 1415 hours on May 3rd, Observation Post 293 began receiving indirect fire.
At least four rounds landed, some within extremely close proximity and some directly on the observation post. Sgt. Proctor was in a relatively safe location at the time, inside the barracks, which was a cement structure.
Cognizant of the hazards outside the barracks and without any official order to leave the safety of the building, Sgt. Proctor quickly donned his protective equipment and secured his weapon. He developed an expedient plan, left the safety of the building to assess the situation and render aid to those on security who were under attack. Shortly after he entered the compound, the observation post was attacked with small-arms fire. It appeared they were under a complex attack. The severity of the attack ultimately was a diversion by the enemy in its attempt to destroy the observation post with a large, powerful and deadly 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. Sgt. Proctor immediately and aggressively stood his ground in the compound, firing over 25 rounds from his M16 into the cab of the vehicular suicide bomb. 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. He killed the driver of the dump truck before the truck could enter further into the interior of the compound. The vehicular suicide bomb detonated causing significant destruction from the point of the explosion. Sgt. Proctor was mortally wounded where he made his stand against the attack.
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.
By Sgt. Les Newport
Indiana National Guard Public Affairs
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Mrs. Beth Proctor and son, Pvt. Joseph Proctor, reflect on their memories of Sgt. Joseph Proctor after receiving his Silver Star during a ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse on December 21, 2006.
Photo Submitted by Sgt. Michael Krieg, Indiana National Guard
Thanks also to Deedra E. Thombleson, LTC, MP, Public Affairs Officer