Army Spc. Justin Crews had just turned in his rifle and was waiting for a flight to get out of Afghanistan for leave back in the States.
It was about 1 p.m. June 1 at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khowst, Afghanistan, when Taliban forces attacked using car bombs, suicide bombers and people armed with rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, said 1st Lt. James L. Goddard, a civil military officer with Crews’ unit, the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment (Airborne) from Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Crews, a 2009 Screven County High School graduate, “picked up a light machine gun and charged to the front with several other members of the (unit) as others were running the other way for cover,” Goddard said in an email. “Crews was a centerpiece of a defensive line that shifted the momentum back to U.S. forces in a matter of minutes. Spc. Crews was instrumental in neutralizing the attack.”
Crews credited his team leader, Sgt. Anthony Bachica, and squad leader, Staff Sgt. Joseph Marcinko, for training him and instilling in him the instincts to react to the situation.
“I want the people of south Georgia to know that Spc. Justin Crews acted with the tenacity of a Georgia Bulldog,” Goddard said. “We are proud of him and wish him a restful and relaxing leave with his family and friends, Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, sweet tea and everything else we can’t get over here.”
Crews was expected to spend his 15-day leave home in Screven County.