Headlines in the Midlands
Afghanistan war veteran receives special award for valor
Dec. 17, 2011
COLUMBIA, SC - December 17, 2011 - Lt. Col. Bill Connor, U.S. Army (Res.), was awarded the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team’s (USCTAT) William Barret Travis Award for Valor during ceremonies at the S.C. State House, Friday.
Approved and signed by Clare M. Lopez – retired CIA operations officer and today deputy national director of the USCTAT – Connor’s award was presented for his heroic leadership while in command of a vehicle convoy that was ambushed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 21, 2007. Though the convoy was surrounded by suicidal insurgents – armed with automatic weapons, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades – some closing to within 10 feet of the vehicles, not a single American life was lost.
Connor, an infantry officer (and Ranger) who also served as senior U.S. military adviser to Helmand Province, is an Orangeburg-based attorney. He serves as a USCTAT advisor.
(left to right) Mr. Tom DeLoach, pres. of the South Carolina Business & Industry Political Education Committee; Lt. Col. Bill Connor; and Mr. DeWitt Zemp.
USCTAT awards also were presented by former White House advisor and USCTAT advisor DeWitt Zemp to five recipients in absentia which Connor accepted on their behalf. The recipients included Dr. Walid Phares (both the Travis Award for valor and the Winston Spencer Churchill Award for tenacity and resourcefulness), Tom Harb (Churchill Award), Carol Taber (Churchill Award), Chris Carter (Churchill Award), and Christopher Holton (Churchill Award). Taber also received the Combatant’s Cross, the highest recognition by the USCTAT.
The USCTAT, which celebrates its two-year anniversary on Monday, Dec. 19, is a 20-plus member council composed of nationally recognized military, counterterrorism, and intelligence experts. The team is an initiative of the Family Security Foundation, Inc. (FSFI), a national security non-profit. The team also serves in ongoing affiliations with both the American Public Policy Alliance and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy among other national security initiatives.
The USCTAT’s expert advisors and analysts include retired CIA officers, two former U.S. Deputy Undersecretaries of Defense, the former commander of U.S. Army Special Forces, and the founder and first commanding officer of SEAL Team Six (known today as DEVGRU).
Since 2009, the USCTAT has provided analysis to military units and many of the world’s leading news agencies. Additionally, the USCTAT’s Task Force India has tested and reviewed tactical equipment with reviews appearing in general consumer and law enforcement publications.
The Travis Award is named for Lt. Col. William Barret Travis, the S.C.-born commander of the ill-fated albeit heroic garrison at the Alamo during the Texas War of Independence. Travis perished with his command – including Kentucky knife-fighter Col. Jim Bowie and Tennessee frontiersman and legislator Davy Crockett – when a numerically superior Mexican force stormed the Alamo on Mar. 6, 1836.
– Visit W. Thomas Smith Jr. at http://uswriter.com.