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First Name: Justin

Last Name: Estes

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Sims, AR
Middle Name: M.

Date of Birth: 28 December 1981

Date of Death: 05 March 2007

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Years Served:
Justin M. Estes

•  Iraq War (Operation Iraqi Freedom) (2003 - 2011)


Justin M. Estes.
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army

On 5 March 2007, then-Staff Sergeant Justin M. Estes was serving as a Squad Leader in 1st Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, while deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.

On that day, SSG Estes' platoon was tasked with conducting reconnaissance of the berm on the eastern side of the volatile city of Samarra, Iraq, in order to prevent the flow of insurgent forces into the city. During the patrol, the lead HMMWV struck a pressure-activated improvised explosive device (IED) resulting in the catastrophic destruction of the vehicle, followed by a secondary command-detonated IED targeting the casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) team. SSG Estes was the truck commander of the 3rd truck in the patrol when the first IED was struck, placing him 100 meters behind the lead HMMWV to provide security for the patrol. The 1st IED engulfed the lead HMMWV in flames, leaving burning debris scattered around the detonation site. Five Paratroopers were injured in the blast, 2 of whom were thrown from the truck and were still alive, but on fire and among the burning debris. Aware of the imminent danger posed not only by the flames and exploding ordnance, but also secondary IEDs, without hesitation SSG Estes grabbed the fire blanket and ran through the inferno surrounding the destroyed vehicle to render medical aid. SSG Estes feverishly attempted to save the life of SSG Stanley, providing medical care until the platoon medic arrived. SSG Estes then took charge of the combat lifesaver team and began moving casualties out of the wreckage and flames for treatment. SSG Estes provided calm and decisive leadership at the detonation site, directing the continuing search for Paratroopers affected by the blast, even as ammunition cooked off around him. Having cleared the casualties from the fire, and with his equipment literally melting from the intense heat, SSG Estes remained at the side of SSG Stanley as he called the stretcher teams forward to conduct CASEVAC. As the teams approached, the imminent danger at which SSG Estes had placed himself in order to save the lives of 5 of his comrades was realized, as a secondary IED detonated directly underneath his feet, engulfing him in a cloud of smoke and debris and killing him instantly. SSG Estes’ selfless, heroic, courageous actions that day earned him, at the cost of his life, the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

Medals, Awards and Badges (Partial List)

Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Iraq Campaign Medal with Bronze Star
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge

Silver Star Medal Citation

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 Staff Sergeant Justin M. Estes, United States Army, for gallantry in action while serving with Company C, 2d Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division, in action on 5 March 2007 while on combat patrol operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. Staff Sergeant Estes' instinctual actions and personal courage undoubtedly prevented a future attack on Coalition Forces, Iraqi Security Forces or innocent civilians at the cost of his own grievous injuries. Staff Sergeant Estes' actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon him, Task Force 2d Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Task Force Lightning, and the United States Army.


Staff Sergeant Justin M. Estes is buried at Lone Valley Cemetery in Sims, Montgomery County, AR.


Honoree ID: 6831   Created by: MHOH




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