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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Maholic

Birthplace: Bradford, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Bradford, PA
Middle Name: Donald

Date of Birth: 01 February 1968

Date of Death: 24 June 2006

Rank: Master Sergeant

Years Served:
Thomas Donald Maholic

•  Afghanistan War (Operation Enduring Freedom) (2001 - present)


Thomas Donald Maholic
Master Sergeant, U.S. Army

Thomas Donald Maholic was federalized from the Pennsylvania National Guard.

On 24 June 2006, Master Sergeant Thomas Donald Maholic was serving as the Detachment Operations Sergeant for Operational Detachment Alpha 765 (ODA-765), Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

On that date, while conducting a cordon and search mission to capture or kill Taliban leadership in Panjawi District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, MSG Maholic and his detachment commander identified a small compound west of their perimeter on a knoll that would threaten their position if occupied by the enemy. Shortly after, they observed several individuals run toward, and then enter the compound. MSG Maholic volunteered to lead a patrol of 3 other detachment members, 20 Afghan Soldiers, and 2 interpreters to assault and secure the compound. MSG Maholic assigned 2 detachment members, along with 4 Afghan Soldiers and one interpreter, to a support-by-fire position. MSG Maholic took the other detachment member, one interpreter, and the remainder of the Afghan Soldiers to form the assault force. As MSG Maholic prepared to assault the compound, both of his elements came under heavy enemy fire from concealed enemy positions around the area. MSG Maholic immediately initiated the assault and his small element rapidly entered and cleared the compound. Once inside, he learned that his 2 detachment members at the support-by-fire position had been critically wounded and that their position was in danger of being overrun. As MSG Maholic established a defensive position from which he could control his forces, a large Taliban Force counter-attacked and occupied positions on all sides, effectively surrounding and isolating MSG Maholic's force and the support-by-fire position from each other as well as other friendly elements. From all directions, the numerically-superior enemy initiated an uninterrupted barrage of machine gun, rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fires on both elements. From intercepted radio transmissions, MSG Maholic learned that the enemy commander's intent was to capture the combined force alive. An eight-man quick reaction force (QRF), dispatched by the Team Leader and led by the detachment's Medical Sergeant, fought its way to the compound to assist in the fight and to handle medevac of the 2 wounded Soldiers. MSG Maholic immediately ordered them to reinforce the support-by-fire position and render aid to the 2 wounded Soldiers, leaving himself, one other detachment member, and 15 Afghan Soldiers to hold the compound.

For 40 minutes, MSG Maholic moved from position to position throughout the compound in the more than 100 degree heat. Moving across rooftops, on ladders, and behind mud walls, MSG Maholic coordinated his unit's fires and adjusted his perimeter as required, while repeatedly exposed to an extraordinary volume of fire by an estimated 50 well-armed and determined Taliban fighters. The enemy element quickly maneuvered to as near as 15 meters from the outside walls of the compound, brought forward machine guns, and began to place effective fire on the defenders. As the volume of enemy fire reached an unbearable level and, with Taliban fighters shouting insults and threats at the Afghan Soldiers less than 25 meters away, the compound defense began to falter. MSG Maholic sprinted from one position to the next, ignoring bullet and rocket-propelled grenade impacts all around him, as he rallied and motivated the defenders to hold and regain the initiative. MSG Maholic repositioned weapon systems, identified targets, directed fires, and shouted encouragement while continuing to engage enemy fighters with his personal weapon and simultaneously coordinating the relief effort for his 2 wounded Soldiers. MSG Maholic's determination, resolve, and personal example inspired the defenders and they began to eliminate enemy forces maneuvering ever closer to the compound. Slowly and methodically, MSG Maholic's defenders gained fire superiority and drove the Taliban back. When MSG Maholic learned that the previously dispatched QRF was engaged by heavy Taliban fire, he ordered the one remaining detachment member to depart the compound, maneuver to the support-by-fire position, and assist his wounded comrades. As the only remaining American Soldier in the compound, MSG Maholic continued to direct the defense of the compound against several determined and well coordinated attacks. While attempting to engage one enemy fighter maneuvering in an alley, MSG Maholic emerged from behind cover to fire his weapon and was mortally wounded; however, inspired by his personal example, the remaining Afghan National Army Soldiers continued the defense. The attackers eventually withdrew in the face of the determined defense by the remaining Afghan Soldiers. MSG Maholic's courageous actions not only rallied the defenders to deny the enemy's attempt to overrun and capture the force, but successfully eliminated enemy forces that would have certainly enveloped the detachment's more vulnerable positions. MSG Maholic's gallantry, dedication to duty, and selfless sacrifice exemplified the warrior ethos and directly resulted in the detachment seizing the initiative, denying the enemy use of key terrain, and forcing the Taliban retreat. MSG Maholic’s 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

Silver Star Medal
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Meritorious Service Medal
Purple Heart
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Combat Infantryman Badge
Master Parachutist Badge
Air Assault Badge
Special Forces Tab

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 Master Sergeant Thomas Donald Maholic, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as the Detachment Operations Sergeant for Operational Detachment Alpha 765 (ODA-765), Company A, 2d Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), during combat operations in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, on 24 June 2006, at Pashmul, Kandahar, Afghanistan. Master Sergeant Maholics' heroic actions defeated a Taliban attack, saved the lives of his comrades, and prevented the destruction of his team. His actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.


Master Sergeant Thomas Donald Maholic is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Arlington County, VA, in Section 60, Site 9193.


Honoree ID: 8538   Created by: MHOH




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