Senator Zeldin's 2012 Veterans' Hall of Fame Recipient: Michael J. Esposito, Jr.
Full name:Sergeant Michael J. Esposito, Jr.
Award:Honoring Our Veterans
On the 18th of March 2004, Sergeant Michael Esposito distinguished himself in combat with anti-coalition militants while serving as a team leader with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment (Task Force Courage). His heroism and bravery while leading his team under direct fire served as an inspiration to his peers and subordinates, and his actions contributed significantly to his success of his unit in the war on terror.
On 18 March 2004, Alpha Company maneuvered into the village of Miam Do to cordon and search a suspected anti-coalition militant (ACM) compound. The company had already taken fire from the compound, and was entering to secure it. Sergeant Esposito, leading from the front, entered the compound and cleared the first three rooms. Upon entering the third room, he saw a door to an adjoining room that they hadn’t seen when entering. Disregarding his own safety and moving in front of his team, he moved towards the door in order to breach it. When he moved in front of the door, ACMs engaged him with rifle fire and he was mortally wounded. Sergeant Esposito’s bravery, moving at the front of his team despite hostile fire, was an inspiration to his men, and after he was mortally wounded; his squad kept fighting and the objective was secured.
Sergeant Esposito’s courage and heroism under direct fire served as an inspiration to his men. His leadership and selfless dedication to duty were instrumental in ensuring success for his company and Task Force. His actions, which were taken at the cost of life, represent the finest traditions of the American soldier, and reflect great credit upon himself, Task Force Courage, the Warrior Brigade, and the United States Army.