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'It's Theirs More Than It Is Mine': Minnesotan Andrew Bundermann Receives 2nd Highest Military Honor

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota native and former Army officer Andrew Bundermann is being honored with the nation's second highest decoration for military valor.

Bundermann was left as acting commander of Troop B, 3rd Squadron, 61st Calvary Regiment at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan. On October 3, 2009, more than 400 insurgents breached the outpost's perimeter.

The last time Bundermann was on this stage inside Northrop Auditorium was in 2007, when he graduated from the University of Minnesota. On this day, on that same stage, he is being honored with the Distinguished Service Cross.

"He was absolutely indispensable," said Major Stoney Portis. "His performance was central to the success of the entire troop, the entire battle."

Bundermann says mortar rounds fell every 20 seconds for the first two hours of the battle, knocking out communication and pinning down support forces.

"A good plan may or may not survive first contact, but you certainly have to be able to shoot, move and communicate, and I think that's what that team did well in the face of a lot of adversity," Bundermann said.

Andrew Bundermann
Andrew Bundermann (credit: CBS)

Working with two soldiers, Bundermann set up the only remaining communications platform and immediately coordinated air support.
He says the most critical call he made during the battle was a tough one to make.

"When we were on somewhat limited air support and we said we no longer can be on the defensive, and decided to take back the imitative," Bundermann.

Bundermann was awarded the Silver Star for his actions. The United States Department of Defense upgraded his medal as part of a review of commendations for heroism in Iraq and Afghanistan. One hundred insurgents were killed, and another 100 were wounded. Eight U.S. service members died.

"Over the course of an entire day of close combat, they expanded the perimeter, taking back an outpost that had been minutes away from being lost," said Lt. Gen. Thomas S. James Jr.

He shares with honor with all who served during that battle.

"It's theirs more than it is mine. I just happen to be the person who's standing here to get it," Bundermann said.

The Distinguished Service Cross is behind only the Medal of Honor when recognizing extraordinary heroism while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.

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