Honorary FBI Medals

April 3, 2009

Bravery. Heroism. Courageous acts. Some of the words used by FBI Director Robert Mueller when presenting honorary FBI medals to FBI employees and some individuals from partner law enforcement agencies worldwide...

Audio Transcript

Mr. Schiff: Hello, I’m Neal Schiff, and welcome to Inside the FBI, a weekly podcast about news, cases, and operations. Bravery. Heroism. Courageous acts. Some of the words used by FBI Director Robert Mueller when presenting honorary FBI medals to FBI employees and some individuals from partner law enforcement agencies worldwide. And honored those receiving the medals are for what they’ve been through.

Ms. Gibbs: “There were five of us sitting at a table and I was at the end, the head or the foot of the table, and the other four were facing each other. It was a very small, outside, plastic table; the bomb actually exploded at the table next to us, approximately 10 feet away.”

Mr. Schiff: That’s Supervisory Special Agent Trish Gibbs of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division. Along with some others, she was honored with the FBI Star, which is presented to those who are injured seriously in the direct line of duty. She was stationed at the FBI’s Legal Attaché office in Islamabad, Pakistan, when, while dining with four others, was seriously injured when an explosive device went off at the outdoor restaurant.

Ms. Gibbs: “As soon as it happened we were trying to get up and get cover. So the three of us at my end of the table kind of grabbed each other and helped each other over behind some cover. And then, we were separated from the other two. The bomb blast itself was a pretty good explosion; threw us; knocked us down; we had to get up off the ground; a number of injuries. We assessed injuries; called the Embassy and notified them of the attack, and then we went to find our other guys and get them out of there.”

Mr. Schiff: FBI Special Agent Nicholas Boshears was presented with the FBI Shield of Bravery. He was working as part of the Combined Explosives Exploitation Cell in Iraq when he and others helped an injured colleague and helped shield others from being hurt by improvised explosive devices. Major Peter Norton of the British Army, then a Captain, was seriously hurt from one of those explosives. Boshears helped rescue Norton.

Mr. Boshears: “Part of our job was conducting on-scene investigations after attacks that had occurred against coalition forces. One evening we had a call-out where some troops had been killed. And, in the process of exploiting that scene, our British explosives ordinance officer who was assigned with us, Major, at the time, Captain Peter Norton, now Major Norton, went down-range to investigate something that was brought to his attention by the military. He kept us to the side for safety purposes. And, on his return back to us, stepped on what’s called a victim-operated improvised explosive device, which detonated about 50 feet from our location.”

Mr. Schiff: As soon as that happened, Boshears and his partners went to help Norton.

Mr. Boshears: “He had an amputation of the left arm and left leg, as well as some other injuries. We provided medical aid and then got him Medivac-ed out of the area. The next day we found out that there was a second, actually a third, victim-operated device about 12 feet from where we were working.”

Mr. Schiff: Major Norton was at FBI Headquarters in Washington to receive his honor, the FBI Star, from Director Mueller. Major Norton says that he was working with the FBI on the Combined Explosives Exploitation Cell mission.

Mr. Norton: “It was a fairly, sort of routine, standard sort of call-out that we used to get, unfortunately involving multiple casualties and fatalities with a National Guard Unit. A vehicle on patrol had been hit by a large buried device in one of the rural areas to the southwest of Baghdad. The vehicle had been completely destroyed; four servicemen killed. And we went out to effectively investigate and try and gather technical and weapons intelligence from the scene. Unfortunately, whilst looking around that particular scene on the day I trod on a pressure pad with a couple of 122 millimeter artillery shell buried underneath.”

Mr. Schiff: FBI Special Agent Christopher Rigopoulos, honored with the FBI Shield of Bravery, also helped Major Norton on the scene. Rigopoulos and Boshears, before becoming FBI agents, were firemen and emergency medical technicians. Rigopoulos says that Major Norton, though seriously injured, was able to help.

Mr. Rigopoulos: “When that happened, of course, myself and Special Agent Nicholas Boshears, we went to his aid and squared him away to get him out of there. But even though Captain Norton was critically injured, he still had presence of mind and the leadership to give us direction on where he was moving and where he didn’t step; he kept us very close and tight from moving out of the area that we were working in. I didn’t mention that it was dark. In my eyes, everyone is talking about heroics and things of that nature—I believe Captain Norton, at the time, he is the hero here. He kept us tight. I think he actually saved our lives in those respects. So my gratitude leans in that direction to recognize him for those actions.”

Mr. Schiff: In all, 42 honorary FBI medals were presented to 38 recipients. The awards include the FBI Star, the FBI Medal for Meritorious Achievement, the FBI Shield of Bravery, and the FBI Medal of Valor. We applaud each and every individual honored. There’s more on the awards at www.fbi.gov on the Internet. That concludes our show. Thanks for listening. I’m Neal Schiff of the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs.

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