By Army Sgt. Scott Davis of Regional Command East
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan: Two brothers in the 101st Airborne Division were decorated for separate combat actions during their deployment to Afghanistan.
Army Cpl. Joshua Busch of Company D, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, was on a mission in November when insurgents attacked his platoon.
"We got hit pretty hard," said Josh, the younger brother. "By the end of the first night, I was the highest-ranking soldier in the platoon as a corporal, so I took charge as the platoon sergeant."
By the end of the fight, his platoon of 22 was down to nine uninjured soldiers. He was decorated Dec. 7 for his heroic actions during that battle. Army Sgt. Jason Busch, Company A, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, recalled the battle that took place about a month later in which he earned his Purple Heart.
"The enemy was hiding in a basement. ... Two Afghan national policemen were going to go in, and I was to follow," he said. "They kicked down the door, and as soon as they started to enter, they both got shot and fell down. I looked in and saw the enemy about 10 feet away. We both started firing at each other at the same time. I got hit as I was getting down into a prone position."
Jason kept firing even after he was shot.
"Right away, I started coughing up blood and could barely breathe," he said. "I shouted for a medic, but they couldn't help me, since the insurgent was in the room in front of me. When I realized they couldn't get to me, I somehow stood up, stumbled over to the medic and collapsed. Doc slowing my breathing saved my life. I was medically evacuated about 10 to 15 minutes later."
The soldiers, who are from Seymour, Wis., are proud of each other and what they had to go through.
"When my brother got decorated, I felt a lot of pride for him, but I also felt a lot of sadness for what he had to go through to get that medal," Jason said. "I wish that I could have been there instead."
Though both had planned to get out of the Army, they decided to stay with their platoon for this deployment. Josh extended his enlistment, and Jason re-enlisted for two more years.
"I actually re-enlisted for four more years less than a week before I got shot," Jason said. "I'm going to stay in and possibly pursue a career as a flight warrant officer."
Josh said he and his brother always have been close.
"My brother joined when I was in high school," he said. "I think he joined because he knew I was going to and didn't want me to go through it alone."
When Josh got to basic training, the drill sergeants asked if anyone had siblings in the Army. Josh said yes and was given the chance to be stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., with his brother, though they are in different brigades.
Josh will finish his deployment soon, while Jason is recovering in the United States.
"It's got to be tough on our parents having two kids deployed at the same time," Josh said. "Our mom is a worrier, and she tries to find out anything she can about what we are doing out here. We try not to tell them too much about what goes on out here to keep them from worrying more."
NATO International Security Assistance Force