Army Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker will be presented a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross for his role during combat operations in Iraq. Booker was killed while conducting the April 2003 mission — an armored attack on Baghdad. The Pittsburgh native was attached to Company A, 64th Armor Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division at the time. Official records show that Booker reacted in behalf of his comrades when they came under attack by small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. After his the mounted machine gun on his crew’s tank malfunctioned, Booker exposed himself to the enemy and returned fire for an extended period of time. He is credited with protecting his platoon’s flank and destroying an enemy vehicle, before being fatally wounded.
Booker received a Silver Star medal at the time. The upgrade comes at the request of then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who ordered a comprehensive review of all awards during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The soldier’s mother, Freddie M. Jackson, will accept the award at an April 5 ceremony at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh.