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October 17, 2006

Major Ryan Worthan... someone you should know.

Silver Star awardee receives Nininger Award for Valor October 12, 2006

Maj. Ryan L. Worthan, Silver Star Awardee and recipient of the inaugural Alexander E. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms.

Maj. Ryan L. Worthan was awarded the inaugural Alexander E. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms by the U.S. Military Academy’s association of graduates.
Maj. Ryan L. Worthan was awarded the inaugural Alexander E. Nininger Award for Valor at Arms by the U.S. Military Academy’s association of graduates for demonstrating conspicuous valor and gallantry while serving with the 10th Mountain Division in action against al-Qaeda and Taliban guerrillas on Sept. 29, 2003, at Shkin Fire Base in Afghanistan.

Worthan received the Silver Star earlier for his leadership during a 12-hour battle at the fire base, which served as a choking point of enemy fighters coming out of the mountains on the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. Worthan’s actions led to more than 20 al-Qaeda and Taliban guerrillas being killed after he ordered several Apache attack helicopters and an A-10 Warthog gunship into the area.

“I’m honored beyond words to represent the U.S. Military Academy and to represent my classmates,” the 1997 West Point graduate said. “I have a ton of classmates who have received valor awards and have fought many more battles and, in my opinion, many tougher battles than I.

As Worthan addressed cadets during his award ceremony, he gave thanks to 1945 USMA graduate Doug Kenna, who endowed the Nininger Award. Nininger, a 1941 West Point graduate, received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions in the Philippines during World War II.

“Kenna’s thoughts on why we should have this award are very forward thinking,” Worthan said. “His vision was for this to be a long-term award for cadets to identify with junior leaders, that in the future may be received by lieutenants who the cadets will know, allowing them to identify with the awardees.”

Worthan credits West Point as a place that taught him great fundamentals for leadership and confidence.


Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 57th Infantry, Philippine Scouts. Place and date: Near Abucay, Bataan, Philippine Islands, 12 January 1942. Entered service at: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Birth: Gainesville, Ga. G.O. No.: 9, 5 February 1942. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Abucay, Bataan, Philippine Islands, on 12 January 1942. This officer, though assigned to another company not then engaged in combat, voluntarily attached himself to Company K, same regiment, while that unit was being attacked by enemy force superior in firepower. Enemy snipers in trees and foxholes had stopped a counterattack to regain part of position. In hand-to-hand fighting which followed, 2d Lt. Nininger repeatedly forced his way to and into the hostile position. Though exposed to heavy enemy fire, he continued to attack with rifle and handgrenades and succeeded in destroying several enemy groups in foxholes and enemy snipers. Although wounded 3 times, he continued his attacks until he was killed after pushing alone far within the enemy position. When his body was found after recapture of the position, 1 enemy officer and 2 enemy soldiers lay dead around him.

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