#imnohero: Kevin A. Houston, Chief Petty Officer (SEAL), U.S. Navy

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Kevin Houston was born on September 20, 1975, in West Hyannisport, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 18, 1995, and went on active duty to begin basic training on January 26, 1995. After completing basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in April 1995, he attended Aviation Electrician’s Mate training at NAS Lemoore, California, from May to June 1995. His first assignment was with VFA-195 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CV-62) home-ported at Yokosuka, Japan, from June 1995 to January 1996, followed by temporary duty at Personnel Support Detachment Treasure Island, California, from January to June 1996. Petty Officer Houston served with Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron TWO (HS-2) at San Diego, California, from July 1996 to July 1998, and then attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at NAB Coronado, California, from July 1998 to February 1999. His next assignment was with SEAL Team FOUR at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from May 1999 to December 2005, followed by service as Tactical Ground Mobility Weapons Lead Instructor with Naval Special Warfare Group TWO Training Detachment at NAB Little Creek from December 2005 to January 2008. Petty Officer Houston’s final assignment was with Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) at Dam Neck, Virginia, from January 2008 until he was killed in action when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was aboard was shot down in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. While serving with SEAL Team FOUR he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, and he later deployed with DEVGRU to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom multiple times. Kevin Houston was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

His 1st (of 3) Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:

For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as an Assault Team Member for a Joint Task Force in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from 19 October 2008 to 10 February 2009. During this period, Petty Officer First Class Houston conducted high-risk combat operations in the area of responsibility. On the night of 26 November 2008, Petty Officer First Class Houston and his Joint fire team came under significant enemy fire from several insurgents while conducting a raid targeting a key Taliban leader. Petty Officer First Class Houston led his team’s response, immediately returning and suppressing the enemy fire. During the engagement, enemy combatants were using a tunnel within the compound to attempt to flank the assault force. Petty Officer First Class Houston realized this grave threat to his teammates and led his team’s high-risk clearance of the tunnel. As they cleared the tunnel, Petty Officer First Class Houston was wounded but continued leading his team, neutralizing the enemy combatants and securing his unit’s flank. Largely due to his intrepid leadership on this objective, his unit removed numerous enemies from the battlefield and eliminated a Taliban bombing cell. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Petty Officer First Class Houston reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

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