Bay Area Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan awarded Bronze Star

The Associated Press
Thursday March 14, 2002

WASHINGTON — The Navy SEAL killed after falling from a helicopter during battle in Afghanistan has been awarded the Bronze Star. 

The medal honors the service of Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts, 32, who grew up in Woodland, Calif. Officials gave the medal to Roberts’ widow, Patricia, during a memorial service Monday, said Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Dawn Cutler. 

Roberts was among a group of special operations troops on a MH-47 Chinook helicopter hit by a rocket-propelled grenade March 4. They were part of Operation Anaconda, a drive to capture or kill al-Qaida and Taliban forces in a 60-square mile area of eastern Afghanistan. 

Roberts fell out of the helicopter as it hurriedly left the scene of the grenade attack. Video from a remote-controlled spy plane showed him being dragged away by al-Qaida fighters, and troops who returned to the scene found his body.