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‘The Eye Of The Storm’: Tom Cotton Honors Staffer Who Earned Bronze Star During Afghan Evacuation

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 29: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining Texas's abortion law on Capitol Hill in Hart Senate Office Building on September 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)
Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) took some time on Wednesday to honor his Deputy National Security Advisor, Lieutenant Kristen Trindle, for her service in Afghanistan during last year’s evacuation.

“America’s retreat from Afghanistan was a dark chapter for our country,” Cotton began. “We all remember the terrible scenes of desperate people clinging to the undersides of planes, of Taliban thugs beating innocent people, and, most tragically of all, 13 flag-draped caskets containing the remains of brave American servicemen and women, killed by an ISIS suicide bomb. We will never forget those tragic events. They’re grim reminders about the wages of weakness in Washington.”

“For every act of cowardice in Washington, for every act of evil by our enemies, there is an act of even greater bravery by our troops,” Cotton continued. “As they always do, Americans redeem even the most forlorn missions through extraordinary action.”

“I’d like to recognize one of our nation’s heroes today,” he continued, turning to the woman seated just off to the side. “Navy Lieutenant Kristen Trindle is a member of my team in the Senate, where she does excellent work as my Deputy National Security Advisor after starting six years ago as my intern.”

“I know that Lt. Trindle would be too humble to sit beside me today if she had any idea about what I’m going to say,” Cotton continued. “Last year she took a leave of absence from her Senate duties to deploy with the Navy Reserves. That deployment took her to Kabul, the eye of the storm. Lt. Trindle served as aide de camp to the general in charge of the evacuation. Their mission? To save as many Americans and Afghan allies as possible from the advancing Taliban.”

Cotton went on to say that Trindle had been instrumental in assisting with developing screening processes for potential evacuees and coordinating the evacuation with other involved nations.

“Those actions alone would have been worthy of commendation, but Lt. Trindle went above and beyond the call of duty. She volunteered to leave the relative safety of headquarters to lead a clandestine extraction team charged with finding and recovering Americans and Afghan allies,” he added.

Cotton noted that Trindle did not flinch when those rescue missions required her to move sometimes within yards of the enemy, adding, “She executed these missions in the dead of night, despite confirmed threats, within sight of the enemy. Armed Taliban fighters were regularly within 100 yards of her position, beating and whipping civilians—and menacing Americans. Lt. Trindle was unphased by this danger.”

“The nation has awarded Lt. Trindle the Bronze Star for her actions during the evacuation. I had the great honor of presenting that medal to her earlier today,” Cotton concluded, noting that Trindle and her team had assisted in the rescue of 961 Americans and Afghan allies. “As the official account of Lt. Trindle’s action notes, she ‘achieved 100% mission success in the face of unparalleled chaos.’ I would add that Lt. Trindle met “unparalleled chaos” with unparalleled courage. She deserves every bit of this high honor—and she deserves her country’s sincere gratitude.”

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