JACKMAN – Army Sgt. Timothy Gilboe will be welcomed back as a hometown hero today with a parade in his honor.

At a ceremony Friday in Fort Polk, La., the graduate of Forest Hills Consolidated School was awarded the Silver Star for what he did during a firefight in Afghanistan in April. The Silver Star is among the highest honors for action in combat.

During the firefight April 28 in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan, insurgents opened fire on Gilboe’s combat team, wounding two and setting fire to another soldier’s backpack, which was packed with ammunition.

Gilboe, 24, a machine gunner, was credited with returning the insurgents’ fire and extinguishing the backpack fire with his hands, according to the Town Talk newspaper in Alexandria, La.

Gilboe then saw an insurgent with a rifle running directly at him.

Gilboe, who was unarmed, ran toward the insurgent, grabbed the rifle and pointed it toward his own chest-plate armor to avoid being shot on an unprotected part of his body.

After being knocked to the ground by the rifle shots, Gilboe fought the man hand-to-hand until the insurgent was shot, the newspaper reported.

Gilboe joined the Army in 2006, the year he graduated from Forest Hills. He is a member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Polk.

Jean Turner, secretary at the Forest Hills Consolidated School, said Gilboe was “definitely enjoyable to be around. … Students literally and figuratively looked up to him.”

Turner said Gilboe, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall, was a standout basketball player, had a great sense of humor and enjoyed helping younger children in Boy Scouts, in which he earned highest rank, Eagle Scout.

The parade for Gilboe is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at the Mountainview Resort.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Beth Staples can be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

[email protected]