CAMP LEJEUNE, NC — A Marine Raider was awarded the Silver Star Medal for heroic actions while deployed to Afghanistan in 2019, at a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 10, 2020.
The master sergeant and Critical Skills Operator, was serving as a Team Chief with 2nd Marine Raider Battalion in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel when his team was engaged by enemy combatants. According to the award citation, during a heliborne raid into difficult enemy-controlled terrain in Southern Afghanistan, he led his team of Marine Raiders and partner nation forces in four hours of close combat with more than a dozen Taliban fighters occupying defensive strongholds. The Team Chief exposed himself to enemy fire to lead an assault across 30 meters of open terrain, attacking Taliban fighters entrenched in a bunker with his rifle and hand grenades. While he and his team took accurate enemy fire, the Team Chief again exposed himself by climbing on top a building to employ a roof charge in order to recover a wounded Afghan soldier. With enemy fighters barricaded just a few feet away, he heroically pulled the wounded man to a covered position in a valiant attempt to save his life, while allowing his team to engage the barricaded fighters with fragmentation grenades.
Throughout the four-hour close combat engagement, multiple team members bravely exposed themselves to enemy fire and employed small arms fire, fragmentation grenades, and shoulder-fired rockets to suppress or destroy additional enemy fighting positions. For their actions, one CSO, one Special Operations Capability Specialist, and one Special Operations Officer also involved in the assault were awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for their actions, while four others were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Valor. The combined efforts of this Marine Raider team resulted in the complete destruction of a determined enemy, including three high-value enemy commanders.
“The entire team remained calm, concise over the radios. They were controlled, efficient, synchronized, and ultimately, brutally lethal to end that fight,” commented the awardee of the men he led during the deployment. “One thing I did want to recognize is that this was not an isolated incident. This is the incident we are recognizing these guys for, but this happened multiple times, with the same, if not, very similar circumstances and many of the Marines being honored today did the exact same actions and performed just as well multiple times. You guys humbled me throughout the entire deployment. It was an honor to serve with you. ”