It was a hellacious firefight deep within enemy-occupied territory in southern Afghanistan, eight Marine Raiders fighting alongside Afghan partner forces. 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.

Dropped off by helicopter, the team endured four hours of close-combat against more than a dozen Taliban fighters.


The Team Chief exposed himself to enemy fire as he led the assault across 100 feet of open terrain to attack an enemy bunker. Using his rifle and hand grenades, he eventually eliminated the threat.

While he and his team took accurate enemy fire, the Team Chief again exposed himself by climbing on top of 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.


As the Afghan partner force began to clear another structure, its lead soldier was shot and lay helpless at the entrance. Climbing onto the building, the Team Chief employed an explosive roof charge, and after it detonated, he jumped onto the terrace where the wounded Afghan soldier lay.

While completely exposed to 8 barricaded fighters only a few feet away, the Team Chief heroically pulled the wounded man to cover in a valiant attempt to save his life. Meanwhile, his team engaged the barricaded fighters with fragmentation grenades.

It took four-hours of small arms fire, fragmentation grenades, and shoulder-fired rockets to suppress or destroy additional enemy fighting positions. In the end, the team eliminated 14 enemy fighters, including three high-value enemy commanders with only a single friendly casualty.”

For his heroic actions, the Team Chief was awarded the Silver Star Medal at a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 10, 2020. 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 entire team remained calm, concise over the radios. They were controlled, efficient, synchronized, and ultimately, brutally lethal to end that fight,commented the Team Chief 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.”


An interesting aside…as you know, there are moves afoot to rename military bases around the country. Camp LeJeune was named for Lt. Gen. John Archer Lejeune, who was born in Louisiana in 1867 – after the Civil War, and Emancipation Day. So far no one is clamoring to rename Camp LeJeune, but in recent, year LeJeune’s descendants along with the Marines have been working to correct the chronic mispronunciation of “LeJeune.” If you didn’t know, it’s supposed to be Luh-JERN not Luh-JOON.