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Col. Kyle B. Ellison, commanding officer, 7th Marine Regiment, speaks about the actions and the esprit de corps that Lance Cpl. Dillon Bennett, machine gunner, 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment, displayed following the presentation of a Purple Heart to Bennett at 7th Marines’ Headquarters aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., July 27, 2018. Bennett received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained while deployed to his area of operations on July 9, 2018. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dave Flores)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Dave Flores

3/7 Marine receives Purple Heart

16 Aug 2018 | Lance Cpl. Dave Flores 10th Marine Regiment

Lance Cpl. Dillon Bennett, machine gunner, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, was awarded a Purple Heart by Col. Kyle B. Ellison, commanding officer, 7th Marine Regiment, aboard the Combat Center July 27, 2018.

Bennett received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained while deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve on July 9, 2018. After extinguishing an anti-tank missile system, Bennett and his squad of Marines were ordered to fire another missile. While on his way to retrieve the missile, Bennett was struck by a mortar round. According to Bennett, he doesn’t recall anything after the blast but he was informed by his fellow Marines that he got up, grabbed the missile and brought it back to finish the fire mission.

“Receiving the award was a humbling experience,” Bennett said. “Even though I don’t remember what happened, I am glad that my body and ‘warrior’ instincts kicked in along with my training. This whole experience has really brought me down to Earth.”

During the incident, Bennett suffered a traumatic brain injury and received shrapnel to the knee as well as cuts and bruises, but he was glad to walk away from the situation alive.

“I know that my son wants to be back, fighting with his men,” said Chad Bennett, father of Lance Cpl. Bennett. “We know he has a long journey ahead of him, but we are there for him every step of the way.”

Bennett’s friends, hospital staff, parents and grandfather, who is a retired officer from 7th Marines, were all in attendance to congratulate Bennett on the recognition he received as well as his homecoming.

“We planned on being here to help him recover from the injury when he got back stateside,” said Shar Bennett, mother of Lance Cpl. Bennett. “So to be apart of the ceremony was an added bonus. Hearing the colonel speak kindly about our son was an amazing experience. It caused us to hold our head a little higher, for Dillon.”

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Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms