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Marines with 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, salute Sgt. Maj. Maximino Torres III, the battalion’s sergeant major, and Lt. Col. Eduardo A. Abisellan, the commanding officer of the battalion, after receiving their awards during a morning colors ceremony at the battalion’s gun ramp March 2.

Photo by Cpl. R. Logan Kyle

Artillery Marines prove their 'medal'

4 Mar 2010 | Cpl. R. Logan Kyle

Maj. Christopher B. McArthur, the operations officer for 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, and Master Gunnery Sgt. David M. Jacobs, the battalion’s operations chief, were awarded the Bronze Star Medal during a ceremony at the battalion’s gun park Monday.

            “I am honored and deeply humbled to be able to present the Bronze Star to both Master Gunnery Sgt. Jacobs and Maj. McArthur in recognition of their exceptional performance while the battalion deployed and fought in Helmand Province, Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Eduardo A. Abisellan, the battalion’s commanding officer. “Their dedication, professionalism and unyielding commitment to their Marines and the mission enabled the battalion to perform its primary artillery mission in a very austere and hostile environment – the first artillery battalion to do so in Afghanistan.”

            McArthur, a Phoenix native, was awarded the medal for his actions as the battalion’s operations and logistics officer from April to November.  

“His technical and tactical insight ensured the battalion was able to provide timely and effective artillery fire to support infantry units as well as be able to conduct independent operations within the battalion's own battle space,” Abisellan said.

             Jacobs received his medal for his superior performance as the battalion’s motor transportation chief throughout the deployment.

            “Master Gunnery Sgt. Jacobs’ actions enabled the battalion to maintain its rolling stock in a high state of operational readiness,” said Abisellan, a Miami native. “His experience and courage enabled the battalion to quickly assist and recover vehicles that would frequently strike improvised explosive devices.”

Jacobs, a native of Massilon, Ohio, said the deployment made a lasting impression on him.

“I have never worked with a more professional group of Marines in my last 25 years in the Marines,” Jacobs said. “They were not just trained well and motivated, they were truly up and ready for any task that was handed them. It will always be the most remarkable deployment I have done.”

McArthur said the award truly belongs to his Marines.

            “It is nice to be recognized for the work I did for the battalion, but the award really reflects the work of the Marines in the logistics and operations shops, and the work the Marines in the battalion as a whole did while deployed,” he said. “No unit success rests on the work of just one Marine, and I think this award is more about the team than anything I did.”

            Jacobs agreed with McArthur.

            “I had the best [motor transportation] Marines I have ever seen,” he said. “They were the ones that really deserved the award, and I will never for get that fact or them.”

            McArthur said his Marines’ motivation made his job easy.

“The unit was extremely excited and proud to be the first Marine artillery battalion to deploy to Afghanistan in its traditional role,” he said. “The battalion was the first unit across the [line of departure] during Operation Khanjari, fired the most Excalibur rounds of any Marine artillery unit and conducted the first combat [helicopter] lift of the M777 howitzer.

“More than that, they demonstrated the versatility of an artillery unit and what an immense asset they are to the [Regimental Combat Team],” he added. “The battalion repaired bridges and roads, built multiple firebases, conducted key leader engagements, trained and partnered with Afghan forces, helped secure a key main supply route, provided motor transport support to almost every unit in the RCT, and earned the trust and friendship of the locals.  For me, it is how much the battalion did with limited resources and time that shows me they still are the king of battle.”

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