MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
May 20, 2011, marked a day of celebration and appreciation when five Marines were recognized for valor on the battlefield at Felix Field.
Corporal Patrick Rowe, Lance Cpl. Jose Velasquez, Cpl. Edward Huth and Maj. Patrick McKinley were awarded Bronze Star Medals with combat action devices. Lance Cpl. Brian Murphy was also awarded a Purple Heart during the same ceremony.
All the Marines earned their awards during 3rd battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s deployment to Afghanistan last year.
Corporal Rowe, who served as a machine gun team leader with Company L, 3/7, rescued a wounded Marine while under enemy fire and saved his life.
Lance Cpl. Velasquez also risked his life for his fellow Marines while serving with Company L, 3/7, in Afghanistan. Velasquez carried a casualty 200 meters to an aid and litter team and then continued to lead his team to clear an enemy compound.
Despite a gunshot wound to his right shoulder, Cpl. Huth provided supporting fire from his left arm, which allowed his squad to move safely on the battlefield.
Huth then jumped into action to help a fellow Marine who was shot by providing suppressive fire and moving him out of danger under intense enemy fire until a medical evacuation team came to the scene.
Shortly after, a third Marine was wounded and was unable to move himself to the evacuation aircraft. Huth again placed himself in harm’s way to carry the casualty to the evacuation site. His actions saved the lives of many Marines.
Huth stood proud as he received his award, but his humble attitude stood out as he remembered that day.
“I just did what anyone else would have done,” added Huth. “I was there at the right time, and thank God everyone lived.”
Leadership also plays its role in a successful mission. Maj. McKinley showed zealous initiative while serving as commanding officer for Company I, 3/7 in Afghanistan. His leadership in combat operations made the area between Musa Qual’eh Wadi and Sangin a dangerous place for Taliban forces.
Through McKinley’s extraordinary guidance, his unit earned the trust of the local populace and support from Afghan government institutions integral to the success of their mission.
The selfless and courageous actions of these Marines are shining examples of the honor and brotherhood the Corps holds so highly.
“I’m happy [about the award,] but there are other Marines that do this every day and don’t get recognized. So this is for them too,” Huth said.