Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Seven Marines with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, were recognized for their actions in Afghanistan during the battalion’s recent deployment during Operation Enduring Freedom in a ceremony at Del Valle Field July 13.
At the ceremony, the Marines were awarded two Bronze Star Medals, a Purple Heart Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
The Bronze Star Medal, when given meritoriously, is the nation’s ninth highest military award.
Maj. Alton A. Warthen, partnership training officer in charge, Company H, 3/7, joined the ranks of many in the nation’s history to receive the award. He earned it through his service in combat operations against the enemy during his role as senior mentor in 3/7’s advisory team.
Warthen has made important contributions in the development of the Afghan National Security Forces. He helped in the planning and transfer of 45 battle positions to the host nation’s ownership and created a staff development program that improved the tactical abilities of more than 1,000 Afghan forces.
“It is truly humbling to receive the award,” said Warthen. “But this isn’t just my award. It belongs to all the Marines who helped bring the operation together.”
Being awarded alongside Warthen was Capt. Colin M. Chisholm, Company L commander, 3/7.
Chisholm earned the Bronze Star Medal for his meritorious service in Afghanistan. He executed multiple successful company-level operations as well as contributing to the tactical success of more than 180 Marines and sailors.
The Purple Heart Medal was presented to Lance Cpl. Shawn A. Staat, motor transport operator, Co. H, 3/7 for wounds he received in Afghanistan March 2012. The medal is the oldest decoration still given to service members and one of the most respected. It commemorates their extraordinary sacrifices in the line of duty.
Following the presentation of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medals, Capt. William J. Milana, police mentor team leader, 3/7, Capt. Matthew W. Speers, infantry officer, 3/7, and Sgt. Bradley J. White, platoon sergeant, 3/7, received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for extraordinary service through their actions in Afghanistan.
Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Schondelmayer, mortarman, 3/7, also received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his outstanding service while deployed.