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Ceremonies honor Marines and sailors

24 May 2013 | Cpl. Ali Azimi

In early September of 2012, Marines with 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment came into contact with intense enemy fire while conducting partnered combat operations with the Afghan National Army in Afghanistan. The enemy force was larger in size and entrenched the area from six separate firing positions. Many stories unfolded from the events of that day and the heroic actions of those Marines led to the commendation of three medals as well as an additional medal being earned by a 7th Regiment corpsman by the end of the deployment.

Four Bronze Stars were awarded to Marines and sailors of 7th Marine Regiment  during two ceremonies Thursday for their heroic service during combat operations.

In addition to the Bronze Stars, Sgt. Terry Southworth, squad leader, Co. B, 1/7,  was also presented the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained during the engagement on Sept. 6.

“We recognize and thank Sgt. Terry Southworth for his service to our country and Corps,” said Lt. Col. Seth E. Yost, commanding officer, 1/7. “We don’t congratulate people for getting wounded but we can certainly thank them for their willingness to go out there and serve their country on the battlefield.”

The 90-minute firefight in September led to two of the Bronze Stars awarded Thursday; Sgt. Arturo A. Ley, squad leader, Co. B, 1/7, was one of those two.

The corpsman in Ley’s squad was wounded and separated from the rest of the Marines. Ley led Marines over open ground to the doc’s aid and helped drag the wounded corpsman to cover, where he received treatment.  Ley continued to fight even after sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck during an assault on the enemy position. He remained calm and continued to lead his Marines until the enemy was silenced.

On June 13, 2012, Petty Officer 3rd Class John J. Crowley, a corpsman with 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Co. C, 1/7, saved the lives of multiple Marines after the detonation of an improvised explosive device during a night patrol. He stabilized a double amputee after the first strike and provided further care to Marines injured as a result of a second explosion. Crowley was within close proximity to the second explosion, sustained injuries himself, but maintained the ability and willingness to conduct triage and help move the casualties to a collection point.

“It’s a tremendous honor today to recognize four men,” Yost said. “Their actions represent the character in the war-fighting ethos of our entire battalion.”

In a separate ceremony, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, honored another corpsman, Seaman Apprentice Steven O. Martin, Co. K, for his life-saving actions on two different instances during a deployment to Afghanistan in 2011.

After an IED had struck his squad leader and caused a double amputation, Martin applied tourniquets to each of the Marines’ legs, despite having suffered a concussion himself. Three days later, Martin once again provided life-saving care to a single-leg amputee after and IED attack. He boldly rushed to the casualty through an active minefield to stop the bleeding.

“Their actions show why we are the best war-fighting force in the world today as United States Marines,” Yost said. “The action they showed on the battlefield is why wherever we go, whether it’s Afghanistan or the battlefield of tomorrow, our enemies fear coming up against Marines.”

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