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'War Dog' awarded Bronze Star

28 Aug 2013 | Lance Cpl. Alejandro Bedoya

Capt. William J. Kavanagh, executive officer, Company E, 2nd battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, was awarded a bronze star at the Combat Center’s Range 105 Aug. 21. The award was presented by Maj. Gen. Larry D. Nicholson, 1st Marine Division Commanding General.

“Training is something that is stressed very the beginning of a Marine’s career,” Nicholson said. “Education is something that goes beyond training. This Marine showed both of those qualities when the time came. This is what we need more of in the Marine Corps.”

Kavanagh was deployed from early September 2012 to mid April 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During the deployment, Kavanagh set the example for Afghans and Marines by putting himself at the point of friction during numerous engagements by directing fires and leading troops.

During Operation New Hope, he demonstrated courage and judgment under fire while acting as a liaison to the Afghan Civil Order Police during the clearance of the Taliban strongholds.

His Afghan police were attacked by a platoon-sized element of Taliban. He directed a scout sniper team to establish a position as he neutralized the enemy with close-air combat support, allowing the Afghan soldiers to resume their offensive.

He repeatedly subjected himself to fire from enemy machine guns and mortars by running across exposed terrain to direct his Marines and Afghan soldiers.

His actions inspired the Afghan soldiers to press the attack and seize their objectives without incurring any causalities.

“The feeling of combat is almost addictive,” Kavanagh said. “There is something about knowing the person to the left and right of you will literally risk their life for you. This award not only represents what I did that day but what all of the Marines and Afghan soldiers did that day.”

By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative and total dedication to duty, Kavanagh upheld the highest Marine Corps traditions and traditions of the United States Naval Services.

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