MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Marines with 1st Tank Battalion received medals in recognition of their actions while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Tuesday at the battalion’s compound.
The Marines who received the awards were from Company D, 1st Tanks. The company returned to the Combat Center in late July, marking the end of a seven-month combat deployment.
“I’m extremely proud of (the Marines),” said Capt. Chris Ashinhurst, company commander, Co. D, 1st Tanks. “They never backed down and accomplished the mission.”
The awards included three Purple Hearts, a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. They were presented by Maj. Andrew Dirkes, executive officer, 1st Tanks.
“We don’t look to put ourselves in harm’s way, but our mission takes us there,” said Sgt. Maj. Brian Priester, sergeant major, 1st Tanks. “Some of these Marines suffered wounds but they continued on and performed as expected.”
Staff Sgt. Kyle D. Shackelford, Cpl. Philip V. Lim and Lance Cpl. Eric A. Targon were awarded Purple Hearts.
A Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal was awarded to Staff Sgt. Jamie L. Held for his efforts engaging enemy fighters during a recovery mission.
A Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal was awarded to Cpl. Adam Nichols for continuing his push against enemy fighters during the recovery mission.
All Marines awarded medals were recognized because of their efforts during Operation Dynamic Partner.
According to Ashinhurst, the Marines were part of a M 88 recovery-vehicle crew during Operation Dynamic Partner and were recovering disabled vehicles when they came under extremely intense fire. The Marines engaged and destroyed the enemy fighters while continuing their recovery. With the exception of one vehicle, all gear was recovered and no Marines were lost.
“It shows that under fire, these Marines are capable of calling on their training and leading and protecting each other,” Priester said.
“These Marines made a difference,” said Dirkes. “They earned these awards and recognitions. I am honored to serve with them.”
Their commitment to the mission instills pride in 1st Tank Battalion.
“They worked hard and fought hard,” Ashinhurst said. “I’m extremely proud of all of them.”