Posted in Men of Valor

Jonathan W. Gifford Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS (posthumously) to

GUNNERY SERGEANT

JONATHAN W. GIFFORD

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Gunnery Sergeant Jonathan William Gifford, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Team Chief with Special Operations Task Force West, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On 29 July 2012, while advising Afghan Commandos conducting an operation into an insurgent stronghold village, Gunnery Sergeant Gifford observed three Commandos become casualties when the force received small arms fire shortly after insertion. Without hesitation he mounted an All-Terrain Vehicle and crossed 800 meters of exposed ground, performed first aid and, with the help of another Marine, moved the causalities several hundred meters to a protected landing zone for medical evacuation. The other Commandos were pinned down under heavy enemy fire and sustained more casualties. Realizing the Afghan force was in jeopardy, Gunnery Sergeant Gifford gathered extra ammunition and accompanied by a fellow Marine, crossed the same open terrain under fire, to reinforce the belabored Afghans. He rallied the Commandos and led an assault on the enemy. After eliminating an insurgent firing from a window, he climbed atop a building from which insurgents were engaging the Commandos, and dropped a grenade down the chimney. He continued to attack until he fell, mortally wounded, but his actions proved decisive in breaking the insurgent defense, and allowing the Commandos to secure the village. By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and complete dedication to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Gifford reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Born: Aug. 11, 1977 in Fall River, Mass… Served multiple combat tours

Posted in Men of Valor

Matthew T. Abbate Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS posthumously to

SERGEANT

MATTHEW T. ABBATE

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Sergeant Matthew T. Abbate, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as a Scout Sniper Section Leader, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, SECOND Marine Division (Forward), II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 14 October 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. While conducting a dismounted patrol through Sangin’s northern green zone and supporting the patrol as part of a Quick Reaction Force team, the insurgents opened fire from several well-prepared positions. Unknowingly ambushed in a minefield, the patrol members were moving into cover when two Marines and the Corpsman struck explosives in rapid succession. With the patrol leader incapacitated and three severe casualties, Sergeant Abbate took charge of the situation and, with total disregard for his own life, sprinted forward through the unswept minefield to draw fire and rally the dazed survivors. Exposed and personally suppressing the enemy, he directed the remaining squad member’s fires until they effectively suppressed the enemy and could render life-saving aid to the urgent casualties. After coordinating the medical evacuation, he then swept the landing zone for additional explosives before the patrol was again forced to take cover from enemy fire. Sergeant Abbate, knowing the casualties’ survival depended upon their rapid evacuation by helicopter, again rallied the patrol’s able men, and led a counter attack to clear enemy fighters from the landing zone and allow for the critically wounded men to be evacuated. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Sergeant Abbate reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Born: Sept. 10, 1984… Served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan… Killed in action on Dec. 26, 2010… Interred at Snelling District Cemetery in Snelling, Calif.

Posted in Men of Valor

Christopher B. Farias Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to

SERGEANT

CHRISTOPHER B. FARIAS

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Sergeant Christopher B. Farias, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as an Assistant Squad Leader with First Battalion, Eleventh Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 5 October 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. As Sergeant Farias’ squad and another squad were preparing to depart their patrol base on a night patrol in the hotly contested Kajaki region of Helmand Province, Taliban fighters unleashed an ambush of 73 millimeter recoilless rifle fire that inflicted at least seven Marine casualties, four requiring urgent medical attention. A heavy volume of small arms and machine gun fire then poured in on the Marines from three enemy positions. Despite suffering a concussion and neck and shoulder fragmentation wounds from the 73-mm. blasts, Sergeant Farias exposed himself to the unrelenting barrage of enemy fire, climbing onto the roof of the patrol base to engage the enemy with his rifle and grenade launcher and direct suppressive fire from two machine guns onto the enemy positions. His unhesitating actions allowed a reinforcing Marine squad to maneuver into the ambushed compound, clear the kill zone, and transport the friendly casualties to a landing zone 400 meters away. Refusing to seek treatment for his own wounds, Sergeant Farias steadfastly held his position on the roof providing protection for his fellow Marines until he and the last elements safely evacuated the patrol base. By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and complete dedication to duty, Sergeant Farias reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.


Home of record: LaPorte, Texas

Posted in Men of Valor

Clifford M. Wooldridge Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to

CORPORAL

CLIFFORD M. WOOLDRIDGE

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Corporal Clifford M. Wooldridge, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Vehicle Commander, Combined Anti-Armor Platoon White, Weapons Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, FIRST Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan, on 18 June 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. When their mounted patrol came under intense enemy fire, Corporal Wooldridge and his squad dismounted and maneuvered on the suspected enemy location. Spotting a group of fifteen enemy fighters preparing an ambush, Corporal Wooldridge led one of his fire teams across open ground to flank the enemy, killing or wounding at least eight and forcing the rest to scatter. As he held security alone to cover his fire team’s withdrawal, he heard voices from behind an adjacent wall. Boldly rushing around the corner, he came face-to-face with two enemy fighters at close range, killing both of them with his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon. As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun. His audacious and fearless actions thwarted the enemy attack on his platoon. By his bold and decisive leadership, undaunted courage under fire, and total dedication to duty, Corporal Wooldridge reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.


Home of record: Port Angeles, Wash.

Posted in Men of Valor

Ademola D. Fabayo Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to

FIRST LIEUTENANT

ADEMOLA D. FABAYO

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to First Lieutenant Ademola D. Fabayo, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy as a member of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. First Lieutenant Fabayo and other members of his team led two platoons of Afghan National Security Forces into Ganjgal Village for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders when the dismounted patrol was ambushed by roughly 50 enemy fighters in fortified positions. With four fellow team members cut off, he pushed forward on foot into the kill zone in an attempt to regain contact, effectively engaging the enemy at close range with his M-4 rifle. When a U.S. Army Advisor was severely wounded, he moved from a covered position under heavy fire to assist in his recovery, helping carry him across several hundred meters of fire-swept ground. He drove back into the kill zone with another U.S. Army Advisor in an unarmored truck, despite enemy rounds impacting the vehicle, in an attempt to reach the separated team members. After treating and evacuating several wounded Afghan Forces, he took the gunner’s position on a gun-truck with three other U.S. personnel as they again drove into the kill zone to recover the bodies of the four fallen team members, providing effective suppressive fires with the vehicle mounted machine guns. By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and complete dedication to duty, First Lieutenant Fabayo reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Born: Nigeria… Home of record: New York, N.Y.

Posted in Men of Valor

Donald J. Hogan Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the NAVY CROSS (posthumously) to

LANCE CORPORAL

DONALD J. HOGAN

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lance Corporal Donald J. Hogan, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action in action against the enemy while serving as Rifleman, Second Platoon, Company A, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, on 26 August. 2009, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. While on a dismounted patrol in Helmand province, Hogan’s squad came under attack from an enemy fighter attempting to command detonate a directional fragmentation Improvised Explosive Device. Hogan observed a kite string leading onto the road from an adjacent corn field being pulled taut in an attempt to activate the Improvised Explosive Device. Familiar with this common enemy tactic, Hogan immediately recognized that the attack was imminent and that he had only moments to react. Without hesitation, Hogan hurled his body into the nearest Marine in an effort to keep him from the effects of the imminent explosion. Hogan then turned in the direction of Improvised Explosive Device and placed himself in the road so that he could effectively yell verbal warnings to the rest of his squad-mates. This desperate effort to warn the rest of the patrol bought the remaining Marines valuable seconds to begin moving away from the Improvised Explosive Device before it detonated. Mortally wounded by the explosion, Hogan’s extreme act of selflessness saved a Marine’s life and allowed the rest of the squad to avoid the full brunt of the fragmentation from the Improvised Explosive Device. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Hogan reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Born: Nov. 25, 1988 in San Clemente, Calif.

Posted in Men of Valor

Brian M. Blonder Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to

GUNNERY SERGEANT

BRIAN M. BLONDER

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Gunnery Sergeant Brian M Blonder, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy while serving as Platoon Sergeant, Force Reconnaissance Platoon, Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment, Marine Corps Forces Central Command (Forward) on 8 August 2008 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Gunnery Sergeant Blonder was leading a dismounted patrol through the city of Shewan when his platoon came under intense rocket propelled grenade, mortar and machinegun fire that destroyed a vehicle and trapped several Marines in the kill zone 150 meters away from the enemy. Gunnery Sergeant Blonder exposed himself time and again to heavy fire as he coordinated the suppression of the enemy so that the Marines could be recovered. Later in the battle, Gunnery Sergeant Blonder personally led a flanking attack on the enemy trench system through countless volleys of machinegun and rocket propelled grenade fire. He continued to press the attack as the platoon penetrated further into the trenches in order to defeat the enemy. Gunnery Sergeant Blonder’s tactical ability, superior marksmanship and aggressive fighting spirit inspired the platoon to continually advance on the enemy despite being highly outnumbered. He was a driving force during the eight hour battle and pushed the platoon to gain and maintain the momentum against the enemy until they were destroyed. Gunnery Sergeant Blonder’s valorous actions helped reduce a major enemy stronghold as his platoon killed over fifty enemy fighters, destroying several Taliban cells and opening the highway in Shewan to coalition convoys. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Blonder reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.



Posted in Men of Valor

Brady A. Gustafson Navy Cross citation

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the NAVY CROSS to

LANCE CORPORAL

BRADY A. GUSTAFSON

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lance Corporal Brady A. Gustafson, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Turret Gunner, Lead Vehicle, 3d Squad, 2d Platoon, Company G, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, Marine Corps Forces, Central Command (Forward), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 July 2008. In the village of Shewan, Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Gustafson’s squad was ambushed from multiple positions by enemy insurgents with rocket-propelled grenades and medium machine gun fire. The attack was initiated by a rocket-propelled grenade that pierced the hull of his Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle and struck him, resulting in severe traumatic injury to his right leg. Despite bleeding profusely, Lance Corporal Gustafson quickly identified enemy positions and engaged them with accurate fire from his M-240B machine gun while a tourniquet was applied to his leg. When the vehicle to their rear was disabled by further rocket-propelled grenade fire, he directed his driver to push the vehicle out of the enemy’s kill zone, and shortly thereafter the vehicle was engulfed in flames. Although medium machine gun fire continued to impact around him, Lance Corporal Gustafson remained steadfast, returning concentrated fire on the enemy. His effective suppression allowed the Marines behind him to safely dismount and exit their burning vehicle. Lance Corporal Gustafson braved the effects of shock and reloaded his weapon twice, firing more than 400 rounds, before he allowed himself to be pulled from the turret and receive medical treatment. By his bold actions, daring initiative, and total devotion to duty, Lance Corporal Gustafson reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.