MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Ten Marines and one sailor were awarded medals during a Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, award ceremony here, Nov. 7. Three Bronze Stars, one Purple Heart, two Meritorious Service Medals, five Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal were awarded, respectively, to the service members.
All the awards were given for the troops’ service in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. Many of the service members disregarded their own safety to save lives of others or accomplish the mission at hand.
“It’s motivating to see our young service members be recognized and have their stories told,” said Master Chief Gerard C. Chiu, command master chief, 1st MLG. “Far too often we get distracted in garrison from the things that matter, like these gentlemen today. It was very energizing as they were awarded, to say the least.”
Gunnery Sgt. Quentin K. Black, explosive ordnance disposal section leader, EOD Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, CLR-1, 1st MLG, was the first to be awarded the Bronze Star. According to his citation, on Dec. 1, 2010, Black led his team during a clearing operation in southern Marjah. Black, from Willard, Missouri, and his team manually rendered safe multiple improvised explosive devices while exposed to enemy machine gun and small-arms fire, ultimately clearing a safe path for the Marines of his patrol to close with and destroy the enemy. Throughout the deployment, Black’s outstanding leadership resulted in his section accomplishing 545 combat missions and rendering safe 141 IEDs. This prevented the loss of countless lives in both coalition forces and the civilian populace.
The second Marine to be awarded the Bronze Star was Staff Sgt. Kelvin L. McDonald, EOD team leader, 4th Platoon, EOD Company, 7th ESB, CLR-1, 1st MLG. According to his citation, while in Afghanistan, McDonald was embedded with a Quick Reaction Force in pursuit of an individual that was seen emplacing IED components, Jan. 12, 2011. During the pursuit, the QRF encountered a high concentration of IEDs along their route. Quickly and without regard for his own safety, McDonald rendered safe nine IEDs within five hours. His actions allowed the safe movement of the QRF and saved the lives of Marines and Afghan soldiers. McDonald was also awarded a Purple Heart for an injury suffered on a previous deployment.
McDonald, from Visalia, Calif., said he was just doing his job; any other Marine in his position would have done the same. He said he was glad the service members were being recognized for their heroic actions in Afghanistan.
The one sailor awarded was Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard M. Don, corpsman, EOD Company, 7th ESB, CLR-1, 1st MLG. Don, from San Diego, Calif., was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic actions that took place Feb. 3, 2011. According to his citation, Don responded to a suspected location of an IED. Upon arrival, Don and an EOD team member began searching the area for additional hazards when the team member stepped on and detonated another IED. The explosion blew Don to the ground and inflicted numerous secondary fragmentation injuries along the entire right side of his body. Immediately, Don began to render aid to the fallen Marine. Even as Don began losing feeling in his right arm, he continued to aid the Marine until another corpsman physically removed him from the casualty. During the evacuation process, Don continued to aid the team member, ultimately saving the life of the Marine.
“It’s a good day to be a white hat in a sea of green,” said Chiu in reference to Don being the only sailor in the group of Marines. “Corpsmen bring an extra level of confidence and care to the Marines. EOD Marines are faced with much more danger and need to be confident in themselves and their fellow Marines and sailors. The corpsmen will train these Marines in combat life-saving skills so they will have that confidence when it really counts.”
The following Marines were awarded Meritorious Service Medals: Gunnery Sgt. Jeb P. Adle, from North Platte, Neb.; and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph M. David, from Downers Grove, Ill.
The following Marines were awarded Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals: Staff Sgt. Garrett E Cheatum, from Niceville, Fla.; Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Barnes, from Portland, Oreg.; Staff Sgt. Daniel L. McCarty, from Lompoc, Calif.; Sgt. Anthony W. Delmont, from Franklin, N.J.; and Staff Sgt. Francis L. Arnold, from Waterford, Ohio. The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal was awarded to Chief Warrant Officer 2 Shane A. Sehi, from Sigel, Ill.