MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Master Gunnery Sgt. Orlando Zuniga was awarded the Bronze Star Medal here, May 5. Zuniga, 42, from San Antonio, received the medal for actions while deployed with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), from March 18,
2010, to Oct. 1, 2010.
Although he received the reward, he credited the Marines who were under his charge at the time for making it possible.
“I was happy to receive it, but to me it was not that big of a deal,” said Zuniga. “It was something I got for the work the Marines under me did. The Marines that worked for me are the ones who got this award, not me. I was just the one receiving all the praise at the end.”
According to the citation, while Zuniga was serving as the operations chief for 3/7, he tracked and distributed accurate and timely reports for 274 improvised explosive device strikes and finds, 27 enemy cache finds, 201 small-arms fire
engagements and 47 indirect fire attacks.
“What we did was receive and process information, then send it back out to keep the troops informed,” said Zuniga. “We made sure they had all the support that they needed while they are out there in the fight.”
Zuniga joined the Marine Corps in April 1987 and spent most of his career as an infantryman. He spoke about how great the logistics Marines he worked with performed and how he took support Marines for granted earlier in his career. He began to appreciate the logistics side more when he worked as the assistant operations chief with 1st
Battalion, 23rd Marines in Houston.
He said he realized the logistics Marines worked just as hard as the grunts.
“The Marines I worked with inside the [Combat Operations Center] worked just as hard, just as long to try to keep the support for the Marines out there going,” he said. “I think that’s something that people miss; I know I always missed it as a infantryman. I always took it for granted that the logistics and support people are just there.”
He also added that he was happy to be surrounded by such a great group of Marines.
“I’ve worked with some great infantry Marines over at 3/7, but the one thing I wanted to say is the only reason I got this award is because the [Marines] that worked for me in the COC were so good at their job,” said Zuniga. “I couldn’t
have done it without the communications, administration, logistics, data and intel guys. They were the ones that made my command center work so good.”