Medals of Honor
Dunham Jason L Corporal Operation Iraqi Freedom
Corporal, United States Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander's convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Meyer Dakota L Corporal Operation Enduring Freedom
Rank and Organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps.
Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above. Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative. With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner's position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team. Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area. During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded. When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rally point to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush. Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members. Corporal Meyer's daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy's attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on. His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
CAMP PENDLETON - As Sgt. Marco A. Martinez read his Navy Cross citation, the words took him back to April 12, 2003, and the battle of Tarmiya. After his squad leader was wounded, Martinez, then a corporal, rallied the troops. At one point, his men came under fire from a building. “Enduring intense enemy fire and without regard for his own personal safety, Cpl. Martinez launched a captured enemy rocket-propelled grenade into the building . . . allowing a wounded Marine to be evacuated,” read the citation accompanying the medal. Later in the battle, “he single-handedly assaulted the building and killed four enemy soldiers with a grenade and his rifle,” according to the citation. Yesterday, Navy Secretary Gordon England presented the Navy Cross to the 22-year-old Martinez and the Silver Star to two other 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment Marines - Staff Sgt. Adam R. Sikes, 27, of Aliso Viejo, and Cpl. Timothy C. Tardif, 22, of Huntington Beach - before a gathering of hundreds of Marines at Camp Pendleton. A spokeswoman at the base said the combat medals might be the highest awards presented so far to members of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force who fought their way into Baghdad last year. Gordon also presented the wife of Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey E. Bohr Jr. of Fallbrook with a posthumous Silver Star. It was little more than a year ago that 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines was ambushed in a hail of small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire at Tarmiya. When asked after the ceremony if he was afraid, Martinez said quietly, “There‘s really no time for fear.” Martinez, of Las Cruces, N.M., who in boots might be 5 feet 7 inches tall and weigh 140 pounds, added, “Through the whole firefight, I really wasn‘t scared. It was more I wanted to kill them before they kill me. “Reading the citation, I remember what I did and what I saw that day,” Martinez said. “During combat, the first 10 to 20 seconds moved in slow motion, but when you realize that if you don‘t move fast enough you are going to get shot, it goes back to real time. It‘s hard to explain.” The Navy Cross is the Navy‘s second-highest decoration for bravery after the Medal of Honor. In the same battle, Sikes and Tardif earned their Silver Stars, the third-highest decoration for heroism during combat. “Staff Sgt. Sikes charged alone across 70 meters of fire-swept ground to close on the first enemy strong point, which he cleared with a grenade and rifle fire,” according to his citation. He then moved to the roof of a three-story building that was exposed to enemy fire. There he adjusted mortar fire and “decimated an enemy position,” the citation read. Like Martinez and Sikes, Tardif belonged to 1st Platoon, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. “Cpl. Tardif charged across a road under intense small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire inspiring his Marines to follow his example,” according to his citation. “Engaged in intense close quarters battle, he received significant shrapnel wounds.” Tardif later collapsed from his injuries. He said a blood transfusion on a medical evacuation helicopter saved his life. No Marines were killed at Tarmiya, though a handful were wounded. Gordon presented Lori Bohr with her husband‘s Silver Star. Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey E. Bohr Jr. was killed April 10 during a mission to take a presidential palace in Baghdad. “When the lead vehicles of the convoy reached a dead-end and were subjected to enemy fire, Gunnery Sgt. Bohr continued to boldly engage the enemy while calmly maneuvering his Marines to safety,” the citation read. “My husband really believed in what he was doing over there,” Lori Bohr said.
LAS CRUCES -- A U.S. Marine from Las Cruces was awarded the Navy Cross, the nation‘s second highest award for combat bravery, on Monday. Sgt. Marco A. Martinez, 22, was decorated during ceremonies at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Martinez was one of three Marines who were cited for extreme valor and courage during combat actions in Iraq last year. Martinez was presented with his award by Secretary of the Navy Gordon England. Martinez could not be reached for comment. “This is a significant award that Sergeant Martinez should be proud of, and that the people of the city of Las Cruces can also take some pride in,” said Master Sgt. Bob Beyer, spokesman for the I Marine Expeditionary Force. Martinez was serving as a fire team leader in his platoon during the battle of Tarmiya on April 12, 2003. “Responding to a call to reinforce his platoon that was ambushed, Corporal Martinez ... took control and led the assault through a tree line where the ambush originated. As his squad advanced, it received sustained small arms fire.” Martinez was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Ist Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif., during combat operation in Iraq.