MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Three Marines with Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, received Bronze Star Medals with Combat Distinguishing Devices during a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 28, 2011.
Corporal John D. Carney, a fire team leader, Capt. Brandon J. Gorman, Echo Company commander, and Sgt. Maj. William E. Heyob, battalion sergeant major, all assigned to the BLT, received awards from Lt. Gen. John M. Paxton, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, for their heroic actions while deployed to Afghanistan.
Carney received his award for several actions, specifically for valor when his squad faced a Taliban ambush on Dec. 27, 2009.
Pinned down in an open area by multiple Taliban machinegun positions, Carney lethally employed his M-203 grenade launcher, then led his fire team to engage the enemy.
According to his award citation, “He continued leading his fire team through 200 meters of open terrain to close with the enemy fighters, accounting for two enemy killed and one enemy wounded.”
After receiving his award, Carney modestly said he didn’t “deserve the Bronze Star,” but his leadership disagreed, saying his actions while deployed certainly merited the prestigious medal.
Gorman, also personally “humbled” by his award, attributed his success to the courageous Marines of the battalion. He said the award was really for them to share. Gorman received his award for several achievements, specifically for actions on Nov. 24, 2009, while on patrol with his rapid action force near Hajji Zahir Village, Afghanistan.
During the patrol, Gorman and his Marines received accurate and effective enemy machinegun fire.
According to his award citation, “While in the center of the kill-zone, he attempted to identify enemy positions through his optics when his weapon and helmet were struck by machinegun fire, sending fragmentation into his face.”
Despite the incoming rounds, Gorman assessed the situation, ordered a sniper team leader to employ 40mm high explosive grenades, oriented the squad on the enemy and ultimately disabled the enemy positions.
Finally, Gorman “[disabled] the enemy with indirect fires and close air support,” enabling the Marines to push forward clearing the enemy positions. His actions resulted in multiple enemy casualties.
Heyob was commended for his duties as battalion sergeant major, and specifically awarded for his actions on Jan. 12, 2010, in Garmsir District, Afghanistan.
On this day, a violent riot erupted in the district, threatening the district police station and Governor’s Compound. Heyob led a reinforcing effort, and inserted two vehicles into a crowd of more than 300 rioters.
“Immediately, his vehicle came under heavy and effective small-arms fire and a volley of hundreds of projectiles thrown by rioters,” according to Heyob’s award citation.
Despite the barrage of projectiles, Heyob decided to deescalate the situation by backing out of the area and holding his Marines’ fire. The situation “could have resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties.”
Heyob, like Carney and Gorman, attributed his battalion’s achievements to the loyal dedication of the Marines and sailors in the “Warlord” family.
The Marines and sailors of the 22nd MEU are currently in the midst of a pre-deployment training program, which is a series of progressively complex exercise designed to train and test the MEU’s ability to operate as a cohesive and effective Marine Air Ground Task Force.
The 22nd MEU is a multi-mission capable force comprised of Aviation Combat Element, Marine Tilt Rotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; Ground Combat Element, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; and the Command Element.
Marine Expeditionary Units are the Marine Corps’ smallest, permanent Marine Air-Ground Task Force, commanded by a colonel and comprised of approximately 2,200 service members ready to provide immediate response capabilities in a hostile or crisis environment. While deployed, each MEU also incorporates two KC-130 aircraft to support the unit’s operations abroad.