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Headquarters Marine Corps

Marines decorated for heroic actions in Afghanistan

By Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Moore | Headquarters Marine Corps | June 13, 2013

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Corporal Jorge Salazar, a fire team leader serving with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, is presented the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for valor here, June 11, 2013. Salazar took charge of his squad after his squad leader was wounded by an improvised explosive device. He directed the fire of his squad even after his legs were severed below the knee by a subsequent IED blast.

Corporal Jorge Salazar, a fire team leader serving with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, is presented the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for valor here, June 11, 2013. Salazar took charge of his squad after his squad leader was wounded by an improvised explosive device. He directed the fire of his squad even after his legs were severed below the knee by a subsequent IED blast. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Moore)


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First Lt. Stephen C. Huff, the 81 mm mortar platoon commander serving with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, is presented the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for valor here, June 11, 2013. Huff, led more than 50 Marines and Afghan soldiers in an assault on an insurgent stronghold of more than 25 highly trained fighters. During the 60 hour fight, he exposed himself to enemy fire while maneuvering his Marines, directing their fire and evacuating the casualties from the battlefield.

First Lt. Stephen C. Huff, the 81 mm mortar platoon commander serving with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, is presented the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for valor here, June 11, 2013. Huff, led more than 50 Marines and Afghan soldiers in an assault on an insurgent stronghold of more than 25 highly trained fighters. During the 60 hour fight, he exposed himself to enemy fire while maneuvering his Marines, directing their fire and evacuating the casualties from the battlefield. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Moore)


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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Four Marines with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, were awarded medals for their actions during the unit's deployment to Afghanistan here, June 11.

First Lt. Stephen C. Huff, the 81 mm mortar platoon commander serving with the battalion and Cpl. Jorge Salazar, a fire team leader serving with the battalion, were presented the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V for valor. Sergeant Trey T. Cholewa, a section leader serving with the battalion, and Gunnery Sgt. Benjamin C. Stryffeler, a platoon sergeant with the battalion, were presented the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat V for valor.

Huff, led more than 50 Marines and Afghan soldiers in an assault on an insurgent stronghold of more than 25 highly trained fighters. During the 60 hour fight, he exposed himself to enemy fire while maneuvering his Marines, directing their fire and evacuating the casualties from the battlefield.

"To me the award stands as a representation, a small token of remembrance of my men, my platoon and what we accomplished together in pursuing the enemy," said Huff, a native of Franklin County, Va.

Salazar took charge of his squad after his squad leader was wounded by an improvised explosive device. He directed the fire of his squad even after his legs were severed below the knee by a subsequent IED blast.

"My squad leader was injured and I immediately took over the squad and directed them to fire," said Salazar, a native of Delano Calif. "On the way out, I stepped on an IED and it took out my legs immediately, but I continued to lead my Marines."

Cholewa, led 47 operations in the volatile Trek Nawa area of southern Helmand provence. He fought the enemy during 72 hours of sustained combat after inserting by helicopter into an insurgent stronghold where he exposed himself to enemy fire to maneuver his Marines and destroy key enemy positions. 

Stryffeler led his Marines on 74 mounted and dismounted combat patrols in the battalions's area of operations, neutralizing a determined enemy in several fierce small arms engagements and conducting four casualty evacuations for wounded Marines and their Afghan National Army counterparts.

His superiors cite Stryffeler's professionalism off the battlefield as the foundation for his platoon's success in 19 engagements with the enemy.

After the awards were given, Huff said it was an honor serving with the Marines who were recognized.

"Today was a humbling experience," said Huff. "We were able to come out here and remember what we accomplished out there and what we were able to accomplish together. We relived as a unit, as a family, some of the actions that took place during our deployment to Afghanistan."

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12 Comments


  • russell couch 1 years 87 days ago
    I am HONORED and thank you and all the soldiers of the U.S. armed forces for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the people of this country. may god bless all of you for the rest of your life!!!
  • Ralph 1 years 95 days ago
    Semper FI Marine God Bless you
  • Nick 1 years 96 days ago
    I wish I was a marine
  • 1stSgt currier (ret) 1 years 96 days ago
    Great job Marines!
  • Carol j. Hasson 1 years 96 days ago
    Thank you for your service to our country. That's why the say the Few and The proud! Semper Fi and God Bless.
  • Jeff Worth 1 years 96 days ago
    I thank these brave soldiers for protecting FREEDOM, you are all HEROS!
  • Richard StJohn 1 years 96 days ago
    For whatever it's worth from just a guy off the street, Thank you Marines for your fierce defense of our nation and the personal liberties all of us enjoy. This nation owes you a debt that can never be repaid. Thank you sounds so incredibly inadequate. But I say it rather than say nothing and give the impression your sacrifices are taken for granted or not appreciated.
  • Guial Hernandez 1 years 96 days ago
    You have to be a MARINE to be ready and take over when ever you have to, we risk our own lives to save others and get the job done. Semper Fi DevDog
  • casey angel 1 years 96 days ago
    Semper fi
  • Mimi Dupper 1 years 96 days ago
    Thank you seems like such a small thing to say for what these men have given for all of us. God Bless America and may God especially bless our wonderful U.S. Marines.
  • Dale T. Armstrong 1 years 96 days ago
    Bless them and thank you so much for your honored Service. Semper Fidelis!
  • Rod 1 years 96 days ago
    Oorah

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