News: Combat Center Marine to receive Navy Cross
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - A former Combat Center Marine will be presented with the nation's second highest award Friday afternoon, May 18, in recognition of his courageous actions in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Clifford Wooldridge will receive the Navy Cross from the Undersecretary of the Navy, Robert O. Work, during a ceremony in front of the members of his former Twentynine Palms-based unit, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.
Wooldridge, a Port Angeles, Wash., native, was serving as a vehicle commander on a mounted patrol, June 18, 2010, in the Musa Qala district of Afghanistan's Helmand province. The patrol came under heavy enemy fire and then-Cpl. Wooldridge ordered his Marines out of their vehicles and they began to maneuver towards the enemy fighting positions. He led a four-man fire team to outflank the 15 Taliban fighters as they prepared to attack the rest of the Marine patrol.
Opening fire, Wooldridge and his Marines killed or wounded eight of the fighters, scattering the rest.
As his fire team was withdrawing, Wooldridge heard voices from behind an adjacent wall of a nearby compound. When he went to investigate the voices, Wooldridge found himself face to face with two Taliban fighters, whom he then killed with his weapon. Out of ammunition, Wooldridge crouched to reload his weapon when he saw the barrel of a Taliban machine gun appear from around the corner of the wall. Wooldridge grabbed the barrel and pulled the surprised fighter around the corner with it. The two began fighting hand-to-hand.
Realizing his predicament against the 220-pound former football player, the Taliban fighter attempted to pull the pin on a grenade in order to kill them both. Wooldridge used the fighter's own machine gun to kill him with several blows to the head.
For his bold actions that day and his courage under fire which disrupted the enemy attack on his platoon, Sgt. Wooldridge will be decorated at 1 p.m. this Friday at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field aboard the Combat Center.
Date Posted:05.15.2012 15:35
Location:TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA, US
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