News: Two members of 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion awarded Bronze Star
Story by Lance Cpl. Joseph Scanlan
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – A Marine and a sailor serving with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion received the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device during a ceremony here, Jan. 23.
Sergeant Thaddeus Herber, an infantryman, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Connolly, a corpsman, received the Bronze Star from Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey, the commanding general of 1st Marine Division, for their actions in Helmand province, Afghanistan in 2011.
Herber, a native of New Braunfels, Texas, and his squad of Marines were ambushed by small-arms fire. He led two Marines forward into a ditch to return fire. A fellow Marine called over the radio and said that the enemy was shifting to return fire along the ditch.
Immediately, Herber ordered the two Marines in his team to get out of the ditch and noticed a combat engineer had taken a gunshot wound to the thigh. Without hesitation, Herber applied a tourniquet to the Marine’s leg and dragged him behind a wall to safety.
“I was recognized for being in a position and doing what any of the other Marines that were in that position would have done,” Herber said. “We were all trained to do the same thing. One of our fellow Marines was shot in the leg and dropped to the ground. If the enemy is (attacking) and you need to get somebody to cover, you’re not going to just leave him there. It’s just doing your job. I just happened to be in that place at that time.”
In a separate incident, Connolly, a native of Corvallis, Mont., and his squad were on a patrol when they were also ambushed by small arms fire. During the firefight, a Marine received a gunshot wound to the leg. Connolly applied medical aid to the wounded Marine as bullets impacted the ground around him
“I wasn’t even thinking about it when it happened,” Connolly said. “I was trained and ready for that moment so when it happened, muscle memory kicked in and it was just like training.”
The Bronze Star is the fourth-highest combat decoration in the United States military. It is awarded with a combat distinguishing device for acts of valor in a combat zone.
The awards came as no surprise to Sgt. Maj. Donald Burris, the sergeant major of 1st LAR.
“This is one of the best battalions I have ever served in,” Burris said. “The camaraderie is high and the Marines here are very close knit together. Everybody here takes care of each other.”