News: Connecticut native awarded Purple Heart for actions in combat
Story by Lance Cpl. Phillip Clark
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – 1st Lt. Robert Palumbo, was awarded a purple heart by Brig. Gen. James W. Lukeman, the commanding general of 2nd Marine Division in a ceremony August 31.
Palumbo, the former team leader for Border Advisory Team 2, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), earned the award for his actions in combat on January 10, 2012 while leading his section in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on an un-partnered, mounted security patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
The first vehicle of four in the patrol was struck by an improvised explosive device knocking Palumbo unconscious. After awakening he reacted immediately, assessing his Marines. Upon realizing that none of his Marines were critically injured, he instructed the gunner of the vehicle to fire a green star cluster per the team’s standard operating procedures.
“The first thing that passed through my head after I came to was SOPs and making sure everyone was okay,” said the Killingworth, Conn., native. “I checked myself for injuries and then immediately assessed all Marines before giving the command to shoot the green star cluster letting everyone know we were okay.”
After the green star cluster had been shot they followed up with an IED check around the vehicle to check for any secondary IED’s.
“We followed SOPs and took care of everyone until we returned to the base to get flown to Camp Dwyer for further assessment,” said Palumbo.
At the ceremony, Lukeman mentioned how the division is still at war and to keep doing what they’re doing.
“This Purple Heart ceremony is a reminder that the division is still at war,” said Lukeman. “The first priority is still the Marines and sailors that are deployed forward, and we have to take care of them, and make sure we’re ready for anything.”