GySgt. Tim Tardif
2nd Battalion, 5th Marines
Iraq, April 12, 2003
Award: Silver Star

During the Battle of At Tarmiyah in Iraq, then-Cpl. Tardif and his squad reinforced a U.S. Marine Corps platoon pinned down in a violent enemy crossfire ambush. Immediately assessing the situation, Tardif directed Marines to return fire into enemy positions in a town. He identified the location of the enemy and determined the precise point to assault them. Tardif charged across a road under intense small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire, inspiring his Marines to follow his example. Engaged in an intense close-quarters battle, he received significant shrapnel wounds from an enemy grenade. Refusing to be evacuated and disregarding his wounds, Tardif gallantly led his squad in an assault on an enemy-held compound. After securing the compound, Tardif received an order to egress and he led his reinforced squad in a fighting withdrawal. After moving 150 meters, Tardif collapsed from his wounds, unable to continue fighting. Tardif recovered from his wounds and was promoted up through the ranks to Gunnery Sgt. Give ’em one! (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Matthew Bragg)

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A bird in the library OR meeting the battalion commander

In 1979 I was an E-1 waiting to be picked up for electronic school at 29 Palms. Each morning after roll call we’d be released to the barracks to be picked up by working parties. I figured out that nobody cared about whether we made it back to the barracks or not, and the small base library was just a few streets down. SO I’d make my way down there and plunk myself in the comfortable seats and read. Books, magazines, and I really enjoyed the LA Times. It was a nice few weeks. I remember I got through Steven King’s “The Stand” which was a bible sized book. I’d read all morning, have chow, then back to the library until later on in the day when it was safe to return without being noticed and asked questions. In the library it was easy to nod off whether one was escaping the desert heat, or the winter cold which was biting there. So I did. With my reading material in my lap. When I felt a tapping on my shoulder I looked up and saw a silver eagle (or two) on the collars of a very big full colonel. “What are you doing?” he asked and all I could stammer was the truth. “I nodded off while reading sir.” “What unit are you with?” B Company Sir.” He then made his way to the marine (who had learned my routine somehow) and asked him the same questions. B Company again. And then he left without a word.

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MARINE OF THE WEEK // He refused to leave a fallen Marine behind…

Sgt. Eubaldo Lovato
1st Battalion, 8th marines
November 11, 2004
Operation Phantom Fury, Fallujah, Iraq
Award: Silver Star (upgraded from Bronze Star)

During the second battle for Fallujah, then-Corporal Lovato and his squad was ordered to clear a house. What the Marines did not know is that insurgents had barricaded themselves behind sandbags in one room.
When a fire team entered the room, Cpl. Travis Desiato was killed ­immediately by a barrage of AK-47 fire and fell to the floor. The insurgents put up such a volume of fire that the other Marines could not retrieve their comrade. The Marines fired ­blindly, unable to see the enemy fighters behind their barricade.
Lovato and the others in his squad could see Desiato on the ground. They tried calling out to him but he didn’t answer. A group of five Marines including Lovato made several attempts to reach Desiato ’s body. They threw C4 plastic explosives into the room, but it ­generated so much smoke that the Marines could not see anything. Then one Marine attached part of a shattered mirror to a stick, which allowed him to see where the insurgents were.
Pinned by enemy fire, Lovato manuvered to retrieve more grenades, with bullets passing through his pants pockets and sling.
Eventually Lovato was able to crawl to reach his Marines and asked a tank to blast the back of the building. The Marines stormed the building and killed the enemy inside. Lovato retrieved Desiato’s body.

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Gunny Claus

U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters has issued orders  to Master Gunnery Sergeant S. Claus, recalling him to active duty, with a RNLTD of 24 Dec 2021. MGySgt. Claus, known to use the alias “Saint Nicholas”, “Kris Kringle”, “Father Christmas”, or simply “Santa”, is a reserve Marine with 1,743 years of service. He specializes as a tactical operator of the next generation DEC-25B, Cargo Airborne Delivery (CAnDY) Carrier. The DEC-25B is contractor-modified and fully equipped with Cargo Antlered Navigation Equipment Sensors (CANES). It has also been retrofitted with eight high-powered, air-cooled Rangifer Tarandus carrot-fed generators. As a single seat cargo delivery platform, it is capable of vertical delivery of high-value items, take-off and landing without pilot controlled lighting (PCL). These unique specifications, coupled with the additional Public Affairs skill sets possessed by Master Gunny Claus, classify the entire deployable package as a low-density, high-demand (LD/HD) asset. Also recalled, were MSgts Dasher and Dancer, GySgts Prancer and Vixen, SSgts Comet and Cupid, Cpl. Donner, and PFC Blitzen (recently selected for LCpl.) PFC Rudolph is also authorized to report for duty; however, he must first successfully complete his Phase II SERE Training, which he has failed three times due to a medical condition related to his nose. Although the above Marines are on orders for only 24 hours, it is anticipated that they will submit a travel claim for 24,901 miles at .56/mile, using a POV. Suitable Government transportation is not available. As a special operations unit, each member is granted a high level of uniform flexibility, as well as relaxed grooming standards. Per diem has been modified to include large quantities of hot cocoa and cookies. Government travel card use has been authorized. Submit your own Story>>

Frozen Chosen/ Korean War

I was one of the last Marines to leave Vietnam in the Fall of Saigon in 1975. My father inspired me to become a Marine because of his service in the Corps. He was a in the Marine Reserves in Tucson Arizona in the early 1950’s when they were activated for the Korean War. His unit was one of the Frozen Chosen. What impressed me the most about them being activated to a war Zone was that he never complained once and did his job as a Marine. What is more impressive is that they never had a chance to go through Boot Camp before they sent him to The Korean War. He always sang the Marine Corps Hymn when I was growing up and always made sure everyone new that “ Once A Marine always “ was who he was. Semper Fi, Dad…!!!!

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MARINE OF THE WEEK // “I heard screams that the enemy was advancing toward us”

Lance Cpl. Jeffery Cole III
Company “E”, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, RCT-1, 1st Marine Division.
August 17, 2010
Award: Silver Star

While conducting a partnered patrol in the F4 sector of Marjah, then-Lance Corporal Cole’s squad came under heavy and accurate machinegun and small arms fire from two enemy positions. The initial burst wounded four members of the squad. When another Marine was wounded and could no longer operate the M240B medium machine gun, without orders or regard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Cole took control of the machine gun and began suppressing the enemy positions with effective fire. Though shot in the left arm and despite heavy arterial bleeding, he continued engaging the enemy as a fellow Marine applied a tourniquet and pressure bandage to his arm. Despite his painful wound, he continued to provide suppressive fire until all of his wounded squad mates were moved to a covered position. He was then struck by additional enemy fire in his front small arms protective insert plate but still continued to return accurate fire with his M240B. Only after confirming that all wounded personnel were safely behind cover did he cease his fires and join the remainder of the squad. His actions directly enabled his fellow squad members to maneuver the wounded personnel to safety. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Lance Corporal Cole reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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MCRD Parris Island August 1975. About a week into boot camp my left foot swelled up one night after taking my boots off. DI sent me off to sick bay the following day and I was told that I had cellulitis. Wound up in the hospital for about a week or so till the swelling went down. Transferred out to another platoon. No issues with the transfer other than feeling out of place with the new group. A few weeks went by and my foot started acting up again, and again I back to the hospital for recovery. Spent a few weeks there healing and was again transferred to another platoon. Same as the previous one, no issues with the transfer other than feeling out of place. The pain in my foot returned. It was a really sharp pain and hurt worse every time I took a step. I did close order drill, PT and everything else in boot camp but it hurt like a s.o.b. Pain got so bad that I had to go back to sick bay. Got a young doctor to look over the x-rays of my foot. He came over to me and showed me the x-ray and said “see those lines across the bones of your foot? those are cracks in the bones!” By this time I was in 3rd phase and the doctor put me on light duty – no PT or drill. I continued on with training but no PT or drill. With about a week left before graduation my Senior DI threatened to send me back to day 1 because I could not do the final PT because of my light duty status. I was able to get permission to return to sick bay and convinced the doctor to take me off of light duty status so that I could complete final inspection and the PT test. Doc didn’t want to, but I told him I’ve been on this dam island for almost 4 months and I suffered through a lot of training with a bum foot, I think I can handled one week. He took me off and I was back to regular status. Came time for the final PT and I ran the 3 miles in 21 flat. DI started screaming at that if I hadn’t wimped out with a bum foot I probably would have run faster.

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