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Iraq battle yields Navy Cross, 4 Silver Stars

Jan. 7, 2009 - 10:40AM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 7, 2009 - 10:40AM  |  
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OCEANSIDE, Calif. The Marine Corps will present the Navy Cross on Thursday to a junior grenadier credited with saving the lives of 10 fellow infantrymen and decimating a force of insurgents during a deadly 2005 firefight inside an Iraqi home.

Three other members of his infantry squad with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, will receive Silver Stars during the ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., according to 1st Lt. Curtis Williamson, a 1st Marine Division spokesman. A fourth Silver Star will be presented to the family of their former platoon commander, who died in the battle against 21 heavily armed insurgents in western Anbar province.

Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter recently approved the Navy Cross for Lance Cpl. Joshua A. Mooi, a grenadier assigned to Fox Company's 2nd Platoon. The Navy Cross is the nation's second-highest award for combat valor, after the Medal of Honor.

On Nov. 16, 2005, Mooi's battalion was targeting al-Qaida operatives in New Ubaydi, along the Euphrates River. The missions were part of operation "Steel Curtain."

Mooi's platoon came under attack from insurgents firing automatic weapons and lobbing grenades from several fortified homes, officials said. Mooi fought back and helped recover four Marines hit by enemy fire.

Six times, he "willingly entered an ambush site to pursue the enemy and extricate injured Marines," his award citation states. "Often alone in his efforts, he continued to destroy the enemy and rescue wounded Marines until his rifle was destroyed by enemy fire and he was ordered to withdraw."

His "relentless and courageous actions eliminated at least four insurgents while permitting the immediate care and evacuation of more than a dozen Marines who lay critically or mortally wounded," it states.

To date. 16 Marines and one Navy corpsman have been awarded the Navy Cross for their combat actions in Iraq.

Winter also approved Silver Stars for:

2nd Lt. Donald R. McGlothlin, the platoon commander who was killed as he laid suppressive fire against insurgents in an effort to shield the evacuation of wounded Marines from the house, his citation states.

Staff Sgt. Robert W. Homer, 2nd Platoon's sergeant, who fended off enemy grenades, small-arms fire and serious shrapnel wounds to lob suppressive fire and help treat and evacuate wounded Marines before he was ordered aboard a medevac helicopter, according to the citation.

Cpl. Javier Alvarez, a squad leader who directed several magazines of suppressive fire as Marines tried to aid and evacuate the wounded and who himself was seriously wounded after he grabbed an enemy grenade before it detonated, the citation states.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Jesse P. Hickey, the platoon corpsman who saved several Marines' lives, at times running into the kill zone through enemy automatic fire to treat severely wounded members despite suffering injuries to one of his arms, according to his citation.

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