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Three Marines and a sailor assigned to an elite Marine unit at Camp Pendleton, Calif., will receive top valor awards for their combat heroics more than two years ago in Afghanistan.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is scheduled to present the following awards during a ceremony Monday, according to a news release issued Tuesday by Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.
• Sgt. William B. Soutra: Navy Cross.
• Maj. James T. Rose: Silver Star.
• Staff Sgt. Frankie J. Shinost: Silver Star.
• Hospitalman Corpsman 1st Class Partick B. Quill: Silver Star.
The Navy Cross is the nation's second-highest award for combat valor. The Star is the third highest.
All four men are members of 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion.
The operation for which they're being recognized unfolded over two days in Afghanistan's Helmand province, according to the news release. It began July 10, 2010, when the Marines and their Afghan commando counterparts were ambushed. They successfully fended off the attack, only to be engaged again and pinned down the next day, officials said in the news release.
Their element leader was killed by a makeshift bomb blast on the second day, according to the news release. The survivors repeatedly braved enemy fire to retrieve him and assist the Afghan troops, enabling coalition aircraft to swoop in, provide suppressive fire and ultimately evacuate the team.