Sgt. Thaddeus Herber, with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, is joined by his wife, Lindsey, and mother, Kimberly, after being awarded the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device and the Purple Heart at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Jan. 23. (Lance Cpl. Joseph Scanlan / Marine Corps)
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A Marine and a sailor serving with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion have received the Bronze Star with a "V" device for valorous actions during separate firefights in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2011.
Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey, head of 1st Marine Division, presented the medals to Sgt. Thaddeus Herber, an infantryman, and Hospital Corpsman 3d Class Mark Connolly during a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Jan. 23.
Herber, a native of New Braunfels, Texas, and his squad of Marines were ambushed by small-arms fire, according to a Marine Corps press release. After he led two Marines forward into a ditch to return fire, a fellow Marine called over the radio and said the enemy was shifting to return fire along the ditch.
He immediately ordered the Marines to get out of the ditch. Noticing that a combat engineer had taken a gunshot wound to the thigh, Herber applied a tourniquet 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, according to the press release. "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."
Connolly, a native of Corvallis, Mont., and his squad were on a patrol when they were 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 struck the ground around him.
"I wasn't even thinking about it when it happened. I was trained and ready for that moment so when it happened, muscle memory kicked in and it was just like training," Connolly said, according to the press release."
The sergeant major of 1st LAR, Sgt. Maj. Donald Burris, expressed his pride in the members of the unit.
"This is one of the best battalions I have ever served in," he said, according to the press release. "The camaraderie is high and the Marines here are very close knit together. Everybody here takes care of each other."