Sgt. Matthew T. Woodall of Paducah, Ky., has earned the Silver Star for 'conspicuous gallantry.' As a corporal with 3rd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, he led his squad in a close-quarters firefight in the Sangin district of Helmand province July 10-11, 2011. (Marine Corps)
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A Camp Pendleton, Calif., sergeant who laid down cover fire during the rescue of a wounded comrade, led his squad on counterattacks and ambushed a platoon-size enemy force in Afghanistan received the Silver Star on Aug. 2, according to a Marine news release.
Sgt. Matthew T. Woodall of Paducah, Ky., “displayed conspicuous gallantry while conducting combat operations” in the Sangin district of Helmand province during a close-quarters firefight on July 10-11, 2011, according to the release.
Woodall — then a corporal — was squad leader with 3rd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines.
While rushing enemy forces in Kotozay village, a Marine in front of him was wounded. Exposed to enemy fire, Woodall laid down cover fire so a corpsman could treat the Marine. He then led an assault on enemy fortified positions, organizing his men to rescue a pinned-down squad by assaulting through multiple compounds. He and his squad crawled through a cornfield for more than an hour to ambush massing enemy forces. After seven hours of combat, Woodall had killed four and wounded many more insurgents during successful efforts to clear the village.
Woodall received the award from the commanding general of 1st Marine Division, Maj. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, during a ceremony aboard Pendleton.