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Newest Silver Star recipient defied death to save fellow Marines, crush Taliban ambush

Jan. 7, 2014 - 08:34PM   |  
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A California-based Marine will receive the nation’s third-highest combat valor award Tuesday for his heroic actions in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Timothy Williams earned the Silver Star for his role in repelling an enemy ambush on July 10, 2012. During an hours-long firefight, he endeavored to evacuate his severely wounded team leader and coordinated the rescue of a quick reaction force by fighting across more than a mile and a half of fire-swept terrain, according to his award citation.

While on a joint 15-man patrol with Afghan forces, Williams and the others — then assigned to Combat Support Adviser Team, Regimental Combat Team 6 — came under “intense and accurate” fire from at least 20 Taliban fighters. “Throughout the following 10 hour engagement, Staff Sergeant Williams took direct action to counter the ambush and repeatedly displayed superior leadership while directing his team under heavy small arms fire from fixed Taliban positions,” his citation reads.

After learning that his team leader was injured, “Williams sprinted across 60 meters of open terrain, exposing himself to accurate enemy fire, in order to aid and evacuate” him. Williams would again risk his life, taking enemy fire while carrying his wounded team leader across more than 300 meters to the medical evacuation site, his citation says.

Then, haven taken charge of the patrol, Williams organized an assault. He is credited with killing five Taliban while moving 1.6 miles to rendezvous with a quick reaction force that had gotten pinned down. Once the two units linked up, he and his men established a defensive position and beat back the attackers.

“Through his sound tactical and technical proficiencies, he led his element to effectively neutralize numerous Taliban positions and an estimated 20 Taliban fighters across 3,000 meters of arduous terrain,” Williams’ citation reads.

A ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Camp Pendleton. Lt. Gen. John Toolan, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, will present Williams with his Silver Star.

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