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Navy M.O. can't wear rightfully earned Navy Cross...

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  • Navy M.O. can't wear rightfully earned Navy Cross...

    Mystery medical officer earned a Navy Cross he can’t display
    Medal issued for heroism during classified mission


    By Andrew Scutro
    [email protected] ytimes.com
    Somewhere out in the fleet, there’s a Navy medical officer who earned the Navy Cross during vicious, hammering combat five years ago.
    And he’s not authorized to wear the award — second only to the Medal of Honor.
    That’s because the 2003 mission, during which the officer fought like a demon and put himself in the line of fire to save several wounded American and Afghan comrades from al-Qaida and Tal­iban forces, remains classified.
    And so does his identity.
    A spokeswoman for the Navy secretary confirmed the existence of the Navy Cross recipient after Navy Times forwarded her a copy of the officer ’s citation, in which his name is redacted. So secret was the award that the Navy did not include it when queried as to the number of sailors who have earned the Navy Cross since Sept. 11, 2001. The Navy has now changed the number of recipients from six to seven, even though the seventh award was presented more than a year ago.
    “The Department of the Navy has approved the awarding of seven Navy Crosses for Navy per­sonnel,” Capt. Beci Brenton, spokeswoman for Navy Secretary Donald Winter, said Oct. 24.
    According to the citation, which is not classified, the unnamed lieu­tenant wasn’t caught in one brutal firefight, but two. The citation does not identify the country, but references Afghan personnel who were part of a “joint operational unit” on a mounted patrol with Americans.
    Unclear whether night or day, the patrol was ambushed and pounded by “extremely heavy fire from rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire.” The lieu­tenant got out of his truck to re­turn fire and pulled a wounded Afghan commander behind the engine block and away from the bullets.
    Still under fire, he extricated a wounded American, the driver, who was “trapped behind the steering wheel” of a stricken vehicle.
    While patching up that Ameri­can, the lieutenant used his body as a shield, taking several bullets that only punched through his clothing and gear. He then made his way toward two wounded Afghans in the lead vehicles.
    After tending to them, he found a squad of Afghan soldiers in “dis­array,” rallied them and sent them forward to “break the ambush.” The account of the first contact ends with the lieutenant treating and evacuating sev­eral wounded.
    Later in the day, “while sweeping an area of earlier action, a U.S.-Afghan ele­ment was ambushed by a platoon-sized enemy force” near the lieutenant. It’s not clear whether the element was the same joint operating unit ambushed earlier.
    After an American and an Afghan were “severely wounded,” the lieutenant had to run 200 meters “between opposing forces” and under “withering and con­tinuous heavy ma­chine gun and small arms fire.” The lieutenant took shrapnel while tending to the two and protecting them from fire “now directed at him.” An Apache gunship fired rockets while the lieutenant mustered the remaining Afghans, led a “fighting withdrawal” to safety, then moved out “overland back to base.” He fi­ nally treated his own wounds when he stopped moving.
    In the citation signed by Winter, the lieutenant was noted for “heroic display of decisive and tena­cious leadership, un­yielding courage in the face of constant enemy fire, and ut­most devotion to duty. ...”
    ‘Sensitive’ mission
    According to Doug Sterner, a veteran who maintains the Home of Heroes, an online database of military award recipients, said it’s not unusual for citations to remain classified. He said in fact there are “two dozen” SEALs who’ve been awarded the Sil­ver Star for combat ac­tion but remain unidentified.
    Brenton said the information in the citation is unclassified but the officer ’s identity remains undis­closed because “the mission was sensitive.” He was awarded the Navy Cross in April 2007. Ë
    sigpic

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

  • #2
    Too bad folks can't know this and thank him in person for what he did.

    So... whoever and wherever you are...you are a true hero!

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