Friday, May 20, 2011

Marine receives the Navy Cross

Gunnery Sergeant Brian M. Blonder, USMC receives the Navy Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor) for action in Shewan, Afghanistan in the summer of 2008.  At the time, he was part of a Force Reconnaissance element attached to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines.

At the time, Shewan was a Taliban stronghold along Route 517, south of Herat & close to the Iranian border.  GySgt Blonder was part of a Force Recon platoon which, along with a platoon from Golf Company, 2/7, assaulted through the entrenched & bunkered enemy position in the village, despite the fact that the Marines were outnumbered more than 8 to 1.  (A rule established since the days of Xenophon states that the preferred ratio is 3:1, but in favour of the attacking force, not defending.)  

At the end of the day-long battle, in which they were all engaged in "direct, close combat", the Marines stood in possession of the village, & it was pacified for the rest of the deployment.  The Taliban left behind more than 50 confirmed E-KIA & “many more wounded”, but the Marines had nobody killed.  Chief Joe Martin, the unit corpsman who fought alongside Gunny Blonder, said “When you inflict that number of casualties on the enemy and none of us were killed, that’s a pretty successful fight.”

Blonder said he’ll wear the Navy Cross as a representation of the Marines he fought alongside that day.

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