Hero receives Silver Star for bravery

6 Aug 2004 | Pfc. Lucian Friel

The scars on his arms were reminders of the sacrifice he made to save his fellow Marines lives amiss combat in Iraq, earning him the Marine Corps' third highest award.

Gunnery Sgt. Timothy P. Haney, 39, a native of Clearfield, Pa., received the Silver Star Medal in a ceremony at the base theater August 6.

The medal, designated solely for heroism in combat, was awarded to Haney for his distinct bravery and fearlessness in action against enemy forces as platoon sergeant of the Combined Anti-Armor Platoon, Weapons Company, 2d Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Task Force Tarawa, I Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 20 to April 3, 2003. During this period his leadership, personal sacrifice and calming influence enabled his platoon to repeatedly engage and defeat enemy forces in close combat.

From March 23 to 26, while conducting missions to destroy enemy tanks and other heavy armored vehicles, Haney's platoon participated in firefights with Iraqi Military and Paramilitary forces in An Nasariyah, Iraq, during which his personal example, while under fire, set the tone for the platoon's tactical success.

During one direct fire engagement against a heavy machine gun, he dismounted his vehicle to gain awareness of the enemy's positions, exposing himself to enemy fire and providing higher headquarters with vital situational awareness.

On March 26, 2003, as the battalion's Main Command Operations Center came under attack from two directions, Haney raced through intense fire placing Marines in defensive positions and directing their fire. An explosion riddled Haney's body with 60 pieces of shrapnel as he began preparing wounded Marines for evacuation. Ignoring his wounds he continued transporting injured Marines to the Battalion Aid Station, refusing medical attention until everyone else had been treated.

"You just act sometimes. You simply remember the drills and muscle memory takes over your body," he said. "I did what every Marine in 2/8 would have done if they were in my position. They're all just as deserving of this medal as I am."

Haney's wife Jackie and son Robert, 12, were on hand to watch their Marine receive the medal, which was originally established in 1918 as the Citation Star. In 1932, the Silver Star was redesigned as a medal with a retroactive provision allowing servicemembers as far back as the Spanish-American War (1898) to receive it for gallant actions.

"I'm very proud of my dad today, he's an American hero and he's my hero," said Robert.