MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Gunnery Sgt. David E. Gustavson, a Military Operations in Urban Terrain instructor with Training and Operations, Marine Corps Base, received a Purple Heart here June 17 for injuries sustained while serving as the intelligence officer advisor with the 6th Brigade of the Iraqi Intervention Force.
Gustavson was hit by shrapnel and received injuries to his eye while manning an M2 .50 caliber machine gun in a convoy March 23. The convoy was traveling down a dangerous route near Mosul, Iraq, at 2:30 p.m. when a vehicle came out in front of the convoy and exploded.
The explosion injured the Racien, Wis., native, and four other people and incapacitated the humvee. The brigade never found out what caused the explosion, but the vehicle that detonated was completely obliterated, according to Jamison.
“His first words were not ‘Sir I’ve been hit,’” said Lt. Col. Russell E. Jamison the deputy director for Operations and Plans, MCB. “He asked me to help him find his weapon. That was the last thing I would have thought to hear from him.”
Gustavson was calm and collected during the attack and kept morale with those around him by acting in his usual good-natured self, according to Jamison.
Gustavson received his award in front of a battalion formation and was presented the award by Jamison and Col. Gail Jennings, the battalion commander for Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB,
During the ceremony, Jennings spoke of the Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran after presenting him the medal.
“We are proud of his sacrifices,” said Jennings. “We hate to get anyone wounded, but I’m proud to acknowledge his sacrifice. It’s an honor as a commander to know your Marines are ever ready and willing to make these sacrifices.”