MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Before the light of dawn on a brisk Sept. 30 morning, more than 100 Marines from 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, participated in a six-mile march, each one carrying their assigned weapon and full combat load aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
“Comparing these hikes to (MCB) Camp Pendleton’s, I would say these are faster, but in Pendleton we were always going up and down hills,” said Sgt. Christopher D. Holm, a fire supportman with second platoon, 2nd ANGLICO, II MHG, II MEF.
The hike, however, was just regular training for the elite unit. Once the Marines completed the hike after nearly two hours, they dropped their packs and formed up to honor nine of their own Marines who were going to receive a myriad of combat awards.
The first Marine to receive an award was Master Sgt. Hector L. Reyes Jr., who was awarded a gold star in lieu of a second Purple Heart for injuries sustained in April while deployed to Afghanistan with the 32nd Georgian Liaison Team.
Next, was Capt. Josh P. Walker. Walker, a fire control team leader with 2nd ANGLICO, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device while working with coalition forces as a firepower control team leader.
Walker was responsible for the tactical deployment of his team while serving as joint tactical attack controller and fire support coordinator for the coalition forces. Walker controlled more than 150 sections of close-air support while supporting the 1st Royal Irish Regiment and 45 Royal Marine Commandos.
Holm, who was a forward observer with Company A, 32nd Georgian Battalion in Afghanistan and conducted more than 30 mounted and dismounted operations, was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with combat distinguishing device.
“I just did my job,” said Holm. “It was all a team effort, and my team and team leader, Capt. Erwin Pattuglan, got me to where I am today.”
Six other Marines who also received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with combat distinguishing device were Lance Cpl. William L. Bullard, Jr., Lance Cpl. Matthew I. Florez, Sgt. Ryan K. Pyle, Sgt. Adam P. Georges, Sgt. James C. Jones and Sgt. Shane E. McClellan – all of whom served alongside foreign militaries while in Afghanistan.
Once the ceremony concluded and the order to fall out was given, the Marines took time to congratulate and shake the Marines’ hands.