Next Marine Sergeant Major Ran Across IED-Filled Ground to Reach Fallen Comrade
By Gina Harkins
25 Apr 2019
"Sergeant Major Black distinguished himself through his exceptional leadership, operational input, and devotion to duty," according to the citation. "Both on the battlefield under fire and on the firm bases, he courageously set the example."
Sgt. Maj. Troy Black wasn't going to leave one of his Marines behind.
U.S. Marine Sgt. Maj Troy E. Black addresses Marines, Sailors and guests during the 1st MLG Relief and Appointment Ceremony aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., April 7, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Zabolotniy, Camp Pendleton)
When he deployed as sergeant major of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, in 2010, Black went out on more than 50 missions, covering 10,000 miles of terrain filled with improvised explosive devices. When one of those IEDs detonated, killing a Marine, Black ran several hundred yards through unswept territory to reach him.
His actions earned him a Bronze Star with Combat "V" Device. Now, he will become the 19th sergeant major of the Marine Corps.
"[Black's] boldness under fire continually imbued his Marines with confidence and a steady resolve," his Bronze Star citation states. "He consistently demonstrated a sincere dedication to his Marines and Sailors, and inspired them to overcome incredible challenges to accomplish their mission."
That set the example for more than 1,100 troops during that deployment from April to September 2010. The Marines, sailors and soldiers he helped lead were spread across three provinces and partnered with two Afghan battalions.
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