Thursday, June 12, 2014

Fallen Marine from Florida Earned Navy Cross in Afghanistan

MARSOC Marine killed in Afghanistan to receive Navy Cross
Navy Times
Hope Hodge Seck
Staff Writer
Jun. 11, 2014

A MARSOC gunnery sergeant who died leading an assault on insurgents in Afghanistan in 2012 will be awarded the military’s second-highest honor next week.

The family of Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Gifford, of 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., will receive his Navy Cross June 17 at a ceremony held at MARSOC headquarters aboard Lejeune.

Gifford, 34, of Palm Bay, Fla., had been a team chief with Special Operations Task Force West deployed to Bagdhis province, Afghanistan, at the time of the assault. During a morning patrol on July 29, 2012, he saw three of the Afghan special operations commandos he was advising hit by enemy small arms fire.

Immediately, he got behind the wheel of an all terrain vehicle, roaring across 800 meters of ground unprotected to come to the aid of the wounded commandos. With the help of another Marine, he performed first aid on the Afghan soldiers and moved them to a landing zone so a helicopter could extract them for medical care. Then, he crossed back over the same open terrain to help the other Afghan commandos in the unit, who were now under enemy fire.
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