Navy Cross awarded to my friend's step-son
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Amazing Story I would like to share today!
SOA (SUMMARY OF ACTION)
Sergeant Farias is enthusiastically recommended for the Navy Cross for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Assistant Squad Leader, Battery I, 1st Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division in Afghanistan, on 5 October 2010 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
Sergeant Farias was serving as an assistant squad leader while participating in a three day patrol operation in the Kajaki District in the Northeastern Helmand Province. This area is highly contested by enemy, and coalition forces are surrounded on three sides by Taliban fighters. Sergeant Farias' squad was on its second day of operations and had begun preparation for an early night ambush as the sun was setting.
That evening two enemy fire teams, having snuck into the area using the tree lines and ambushed the unit with fire from a 73 millimeter recoilless rifle which struck inside the compound where the squad was staging. The enemy then opened fire with a heavy volume of small arms and machine gun fire from three locations, pinning the Marines inside and preventing another squad in the area from maneuvering to assist them.
The high explosive rounds from the recoilless rifle wounded six Marines with fragmentation, four of which were critical to include the squad leader. Another five sustained concussions and fragmentation wounds. Sergeant Farias was severely wounded with shrapnel to the neck, shoulder, and back. He also suffered a severe concussion and broken clavicle bone.
Sergeant Farias did not hesitate in taking action. After picking himself up from the force of the blast, which had knocked him back against the compound wall, he immediately directed the efforts of able Marines in triaging and treating the seriously wounded. As the Taliban opened fire with machine guns he took bold steps to protect the squad, directing Marines to move the severely wounded to cover inside the compound as enemy fire began to pour into the (PB) patrol base.
After directing the treatment of the wounded Marines and despite serious wounds to his upper body, Sergeant Farias pulled himself onto the roof of the compound and directed suppressive fire from a M240B machine gun and M249, manned by Marines that he directed to join him on the roof. His fearless leadership and presence of mind, with enemy fire impacting all around him, repelled the enemy's initial assault. Under unrelenting fire from enemy small arms and machine guns, Sergeant Farias ignored his own dire situation and continued to expose himself to enemy fire in order to direct fires and engage enemy positions with his own rifle and M203 grenade launcher. After nearly 20 minutes of battle Sergeant Farias noticed four to five enemy personnel maneuvering towards the PB from their flank. He engaged these personnel with his rifle and his remaining four M203 rounds. His unyielding, aggressive leadership in the face of the enemy's persistent assault repelled the enemy's continued attack and continually frustrated their attempts to overrun the platoon's PB.
Sergeant9 Farias' fearless actions commanded the enemy's attention and caused his position to become the focus of enemy fires. This allowed the remainder of the platoon to move seven urgent casualties to an emergency helicopter landing zone approximately 600 meters to the north across IED laden terrain while Sergeant Farias continued to contend with the enemy's persistent attack. Because the enemy was focused on the significant threat posed by Sergeant Farias' position, it enabled the medical evacuation helicopter to land, load casualties and depart without incident. Despite his wounds, he maintained suppressive fire throughout the evacuation of the seven urgent casualties. After an airstrike ended the engagement, he maintained his position to provide over watch for personnel sweeping the compound for gear and equipment before retrograding back to the FOB. Only once this was complete did he leave his rooftop perch and evacuate the area. Sergeant Farias walked, without aid, nearly two kilometers to a ground evacuation site. He was later evacuated from the FOB via helicopter due to the severity of his wounds.
Sergeant Farias' swift and courageous actions saved the lives of his fellow Marines under fire from a coordinated and decisive engagement from a determined enemy. His immediate and aggressive tactical response effectively repelled the Taliban ambush from three positions, allowing wounded Marines to be safely evacuated from the kill zone, and preventing the patrol base from being overrun. His disregard for his personal safety and his own wounds in order to evacuate the wounded Marines is truly commendable. His actions were heroic and unselfish, and are highly worthy of being awarded the Navy Cross.