MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS–Under the cover of darkness, Marines and Afghan National Army soldiers filed from multiple helicopters and began forming a security perimeter on the outskirts of Qaleh-ye Gaz, Afghanistan. The reconnaissance element of the platoon began searching for a patrol base location, while the remaining members established communications with their company.
Soon after the landing zone was secure, the platoon was pinned down by heavy fire from machineguns and mortars in the wide open terrain. As the strength of the attack increased, Staff Sgt. Joshua Brodrick, a platoon sergeant with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, knew decisive action needed to be taken to protect his Marines, eliminate the enemy and complete the mission.
Brodrick, a native of Huntington, Ind., boldly led his platoon against untold numbers of enemy fighters during 23 attacks during a six-day period from June 22 to June 27, 2012. He received the Bronze Star Medal with combat V for valor for his actions.
The operation resulted in the death of two Marines and left Brodrick determined to value and honor the sacrifices that they had made.
“I’m happy to have received this award and represent my battalion and the Marine Corps,” Brodrick said. “I’ll wear the award with honor, but I would give it up in a heartbeat to get the Marines that we lost back. I accept the award not for myself but for the Marines that served with me and the ones that didn’t make it home.”
The morning of the air assault, the first day of the six day operation, Brodrick knew that it was vital to begin moving his Marines out of danger and to the safety of the recently established base. Still under heavy fire, Brodrick briefed the subordinate leaders and the Marines rapidly began moving to safety.
Once there, Brodrick got accountability and ordered sandbags and machineguns to be set up and the area to be fortified. By the end of the first day and after several more enemy attacks, the service-members had used almost half of their ammunition. Brodrick could plainly see that he was facing a determined and formidable enemy.
“The operation had its ups and downs,” Brodrick said. “The fighting seemed almost constant but working with Marines gives you a special feeling that you can’t find anywhere else. Knowing that the guys to my left and right were going through the same experience as me gave me comfort and confidence.”
The following day, while manning the patrol base, Brodrick received reports from a unit engaged in a fire fight with multiple enemy positions. The unit was under heavy fire and could not suppress the enemy. Brodrick immediately received and plotted the location of the insurgents and allied service members and began working on a call for a fire mission. He relayed the information to the operations centered and called for an artillery strike and two 500 pound bombs to be dropped on the enemy.
These were only highlights of Brodrick’s actions during the operation. His strong and decisive leadership, his knowledge of combined-arms tactics and the procedures for employing them helped kill the enemy fighters and enabled his Marines to maneuver to more advantageous positions.
Brodrick maintained his resolve and pushed forward knowing that he had Marines to protect, a battle to win and hundreds of years of military excellence to emulate.
“These Marines did not just appear on the battlefield doing heroic things,” said Lt. Gen. John Toolan, the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force. “They had examples to look up to.”
In close semblance to the spirit and dedication of those before him, Brodrick’s heroic actions and unyielding courage were vital to accomplishing the mission. He doesn’t wear his award for personal recognition but to honor the sacrifices made by the men that he is grateful to have served with.
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