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Marine to receive Navy Cross for heroism in Afghanistan

Apr. 18, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Gunnery Sgt. Richard A. Jibson will receive the nation’s second highest valor award on Tuesday at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., for bravery he exhibited during a five-hour firefight in Afghanistan.

On May 28, 2012, Jibson, an infantry adviser with the Georgian Liason Team, Regimental Combat Team 6, was patrolling a village, Mazr Abad Janubi, with 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 23rd Georgian Battalion, and partnered Afghan National Security Forces. A group of Marine explosive ordnance disposal technicians disarming a bomb nearby came under enemy small-arms fire.

Without hesitation, Jibson bounded towards the EOD techs, placing himself between them and the enemy until they could reach cover. As the enemy attack persisted, Jibson continued working to break the onslaught.

“Throughout the multiple engagements over the ensuing five hours, he bravely left covered positions and crossed open terrain many times under withering small-arms and machine gun fire to provide suppressive fire, inspire his comrades and direct the fire and maneuver of the entire coalition force,” his citation reads. “When a fellow Marine was shot in the head by an enemy sniper, Gunnery Sergeant Jibson fearlessly charged into a hail of enemy machine gun fire, pulled the exposed wounded Marine to cover, and then assisted a corpsman in rendering emergency measures to stabilize him.”

Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Andrew Owensby, who ran through the machine gun fire with Jibson, will receive the Bronze Star.

“After pulling the Marine to safety under enemy fire, he immediately recognized a lack of airway due to extensive trauma to the mouth,” Owensby’s citation states. “Not able to establish an airway, he performed several advanced lifesaving techniques, including a cricotracheotomy. When the Marine stopped breathing, Petty Officer Owensby began breathing directly into the airway adjunct.”

He restored the Marine’s pulse and stabilized him for 45 minutes until casualty evacuation arrived.

All the while, Jibson continued to coordinate defenses. His leadership, tactical expertise and calm under fire are credited with allowing for the successful withdrawal of the 53-man Georgian force he advised and the evacuation of casualties “with minimal loss of life.”

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will present Jibson with the award during the ceremony aboard MCAGCC Twentynine Palms.

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