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Old 08-25-2012, 10:33 AM
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MARSOC Gunnery Sgt. to get Silver Star

MARSOC Gunnery Sgt. to get Silver Star

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A gunnery sergeant who led a team of special operators through more than 100 enemy attacks in Afghanistan will receive the Silver Star for his heroism on Friday, Marine officials said.

Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Lurz will be pinned with the award at a change-of-command ceremony for Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, based here at Stone Bay. It’s the third-highest award for combat valor available to Marines.

From July 2010 to April 2011, Lurz served with Marine Special Operations Company C, 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., as they trained Afghan commandos in a region with a stiff insurgency. His award citation highlights his actions during a two-month period stretching from Oct. 11, 2010, to Dec. 5, 2010.

“Under heavy volumes of machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire he remained composed, directing the fires of his men and the commandos, maximizing the effectiveness of their organic weapons and focusing the element’s firepower onto the most lethal enemy positions,” the citation says. “When the team’s original team leader was wounded and evacuated, Gunnery Sergeant Lurz seamlessly assumed command and aggressively employed the unit during the remaining five months of the deployment.”

Lurz’s leadership and bold actions led to the “neutralization of over 100 insurgents and countless improvised explosive devices,” the citation said. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

Lurz’s Silver Star adds to a long list of valor awards MARSOC operators have earned since the command was established in 2006. Including his award, MARSOC Marines have earned one Navy Cross, 13 Silver Stars and at least 115 Bronze Stars with “V” device, Marine officials said.

The gunny will receive his award as Maj. Gen. Paul Lefebvre turns the command over to Maj. Gen. Mark Clark. Lefebvre has led MARSOC since November 2009, and is expected to retire. Clark has served as the chief of staff at U.S. Special Operations Command, out of MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., since May 2011. oc-afghanistan-082312/


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