Special Ops Marines awarded for valor
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – It’s the nation’s second highest award for Valor in Combat. On Thursday, the Navy Cross was awarded to a Marine involved in special operations in Afghanistan.
He and several of his fellow Marines were honored at Camp Pendleton for their heroism in a firefight that lasted two days.
He’s 32-years-old, a married father of two children and a native of the Los Angeles area.
Gunnery Sergeant Brian Jacklin said that as a boy, he wanted to be a Marine.
“I wanted more out of life,” Jacklin said.
That desire put him in Afghanistan in April of 2012, the second in command of a small special operations unit.
“Nothing is more awe inspiring than to look at fellow marines surrounded by death. The casual smile so be it, if this is the way we die lets do it right and honor our legacy,” Jacklin said.
The sudden attack on the unit had the Marines out-manned at least 10 to 1, the team leader, a captain and another Marine were critically wounded. A medical evacuation was imperative.
At great peril to himself, Jacklin orchestrated a counterattack at the same time coordinating the evacuation, but enemy fire kept the choppers from the landing zone.
Jacklin remained in the open, throwing grenades.
Even after the unit was relieved by reinforcements, he stayed through the fierce fighting the next day proving critical intelligence.
Five other members of the unit were honored with bronze stars for their courage and gallantry, despite the overwhelming odds.
“You can take a small amount of men and put them in the most austere of environments and still gain extraordinary results,” Jacklin said.
Sergeant Jacklin is currently a Special Operations instructor at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina.
His wife and two children were on hand for the ceremony.
One battle, all the heroism, there are still two more awards to be given out. A silver star and a bronze star.