A Marine from Camp Pendleton who was killed in Afghanistan has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star for bravery.
The award was bestowed on the family of Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price during a ceremony Wednesday in the western Michigan farmbelt community of Holland. An estimated 300 people attended the ceremony at the Central Wesleyan Church.
Price grew up in Holland, was home-schooled and worked on the family farm before enlisting in 2003. He was killed on July 29, 2012, as he led a successful effort to rescue Afghan commandos during a firefight.
He was on his sixth combat tour. He was 27. He had been awarded a Bronze Star in 2009 for bravery during a four-hour firefight.
Among those in attendance at the ceremony were Leigh Van Dussen and several of her children, all members of Price’s home church, Messiah’s Independent Reformed in nearby Overisel.
“I thought it was important for my children to be here,” Van Dussen told the Holland Sentinel newspaper. “What is Memorial Day? They learn about it in history books, but this is what it’s about.”
Price was serving with the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion of the Special Operations Command.
When Afghan commandos were wounded and pinned down during a mission to secure an insurgent stronghold, Price moved across 800 meters of open terrain to rescue them, according to the Silver Star citation.
“After eliminating one insurgent firing from a window, Gunnery Sgt. Price scaled the compound wall and dropped a grenade down the building’s chimney to destroy the insurgents inside (who were) still firing on the commandos,” the citation says.
“He continued the attack against the determined insurgent force until he fell mortally wounded, but his actions proved decisive in breaking the insurgent defense.”