Marine awarded Navy Cross for 2011 firefight in Afghanistan
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus awards Marine Sgt. Joshua L. Moore with the Navy Cross during a ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Nov. 1, 2013.
The (Jacksonville, N.C.) Daily News
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — Cool, calm and collective thinking under enemy fire earned a Camp Lejeune Marine the nation’s second highest valorous award — the Navy Cross.
During a Friday afternoon ceremony Sgt. Joshua L. Moore of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, was awarded the Navy Cross by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus for his actions in Marjah, Afghanistan on March 14, 2011.
The award citation states that “while under intense enemy fire that had resulted in two Marine casualties, then Lance. Cpl. Moore picked up two enemy grenades which were about to explode and lobbed them out of the compound saving the lives of many in his sniper team. Moore then neutralized the enemy, aided the wounded and secured a helicopter landing zone to extract the wounded Marines.”
Moore’s decision was made in an instant.
“When all of this was happening, at first I was thinking that this was really going to hurt,” Moore said. “I really didn’t think we were going to make it out of there. After the grenades turned out to not be a threat anymore, it was just a firefight and I was confident in the guys that I was with.”
He said Friday was the first time he had seen his entire team since they were in Afghanistan together.
“I’m more proud of my team than myself,” Moore said. “It takes a very cohesive unit to survive something like we did. If any one member of our team hadn’t done what they’d done when they did it, we probably all would not have come home that day. It takes confidence in the guy to your right and your left and knowing that you’re willing to accept risk on their behalf and they’ll accept risk on your behalf. That’s what gets you through situations like that.”
Holding a live fragmentation grenade and waiting for it to explode is something Moore never will forget — something he called “very unique.” Those moments, he said, consumed the whole mental process and all he could do was hope he had enough time.
“I’m very blessed that I survived that situation and the team only suffered the injuries it did,” Moore said. “It wasn’t so much a luck thing. I just believe God had our backs that day and was watching out for us.”
The ceremony was especially memorable for Moore as four of his fellow Marines who fought beside him that day were also recognized Friday for their heroic actions. Sgt. Justin Tygart was awarded the Bronze Star for valor. Sergeants Matthew Adams and Ritchie Elias were awarded Navy Commendation Medals for valorous acts.
Cpl. Gaven Eier, 22, of Charleston, S.C., a recent Purple Heart recipient for wounds sustained during his second tour to Afghanistan, said he just was doing his job and that he didn’t deserve the Navy Commendation Medal he received Friday.
“I did my job and don’t think I deserve an award,” Eier said. “Everybody did their job.”