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From left, Maj. Carlos Rowe, Capt. Jared Laurin and Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel Hill received Bronze Star Medals at Camp Kinser, Okinawa.

From left, Maj. Carlos Rowe, Capt. Jared Laurin and Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel Hill received Bronze Star Medals at Camp Kinser, Okinawa. (Will Morris / S&S)

CAMP KINSER, Okinawa — Marine Capt. Jared Laurin is a man of few words. When asked about combat in Iraq, he is largely silent, casting others as heroes. But a brief review of his service says otherwise.

Laurin trained two companies of Iraqi nationals how to fight, survive and win. He engaged the enemy in combat numerous times while leading a force of Iraqis and American Marines. He was wounded when a mortar round exploded less than 15 feet away from him, but stayed on duty until ordered to recover from his injuries.

In one action, a convoy he led was ambushed by insurgents at a traffic circle. Laurin ordered the convoy to split up and guided both elements to safety, “overcoming through his calm leadership, the death of an Iraqi soldier and the subsequent panic among the remainder,” according to a citation.

For those actions and more, Laurin was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with V for valor. He was among three Marines awarded the Bronze Star on Monday at the 3rd Marine Logistics Group’s headquarters at Camp Kinser. Also awarded were Maj. Carlos Rowe, for helping recruit men into the Iraqi armed services, and Gunnery Sgt. Nathaniel Hill for training and mentoring the solders of an Iraqi rifle company, along with combat actions.

Rowe said he was proud of the medal.

“It means a lot to be recognized.” Laurin said. “I never thought I would receive an award like this.”

For a year, Laurin worked in Anbar province, based in the city of Hit. He helped train the Iraqis in infantry tactics and helped incorporate the police into security operations. In addition to the training, Laurin is credited with helping to conduct 13 census missions, conducting 11 raids, helping capture 14 detainees, setting up nine observation posts and guiding 44 combat foot patrols.

Laurin said his overriding purpose everyday was leading and training the Iraqis well enough so that they could stand on their own. One of the brightest moments for the captain was when he received word that the Iraqi brigade his companies are part of raised its flag in Hit.

“It’s a sign the brigade can stand on their own. It makes me proud as hell,” he said, adding, “Those Iraqis are our Iraqis.”

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