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Captain earns Silver Star for two actions in one day

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  • Captain earns Silver Star for two actions in one day

    November 21, 2005

    Captain earns Silver Star for two actions in one day
    His unit punched through enemy lines on separate missions

    By John Hoellwarth and Gidget Fuentes
    Times staff writers

    A three-time veteran of the war in Iraq was awarded the Silver Star for heroism in combat by the commandant of the Marine Corps during an early morning ceremony at the Marine Barracks in Washington on Oct 28.
    Capt. Joshua Glover, a 2001 Naval Academy graduate, was given the nation’s third-highest award for valor for his actions as the commander of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines’ Quick Reaction Force Platoon in Fallujah, Iraq, on April 13, 2004.

    During his second deployment to Iraq, Glover was tasked with leading his platoon on a mission through enemy lines to recover classified material from a site where an MH-53J Pave Low helicopter had crash-landed.

    The Dallas native guided his platoon to the helicopter and recovered the material, but that was only the beginning of his ordeal.

    While still in enemy territory, Glover’s platoon found itself in the cross hairs of enemy machine-gun fire during an ambush.

    The ambush started when insurgent forces engaged Glover’s Marines with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms in what his award citation calls “coordinated fire.”

    Staff Sgt. Daniel Santiago, the platoon sergeant, spotted three insurgents racing off in a pickup truck. He told Glover, and the platoon gave chase, racing down roads and through fields before the Marines realized they were being led into an ambush. In the firefight that ensued, three leathernecks were wounded, one after jumping in front of a corpsman and taking shrapnel in the arm.

    Glover led his Marines toward refuge in a nearby town, but there would be no rest.

    “It seemed like every house that was there was pretty much attacking us,” Santiago said.

    An RPG raced through the air and struck a Humvee, killing Pvt. Noah Boye, a 21-year-old mortarman, and injuring two others.

    Under intense enemy fire, Glover led his Marines out of the kill zone with guns blazing.

    “Glover skillfully maneuvered his force and assaulted through the ambush to friendly lines, inflicting numerous enemy casualties,” his citation reads.

    Later that evening, Glover was ordered to again punch through enemy lines, this time to rescue an embattled Marine platoon, recover a destroyed Amphibious Assault Vehicle and bring back the body of Cpl. Kevin T. Kolm, the 21-year-old vehicle crew chief who lay dead inside it.

    Glover found himself leading his platoon against a company-sized insurgent force intent on killing Marines. He located the isolated troops by following the smoke plume from the burning amtrac. Once he was near, Glover led his platoon through the recovery mission under a hail of enemy fire.

    During the battle, Glover “repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he engaged enemy targets at point-blank range while directing the rifle platoon’s relief and coordinating recovery operations,” according to the citation endorsed by Navy Secretary Gordon England. When it was over, Glover had led two successful missions into enemy territory in one day, but one of his Marines had been killed and six others wounded.

    “I lost a Marine that day, as did another unit in the battalion. We cannot separate [the victory from the loss], and I think we need to do our best to make them and their families proud,” he said.

    The presentation of Glover’s Silver Star marked the third time he has been decorated for valor in as many combat tours. He has also received two Purple Hearts and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Achievement Medals, both with combat “V.”