A Hallsville man has been awarded a Commendation Medal for heroic achievement in Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Joel T. Murray fought off an insurgent after a suicide bombing attack and saved the lives of two fellow soldiers.
We spoke with Lance Corporal Murray via Skype from Camp Lejuene, South Carolina.
On May 13, 2013, a suicide bomber attacked the military base Shir Ghazi in the Helmand Province. Lance Corporal Joel T. Murray, who runs heavy equipment, neutralized some insurgents inside the compound and kept going in the direction of the attack. He and another marine came across wounded soldiers.
"The first I came upon was two Georgian soldiers. One had a pretty bad leg wound. I put a tourniquet on him, and then we started to work on the next guy who needed a combat dressing. He had a pretty bad head injury. And from there we moved them, and it was just constant going back and moving more casualties," Murray said.
But Murray wasn't alone for long.
"Once everybody got their head in the game the whole base was getting involved and helping each other. It wasn't really a one- or two-person job," Murray stated.
But since the lance corporal was the first to rush the enemy, his superiors noticed and awarded him with the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with V Device. The V is for valor. The commendation is only given for "meritorious service or achievement in a combat or noncombat situation based on sustained performance of a superlative nature," according to the military. The medal isn't given easily.
"I've heard it's very uncommon for a lance corporal to receive this award, sir," he told me.
I'm thinking maybe I should be calling him "sir," even though he's only twenty years old.
Murray graduated from Hallsville High School in 2011, and his parents now live in the Tyler area.
He does plan on coming back to East Texas after his tour of duty.
If you would like to read the military release just click here.
Monday, September 1 2014 2:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:00:48 GMT
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