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3rd CEB Marine earns Bronze Star

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Capt. Anthony Bariletti, ground combat element academic officer, Marine Corps Tactics and Operations Group, received a Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device during a ceremony at the MCTOG compound Aug. 31, 2012.

Bariletti earned the medal while serving as the commanding officer of Company C, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, during the company’s deployment to Afghanistan from Oct. 7, 2011, to April 25, 2012.

“I’m truly humbled and honored to receive an award that so many people sacrificed and truly worked hard for,” Bariletti said.

Bariletti trained, deployed and led his route clearance company to an unmatched 78 percent success rate in Improvised Explosive Devices detection, according to his award citation.

Bariletti credits the award to the Marines of the company for their hard work.

“My magnificent Marines went out there every day to find IEDs, not to try to avoid them, but to find them before somebody else did,” Bariletti said. “They went out there looking, and when they found devices, they handled them professionally. (When they) gained contact, they engaged them with unprecedented accuracy and lethality. It was an awe to watch. It really made my job easy.”

Part of the award citation focused on a firefight Bariletti was involved in, when he commanded a joint engineer task force on a raid into Deh Baba, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

“We were the lead element in the assault and we were kind of proving that route clearance can be used as a lead element in an assault,” Bariletti said. “That was the most effective way we could get dismounted infantry on the objective site.”

The task force in Deh Baba was engaged by the enemy with a heavy volume of small arms, machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire.

Bariletti’s citation read, “His bold actions and swift decisions defeated the enemy ambush, secured the objective and destroyed over 1,000 pounds of homemade explosives.”

“I’ve truly been blessed with 100 of the most magnificent Marines I’ve ever seen,” Bariletti said. “I’m honored and humble to wear this award. The combat distinguishing device is definitely something to be proud of. I’m truly humble because the company did exact what I asked them to do and more. That’s the real reason that I’m here today to receive the award.”

Bariletti was presented the award by Col. Matthew Jones, commanding officer, MCTOG. Bariletti’s wife, Christine and daughter, Viviana were at the ceremony to see him receive the award.

“It’s great to see colleagues and members of 1st Tank Battalion and 3rd CEB in the ceremony,” Bariletti said. “But to see my wife and kids all together as a family meant a lot. I couldn’t have done any of it without the support at home.”

Article by Lance Cpl. D. J. Wu, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms