Corpsman receives Bronze Star for saving Marine’s life
A Navy corpsman didn’t expect hundreds of Marines clad in green digital camouflage utilities to fill an entire field house just for him – but they did.
Navy Seaman Matthew A. Dishmon, a corpsman with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, received a Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 25, 2011, for saving the life of a Marine during a patrol in Marjah, Afghanistan, last year.
“I couldn’t believe all those people were there and I didn’t know (until now) how big of a deal it really was,” Dishmon said as he thought about the ceremony. “I felt like I was just doing my job.”
Considering both Brig. Gen. W. Lee Miller Jr., the assistant division commander, and Sgt. Maj. John C. Carman, the sergeant major for the division’s force generation element, were there along with other senior Marines to congratulate him and offer him his very-first two military challenge coins, Dishmon admitted he was a little nervous.
That nervousness didn’t appear to reveal itself to the Marines who were with Dishmon when they were attacked a year ago.
While on patrol, Dishmon’s unit was ambushed and Lance Cpl. Matthew T. Earle, an assault gunner with Company I, 3/6, was shot before he could seek cover. Dishmon exposed himself to machine-gun fire to move Earle away from the fire to treat his wounds.
“Earle and I were in the back of the patrol,” Dishmon recalled. “Earle didn’t make it across before he got hit in the middle of the road.
“It was dark and you could see (streaming lights of) machine-gun tracers fly by. I yelled to the guys (to let them know) Earle was hit, but they couldn’t hear over our machine-gun, so I ran out in the road and I grabbed him.”
After taking off Earle’s protective gear, Dishmon assessed Earle and provided proper medical treatment.
Although extremely grateful for Dishmon’s efforts, Earle has trouble recalling anything from the incident, but fellow Marines remember it clearly.
“If it wasn’t for ‘Doc’ that night, Earle would not be here,” said Lance Cpl. Chris W. Ducharme, a team leader with I Co.
While 3/6 was deployed, Dishmon helped about 30 people, which includes Marines, civilians and soldiers of the Afghan National Army.
“It’s essential to have a good corpsman,” said Cpl. Evan S. Rinkenberg, a squad leader for I Co. “Especially in a place like Marjah were we were getting into firefights every day. Dishmon would be there for anybody if they needed him.”
For those corpsmen expecting to join Marines in combat for the first time, Dishmon’s advice was simple, “Remember the basics and don’t lose your cool.”
The Bronze Star is awarded to individuals who distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in action against an enemy of the U.S and, when awarded for valor, it is the fourth highest award in the American armed services.
Article by Lance Cpl. Walter D. Marino II, 2nd Marine Division