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Heroism in Sangin Recognized
By Harold Hutchison

Major Matthew H. Peterson was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device for heroism during operations near Sangin District, Afghanistan. The award was presented on board USS Green Bay, which is deployed carrying part of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Peterson received the award for actions while serving as the commanding officer of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), II Marine Expeditionary Force. On 9 November, he and his unit was involved in an engagement with the enemy.

“Every day for the next six weeks there was some kind of contact, be it [improvised explosive device], small arms fire or rockets,” said Peterson. “Several of those days were more than one. That was what it was like when we first got there.”

During one action, Peterson helped coordinate the evacuation of three wounded Marines, the employment of air and artillery assets that drove back the attack, and an ammunition re-supply.

“I can’t say enough about the Marines and what they did,” said Peterson. “I’ve never questioned the ability of a Marine to fight, but the ability and the judgment that a Marine has to not fight, and understanding why it’s sometimes better not to fight, is where they really turned the corner.”