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Marine receives second Bronze Star with combat valor

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The Operations Officer for 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, received his second Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., April 8, 2011.

The award was presented to Capt. Matthew J. Martin for actions while in command of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, during the battalion’s deployment to Afghanistan from May to November 2009.

While deployed to Iraq in 2003, Martin served as a company executive officer with Company A, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Martin and his Marines fought for four days to secure the bridges outside of An Nasiriyah. Although he and his Marines were outnumbered and took heavy casualties, Martin directed tank and mortar fire toward enemy strongholds and successfully held off the insurgents. Martin received his first Bronze Star for heroic actions during this battle.

While being awarded the countries fourth highest medal is a rare achievement, eight years after Martin received his first Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device, he was presented with his second.

As the commanding officer of Company G, 2/8, Martin and his Marines were tasked with patrolling, on foot, more than 11 miles to secure a city in Helmond Province, Afghanistan.

Over the three days it took to conduct the movement, he and his Marines fought the enemy and encountered multiple IED’s in 130 degree heat.

“We probably got into a firefight or took fire, found an IED, or an IED exploded every other day for the entire deployment,” said Martin. “Every Marine fought with valor and pride and continued to go outside the wire knowing they were going to take enemy contact.”

Because of his leadership and accomplishments during his deployment, Martin was awarded his second Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device.

“I think this award reflects a lot about what Golf Company did in Afghanistan,” said Cpl. Eric T. Goodge, a forward observer with Company G, 2/8. “I think it’s great that he was recognized for all the great things he did as our company commander .”

Martin has served his country and Corps for 19 years, but isn’t sure what the future holds for him yet. Whether it’s continuing to serve his nation or move on to different professions, Martin will never forget the accomplishments he and his men made through some of the most demanding times of his life.

“Believing in the Corp's values and what we are (in Afghanistan) to represent is where my overall motivation came from throughout the years,” said Martin. “The day-to-day motivation comes from my junior Marines and the personalities they bring to the table. The recommendations they make, the jokes they make, the resilience they have to perform their duties regardless of the adversities just amazes me.”

Article by Lance Cpl. Johnny Merkley, 2nd Marine Division