In the chaos and danger of battle, Marines are trained to look out for each other, take control and bring chaos to their enemy.
Lance Cpl. Daniel Hickey, a machine gunner with 1st platoon, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, did all these things and helped save lives in Afghanistan in 2008.
For his actions, he was awarded a Silver Star during a ceremony at Lance Cpl. Torrey Gray Field, July 16. Hickey demonstrated great heroism during combat when his patrol came under attack by medium machine gun fire and rocket propelled grenades during an ambush.
“We were doing a routine patrol in an area not normally patrolled,” said now Cpl. Hickey, a team leader with 2nd Bn., 7th Marines. “We started taking contact from our right flank. After we started taking contact, my vehicle commander told my driver to stop.”
Hickey said, the commander dismounted the vehicle and fired on the enemy. In a fierce exchange, the vehicle commander was struck in the upper right thigh and went down. Hickey exited the vehicle and pulled the commander into the cab while returning fire with his squad automatic weapon.
“My squad leader came back around with his truck, blocked in front of me because there was another position that was engaging us,” said Hickey a North Bend, Ore., native. “I ran over to his door and told him what had happened.” He told Hickey to get back in the vehicle and move out of the area. “We went back eight, nine hundred meters away. Set up a casualty collection point and called in the bird, triaging him the whole time.”
When news of the engagement and the actions of Hickey reached the forward operation base, his friends were not surprised of his actions.
“It seemed just like something he would do,” said Lance Cpl. Nick Wang, a mortarman with 2nd Bn., 7th Marines. “He is all about his friends, family and his guys. He did his job well and knew what he needed to do at all times.”
Looking back, Hickey credits the extensive live fire training he received for getting him through that day.
“All the ranges we did, the training, basically all the live fire we did, helped out a lot cause once [the ambush] happened the training kicked right in and I knew what I had to do,” Hickey said.
Two years after the firefight Hickey stood tall with a newly pinned Silver Star on his chest as Lt. Col. John M. Reed, the 2nd Bn., 7th Marines, battalion commander, took to the mic at Lance Cpl. Torrey Gray Field to commend Hickey and Marines like him for their devotion to duty.
“Cpl. Hickey is a hero. There is no doubt that his actions as courageous as they were on the battlefield saved many lives, the citation that described Cpl. Hickey’s selfless valor is inspiration to say the least,” said Reed, addressing the audience. Turning to Hickey he continued, “You are part of the reason that together as 2/7 we are ready for all and yielding to none.”
Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms