MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.
The Secretary of the Navy, Donald C. Winter, presented Navy Cross medals, posthumously, to Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, from Sag Harbor, N.Y., and Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale, from Burkeville, Va., at a ceremony 20 February at the National Museum of the Marine Corps near Quantico, Va.
The Navy Cross is the highest medal for valor awarded by the Department of the Navy and is second only to the Medal of Honor. To date, 25 Navy Crosses have been awarded in the Global War on Terror.
Haerter and Yale were infantrymen assigned to the 2nd Marine Division, serving with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, and 2nd Bn., 8th Marines, respectively, and were killed in action while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
On the morning of 22 April, 2008, according to Haerter’s and Yale’s personal award recommendations, a truck began to rapidly negotiate the obstacles leading to an entry control point in Ramadi, Iraq, where the two Marines were standing post. The two Marines quickly recognized the threat a suicide bomber driving a truck capable of carrying a large quantity of explosives posed to the Marines and Iraqi policemen in the area and engaged the truck with precise fire.
As a result of their actions, the truck stopped a few feet from their positions and the suicide bomber detonated the approximately 2,000 pounds of explosives in the truck, leveling the entry control point and mortally wounding the two Marines.
“The explosion blew out all of the windows over 150 meters from where the blast hit,” said Lance Cpl. Benjamin Tupaj, a rifleman with 3rd Platoon, Weapons Company, 1st Bn., 9th Marines. “They saved all of our lives; if it wasn’t for them that gate probably wouldn’t have held. If that truck had made it into the compound, there would’ve been a lot more casualties. They saved everyone’s life here.”
Haerter’s and Yale’s personal award recommendations credit them with saving the lives of 50 Marines and Iraqi policemen.