March 14, 2005

News Briefs

Three Bronze Stars awarded

Three more Marines received the Bronze Star with “V” device for heroic action in Iraq, one posthumously.

Capt. Stephen Oertle, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, received the Bronze Star at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., on Feb. 1 for actions when a convoy he was traveling in was ambushed near Nasiriyah, Iraq, on March 23, 2003. Oertle was serving as a forward arming and refueling point commander.

The ceremony took place next to the MWSS-371 headquarters building while Oertle’s mother, father, grandmother and colleagues looked on.

“This is work you don’t take very lightly,” said Lt. Col. John Broadmeadow, MWSS-371’s commanding officer. “We as professional war fighters take this seriously.”

In January, 1st Lt. David Dobb received the Bronze Star at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, the Grand Rapids Press newspaper reported.

The award was in recognition of actions during fierce combat in the Sunni Triangle in early April when Dobb led a 60-man platoon from 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines.

According to the newspaper, Lt. Gen. John Sattler wrote in a letter recommending

Dobb for the award that “Dobb distinguished himself by leading the platoon in numerous high-intensity engagements in an exemplary courageous manner. … He led his platoon from the front in the face of enemy fire.” Dobb also was awarded the Purple Heart for a shrapnel-related hand injury he suffered April 7.

“It seemed like a somewhat tense situation over the course of several days. It didn’t register at the time. It was just another day,” Dobb said.

Lance Cpl. Justin Ellsworth, who was killed Nov. 13, was awarded the Bronze Star earlier this year.

A letter authorizing the Bronze Star revealed that Ellsworth, whose job was to locate and destroy hidden bombs, discovered a homemade explosive while on patrol in Iraq.

Ellsworth warned his fellow Marines to clear the area, but he realized that a cell phone was attached to the device too late to avoid detonation. Ellsworth was directly over the bomb at the time.

His effort saved the lives of 11 Marines and spared many others from worse injuries than they sustained, the military said.

After Ellsworth’s death, his father, John Ellsworth, found himself in a legal battle with Yahoo! when he tried to access an e-mail account that contained his son’s last words, photos and thoughts from Iraq.

But without the account password, which only Ellsworth and Yahoo! knew, the family’s request was denied. Yahoo! policy calls for erasing the account after 120 days if there is no activity.

The Detroit News reported in its March 1 edition that Yahoo! has taken measures to preserve Ellsworth’s account as his father negotiates with the company.

Last modified date and time: 03/11/2005 16:51