Serving with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, Staff Sgt. Anthony Viggiani was patrolling the mountainous region of the Zabol Province in Afghanistan when his squad came under intense fire from Taliban militants. The assault left two wounded Marines pinned behind a small rock. Worse, the terrain made it nearly impossible at first to see where the gunfire was coming from.
As Viggiani and a fellow Marine crept up the steep slopes, they encountered direct fire from a cave, where the militants had continued their assault against the two wounded Marines. With his entire squad pinned down by enemy fire, Viggiani was the only one left who could take out the militants. Moving into a better position, he saw movement within the cave and fired repeatedly, eventually taking out three insurgent fighters by tossing a grenade. The fight was not over, however. Although Viggiani was shot in the leg by enemy fire from another direction, he refused medical treatment and kept fighting while assisting other wounded Marines. In all, Viggiani and his squad eliminated 14 insurgents.
For his heroism that day, Viggiani was awarded the Navy Cross, the highest Marine honor. “If somebody does their job, brings the boys home alive and accomplishes the mission, that’s it to me,” he said. “All of my boys, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
And for a little Humor…
In other Marine news, former Marine Bill Barnes, 72, of Michigan displayed his true grit by taking out a 27-year-old pickpocket. When he felt a hand reaching for cash in his pocket, he grabbed the offending wrist and promptly landed six or seven punches. Barnes later quipped, “I wouldn’t want my wife to give me hell for lettin’ that guy get my money.” Ooohrah! Semper Fi!