Marines to be awarded Navy Cross posthumously
Posted : Saturday Nov 22, 2008 7:46:45 EST
Two Marines who died in Iraq stopping a small water tanker filled with explosives will be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the nation’s second-highest combat honor, a Marine spokeswoman said.
Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, 19, and Cpl. Jonathan Yale, 21, were standing guard April 22 in Ramadi when a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives roared toward a joint Marine-Iraqi headquarters, Marine officials said. The two riflemen opened fire and stopped the vehicle before it reached the gate, but the truck exploded, killing the two Marines.
Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a Marine spokeswoman in Iraq, confirmed the award decision, first reported Thursday on the Web site of the Los Angeles Times.
Haerter, of Sag Harbor, N.Y., was assigned to Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. The Sag Harbor-North Haven Bridge on Long Island was renamed the Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge on Nov. 15, according to the New York Daily News.
Yale, of Burkeville, Va., was assigned to Lejeune-based 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines. He was described by family as an outdoorsman who participated in the school robotics and drama clubs in high school, according the Washington Post.
In May, the Corps said the actions of the pair saved 33 Marines, 21 Iraqi police officers and numerous civilians resting beyond the gate of the outpost.
“They saved all of our lives,” Lance Cpl. Benjamin Tupaj, a rifleman with 1/9 on post that morning, said in the Corps’ statement. “If it wasn’t for them that gate probably wouldn’t have held. The explosion blew out all of the windows over 150 meters from where the blast hit. If that truck had made it into the compound, there would’ve been a lot more casualties. They saved everyone’s life here.”
Haerter and Yale were both posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and nominated for “an award for valor,” according to the statement released in May. It did not specify which award they were nominated to receive.