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Klamath Falls, Oregan Marine, receives Silver Star

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 5/6/2004

Story by Cpl. Jeremy M. Vought

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 6, 2004) -- Marine Cpl. Robert P. Kerman received the Silver Star from the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, during an awards ceremony Thursday at Marine Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Kerman, 21, a Klamath Falls, Ore., native, received the military's third-highest award for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as a rifleman for Combined Anti-Armor Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 25, 2003.

Three other Marines received medals for valor at the same ceremony.

"They are the reflection of the Marine Corps type who's service to the Marine Corps and country is held above their own safety and lives," said Gen. Hagee, commenting on the four Marines who received medals during the ceremony. "I'm proud to be here awarding the second highest and third highest awards for bravery to these great Marines."

"These four Marines are a reflection of every Marine and sailor in this great battalion," said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada.

Kerman exhibited exceptional bravery when the lead elements of the battalion were ambushed with mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire.

As the vehicle he was traveling in drove directly into machine gun fire and into a trench line, Kerman sprang from the vehicle and began assaulting down the enemy occupied trench with two other Marines. As the enemy soldiers fired at him, he fearlessly plunged towards them firing his M16 with lethal accuracy. Continuing to move through the trench he repeatedly came under enemy fire.

Each time he would calmly occupy a steady firing position and take well-aimed shots that had devastating effects in the enemy.

As the group ran out of ammunition, they pressed forward 200 to 300 meters utilizing captured enemy AK-47s.

He showed no regard for his own personal safety, and his actions directly contributed to the successful outcome of the engagement.

"I was pretty scared at the time, but we knew what we had to do and we did it," said Kerman. "I did not expect (the award), maybe I just did the right thing."

Established in 1918, the Silver Star is awarded to a person who is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for award of the Distinguished Service Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction.



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