USS RUSHMORE, At Sea (1/26/2013) – Servicemembers stationed
around the world make sacrifices every day for their country. Some
expense time away from their families and a number risk their lives
to protect their brothers in arms. It is always a special occasion
when one is recognized for their actions.
First Sgt. Bradley
G. Simmons took his place in front of his Marines on the flight deck
of the USS Rushmore Jan. 25, and was awarded the Bronze Star with
Combat Distinguishing Device for the heroic service while serving in
Sangin District, Afghanistan.
First Sgt. Bradley G. Simmons (center), Sergeant Major, Combat
Logistics Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, stands in
front of Lt. Col. John Wiener, commanding officer, CLB-15, 15th MEU,
before being presented the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing
Device, aboard the USS Rushmore, Jan. 25, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps
photo by Cpl. Timothy R. Childers)
Lieutenant Col. John Wiener, commanding officer, Combat Logistics
Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, pins the Bronze Star
with Combat Distinguishing Device on 1st Sgt. Bradley G. Simmons
(34), Sergeant Major, CLB-15, 15th MEU, during his award ceremony
aboard the USS Rushmore, Jan. 25, 2013. The 15th MEU is deployed as
part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group as a U.S. Central Command
theater reserve force, providing support for maritime security
operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th
Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl.
Timothy R. Childers)
During that period, Simmons was the first sergeant of
Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Regimental Combat
Team 8, 2nd Marine Division (Forward), II Marine
Expeditionary Force, in support in Operation Enduring
Most notably, on Aug. 7, 2011, Simmons led a
quick reaction force to relieve a squad of Marines pinned
down after two Marines were killed in action during an
ambush. The enemy dispensed effective fire from multiple
positions to the north, and Simmons directed the vehicles
under his command to flank the enemy.
Identifying the enemy's position, he
dismounted his vehicle and, under fire, crossed an open road
to direct the vehicle's fire upon the enemy.
taking small arms fire, he quickly organized and led a fire
team to a nearby hill to cut off the insurgent egress route
and allow close air support to destroy the enemy ambush.
“I must say that my personal contributions were just a
whisper in the hell storm of fighting two summers past in
Sangin,” said Simmons, a Liberal, Kan., native. “Our
successes should be attributed to the NCOs and Marines who
put their lives in danger every day. I do not deserve any
special recognition but will forever be privileged to have
been a witness to such heroism. This ceremony is not for me,
but for the award, the Bronze Star, and what it represents,
and a tribute to those legions of warriors who have fought
From April 11, 2011, to Oct. 13, 2011,
Simmons provided expert daily assistance and support to more
than 390 Marines, sailors, civilians and Afghan forces
spread across six positions in the Northern Green Zone of
Sangin District, Afghanistan.
He participated in
more than 65 patrols, four company-level operations and
engaged in direct hostile action against insurgent forces on
four separate occasions.
“First Sgt. Simmons took
little time in establishing his presence and it became
obvious to the men that he had all of the characteristics
required to be an effective leader in combat,” said Lt. Col.
John J. Wiener, commanding officer, Combat Logistics
Battalion 15, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “In addition
to the learned skills, First Sergeant Simmons possessed a
moral foundation that was based on commitment to his wife
and family, his country and his fellow Marines. Simply put,
he led by example.”
During the deployment, Company B
lost eight Marines and left 52 wounded. The unit was
involved in 76 direct-fire engagements, 85 improvised
explosive device finds, 26 IED strikes and held 106
“Littered with IEDs and an endless supply
of enemy fighting positions carved out of thick mud walls,
the fighting season commenced in May, and by June became the
most kinetic battle space in Afghanistan,” said Simmons.
“Nearly every day (they were) finding or initiating a hidden
IED or repelling an enemy ambush with ferocity and guile. My
words cannot describe the fidelity and devotion these men
bore for each other as their fellow Marines and sailors were
killed or received grotesque, life-changing injuries.”
Simmons is now the sergeant major of CLB-15, 15th MEU,
which is deployed as part of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready
Group as a U.S. Central Command theater reserve force,
providing support for maritime security operations and
theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet
area of responsibility. He continues to lead his Marines
with experience and dedication to duty, but never forgets
those he served with while deployed with his 1/5 brothers.
“I am proud to have been part of this piece of history
and will not forget the sacrifices made to deny the enemy
sanctuary in Sangin,” added Simmons. “It was an honor to
serve these men and an honor to walk the ground with them.
This award is a testament to them.”
By USMC Cpl. Timothy Childers
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