CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa (MCN - 4/30/2012) — “As we came up to the
choke point I was thinking to look out for victim-operated IEDs, but
not an ambush,” said Staff Sgt. John Rudd, an explosive ordnance
technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine
Expeditionary Unit. “We had made a push through the area about two
days prior, so at that particular spot, we were expecting to
encounter an IED but found ourselves in a gunfight.”
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa - Staff Sgt. John Rudd, an explosive
ordinance disposal technician with Combat Logistics Battalion 31,
31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (center right) stands with his wife
and Lt Col. William Arick, commanding officer of CLB-31 (left) and
Capt. Donald Pilcher, company commander of EOD Company, 9th Engineer
Support Battalion, after receiving the Bronze Star with combat
distinguishing device here, Apr. 30, 2012 for his actions in
Afghanistan in 2011 during Operation Enduring Freedom. Rudd earned
the medal for both disarming an improvised explosive device under
fire and saving a local child's life. Photo by USMC 2nd Lt. Dave
Rudd earned the Bronze Star with a combat distinguishing device for
actions he performed on July 27, 2011, while assigned to Explosive
Ordnance Disposal Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, in
Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.
citation describes how on that day, after courageously walking into
the kill zone to disarm an IED by hand, he came under heavy small
arms fire. Although under fire from multiple positions, he continued
to disarm the device to allow the patrol to move from the site.
During the ambush, a local national was holding his
eight-year-old daughter who was severely wounded by enemy fire. Rudd
rushed to the girl, expertly applying lifesaving care to her
injuries, which included a severe
chest wound, and ultimately was
responsible for saving the girl's life.
When asked what was going through his head during the
ambush Rudd responded abruptly with two words, “my
“When I got to the little girl and saw
her looking at me with fear in her eyes, I was trying to
tell her that she would be ok and I was there to help rather
than hurt her,” said Rudd.
He described the receiving
the nation's fourth-highest combat award as a humbling
experience to share with his EOD brothers.
came as an unsurprising feat from the perspective of Capt.
Donald Pilcher, EOD Company commander, 9th ESB, whose unit
provides the EOD detachment for the 31st MEU. “Staff Sgt.
Rudd has been a leader from the time I met him as a
bright-eyed, bushy-tailed lance corporal, and has continued
to develop into a fine man, excellent Marine and outstanding
EOD technician,” said Pilcher. “I'm not surprised in the
least that earned this award.”
Rudd's wife also
received a certificate of appreciation in conjunction with
his Bronze Star award for her continual support during the
deployment, supporting their daughter alone while her
husband was deployed. By ensuring the family was strong back
home, she said she allowed Rudd to devote his mind to the
fight in Afghanistan without distraction.
ceremony, the imminent explosion of handshakes and hugs
proved to be something Rudd couldn't defuse. The room filled
with pride for Rudd receiving the award on behalf of the
tightly-knit EOD community.
“SSgt Rudd proved that
the professionalism of the Marine Corps is alive and well,”
said Pilcher. “In a field full of exceptional Marines to
begin with, he continues to find a way to bring it up a
Rudd recently returned from a deployment to
the Asia-Pacific region with the 31st MEU, which included
doing theater security cooperation and helping keep the
region stable and secure.
The 31st MEU is the only
continuously forward-deployed MEU and remains the nation's
force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.
By USMC 2nd Lt. Dave Baugh, 31st MEU
Marine Corps News
Comment on this article
Bronze Star Recipients |
Other Heroes |
More Heroes and