Three Transition Team Marines Awarded Bronze Stars
(February 18, 2010)
|CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (2/8/2010)— Three Marines formerly with
the 1st Iraqi Army Division Military Transition Team, II
Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), were awarded Bronze
Star medals during a ceremony held aboard Camp Lejeune,
N.C., Jan. 21.|
|Gunnery Sgt. Eric L. Darmstadt (left), Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chad E. Bacastow (middle), and Capt. Edward H. Miller (right), all formerly with 1st Iraqi Army Division Military Transition Team, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), stand proud after receiving Bronze Stars, during a ceremony held aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 21, 2010. The Marines received their awards for their actions while deployed to Iraq from Sept. 20, 2008 to Sept. 19, 2009.
The awards were presented by Brig. Gen. Juan G. Ayala, the
commanding general of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, for
their actions while deployed to Iraq from Sept. 20, 2008 to
Sept. 19, 2009.|
During this time, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Chad E. Bacastow
acted as the ordnance advisor and assistant logistics
officer for the MiTT; Capt. Edward H. Miller served as the
logistics advisor; and Gunnery Sgt. Eric L. Darmstadt served
as the logistics chief.
The transition team supported Iraqi Army and Coalition
operations in multiple regions of Iraq to include Diyala, Al
Anbar and Ninewa provinces.
The three Marines received their awards for outstanding job
performance in their individual billets, but they also stood
out in their own way.
Bacastow's award highlighted an event where he was one of
the first quick reaction force responders to a suicide
bombing in the city of Jalulah in Diyala Province. The
bombing, which occurred in a market place, resulted in seven
deaths and three wounded, to include some members of Iraqi
Bacastow worked together with other quick reaction force
responders to provide security and stabilize the city.
The 28-year warrant officer said he was humbled by this
award, and owes partial credit to the ones who served
“When a Marine receives a personal award, he or she does so
from the collective efforts and sacrifices of the Marines in
the unit which they serve,” he said. “There is no way that
the endeavors listed in my Bronze Star citation would be
possible without the shared contributions of the MiTT that I
was a part of.”
The other two Marines, Miller and Darmstadt, were on a
convoy together when their own truck was struck by a mine.
The two Marines, along with other members of their team,
stood security for 26 hours, until the damaged vehicle was
Darmstadt did this despite a level three concussion (loss of
consciousness) he received from the blast.
In addition to these key points, the Marines, along with the
rest of their team, coached and mentored the Iraqi soldiers
of 1st Iraqi Army Division so that they were able to
maintain stability when U.S. Forces departed the country.
“The MiTT experience was, as Brig. Gen. Ayala alluded to
during the awards ceremony, something difficult to explain
unless you served on one,” Bacastow said. “Every member of
our team experienced that 12 months differently in their own
way, but for me, I enjoyed being a part of a unit where each
Marine on the team has a very significant impact on the
After spending an entire year with the Iraqi Army, the
Marines not only increased the knowledge of the Iraqi
soldiers, but learned a lot about the Iraqi culture as well.
“I learned a tremendous amount from my teammates, but I
learned the most from the Iraqis,” Darmstadt said. “The 13
Marines on our team got to live on a base with the 1st Iraqi
Army Division, and were able to interact with them a lot
more than the average Marine or soldier [would during a
deployment]. The future of Al Anbar is in the hands of the
Iraqis now. The Iraqis are ready to take the lead and
maintain Al Anbar because of the MiTTs that [advised them].”
LCpl. Melissa A. Latty
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Marine Corps News
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Bronze Star Recipients |