Five Marines were awarded for their personal acts of heroism
during the 9th annual American Hero Awards, Oct. 28, at Sywanyk's
Scarlet and Gold Traditions in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
The American Hero Awards are held by the CEO of Mainstreet, retired
Army Master Sgt. John Reed.
Mainstreet is a Jacksonville
based business development program that also helps, along with its
sponsors, to support the Marines and sailors.
selected through the sergeants major from the major commands such as
2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 2nd Marine Logistics
Group, Marine Special Operations Command, and Marine Corps
Installations East,” said Reed who is a Vietnam War veteran.
The Marines awarded, each in a unique way, saved lives in various
ways by preventing suicide, homicide, or performing critical
emergency medical treatment.
“The American Hero Awards are here to recognize five actual
American heroes that effectively and actively committed an act of
heroism,” said Reed.
The Marines were presented with a book
from the Marine Corps Association, a challenge coin, a commemorative
plaque and letters of appreciation presented by the II Marine
Expeditionary Force commanding general, Maj. Gen. Walter L. Miller
Jr., and the II MEF sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Bryan K. Zickefoose.
Sergeant Benjamin A. Dunlap, the awardee for the 2nd MAW, saved
the life of an Army soldier who was having a seizure and soon after
passed out and stopped breathing. Dunlap conducted basic combat
lifesaving skills to keep the soldier alive until further medical
“It is pretty humbling to be recognized
amongst the caliber of individuals who also received awards,” said
One of the five awardees is selected by Zickefoose to
be the John Archer Lejeune Award of Bravery recipient according to
Reed. This year's recipient was Staff Sgt. Mark W. Damm, with Marine
Corps Forces, Special Operations Command. Damm was awarded for his
actions during a mission in Afghanistan, when he led an 84-man
assault that repelled numerous enemy attacks while Afghan police
realigned security checkpoints. Damm directed friendly forces during
numerous engagements and repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire,
ultimately saving friendly lives and successfully completing the
Staff Sgt. Mark W. Damm with Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, receives the John Archer Lejeune Award for Bravery during the American Hero Awards Oct. 28, 2015, in Jacksonville, N.C. Damm was awarded for his actions during a mission in Afghanistan, when he led an 84-man assault that repelled numerous enemy attacks while Afghan police realigned security checkpoints. Damm directed friendly forces during numerous engagements and repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire, ultimately saving friendly lives and successfully completing the mission. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joey Mendez)
“I don't feel like I'm worthy of such an award, but I
will like to thank my command for giving me the opportunity
to receive it and I would also like to accept this award on
behalf of my entire team, all of whom who are deserving of
receiving this award. Thank you,” said Damm.
conclusion of the ceremony the Marines, sailors, family and
friends who attended enjoyed food, drinks and casual
conversation. Next year Reed is slated to host the 10th
annual AHA because of his belief in what the Marines and
sailors provide to this nation.
“I do these
programs because I don't want to see these young Marines and
sailors get [disrespected] like we did. It is really
important that people recognize what they do,” added Reed.
“I get emotional when we talk about our troops now because
today's troops are the ones who turned the views Americans
had on the military into a positive outlook since the
Vietnam War days and being able to recognize these five
young men is a small token of our gratitude to them.”
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Joey Mendez
Comment on this article