Corporal Christopher B. Farias, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment stands in formation after receiving the Navy Cross during an award ceremony here, May 18. Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work presented the nation's second highest award for bravery to Farias, a native of La Porte, Texas, for actions in Kajaki district, Afghanistan. On Oct. 5, 2010, Farias and his squad were struck by a 73-millimeter recoilless rifle and received fire from three enemy positions during a night ambush. Farias received a concussion and was wounded by shrapnel but exposed himself on a rooftop to direct suppressive fire, allowing casualties to be evacuated. Farias remained in the fight until an airstrike ended the engagement. After the firefight, Farias
walked while bleeding more than 2,000 meters to a pickup point. U.S.
Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sarah B. Novotny
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (5/18/2012) – Corporal
Christopher B. Farias, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, was
awarded the nation's second highest award for bravery during a
ceremony here, May 18.
Under Secretary of the Navy Robert
Work presented the Navy Cross to Farias for heroic actions while
serving as an assistant squad leader in the Kajaki district of
Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2010.
After Farias, a native of La
Porte, Texas, arrived in Afghanistan, the commanding officer pulled
the Marines together and mentioned they would protect the Kajaki Dam
and relieve British forces at the front line.
“To find out
that we're surrounded in three different areas by Taliban fighters,
that's telling me that we're definitely on our own on this one,”
Farias was excited to do infantry missions
because he had experience in Iraq with foot patrols and security and
felt the Marines in his squad were well trained and confident in
their abilities to complete their mission on the northern frontier
of the Marines' battlespace in Kajaki.
During the night of
the fight, Farias requested to go on the mission because he enjoyed
patrolling, he said. The Marines planned to set up an ambush against
enemy forces moving throughout the area.
While preparing for
the attack, the Marines received reports that enemy fighters called
for reinforcements, including a “special weapon,” a 73-millimeter
recoilless rifle. The rounds are larger than the rounds of some
Farias and the squad heard an explosion and
received enemy fire from three positions in a vicious ambush.
Several Marines lay wounded by the recoilless rifle, and insurgent
forces adjusted their fires and continued to shoot into the Marines'
“These guys were tactically and strategically smart,”
said Farias. They were well trained. To have guys who can
fight just like you... they know how to maneuver, they know
how to set you up for a proper ambush... to fight an enemy
like that, it's pretty insane.”
Farias suffered a
concussion and fragmentation wounds in the neck and shoulder
and received hasty treatment for his wounds before directing
medical care for the other Marines. After securing the
wounded, Farias climbed to a rooftop and controlled the fire
of the machine guns to suppress enemy positions.
suppressive fires kept the enemy down and allowed the squad
to treat the wounded, clear a landing zone, and evacuate the
casualties. Farias remained with his squad until an
airstrike ended the engagement.
walked more than 2,000 meters back to a ground evacuation
site. His neck was bleeding, and he felt drained due to
blood loss, he remembered.
“As we were walking back,
that's when I started feeling every bit of pain possible,”
recounted Farias. “I ended up realizing my right arm would
not move. I could not move it to save my life if I wanted
Farias was recommended for a Silver Star, which was
upgraded to a Navy Cross. The Marines of 1st Battalion, 11th
Marine Regiment formed on the parade deck with M777
lightweight howitzers on display. Farias said he was honored
to receive the award on behalf of his Marines and the unit.
“I don't see it as actually for me,” Farias said. “I see
it as for India Battery, but for me to stand there and be a
representation for India Battery for that award... it's a
By USMC Sgt. Jacob Harrer
Comment on this article | Video >
Christopher Farias, Navy Cross Recipient, Talks About His