MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (8/24/2012) – “I was exactly
where I wanted to be, doing exactly what I wanted to do,” said
Gunnery Sgt. Joseph F. Lurz, a native of Baltimore.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Joseph F. Lurz, a native of Baltimore, awarded
Silver Star medal by retired Maj. Gen. Paul E. Lefebvre, former
MARSOC commander, Aug. 24, 2012. Photo by USMC Staff Sgt. Robert
Lurz was presented with the Silver Star medal, the nation's third
highest honor for combat valor, during the change of command
ceremony for U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command,
Lurz was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations
Battalion, based at Camp Pendleton, Calif., during combat operations
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during the time of his
award. While on his deployment to Helmand province in Afghanistan
from July 2010 to April 2011, Lurz led his team and mentored 7th
Afghan Commandos of Kandak, Afghanistan.
Throughout the duration
of the deployment, Lurz and his team thwarted more than 100 enemy
attacks, according to the Silver Star citation. He led his team into
the heart of the insurgency and while under heavy volumes of
insurgent machine gun and
rocket propelled grenade fire, he directed the fires of his men and
the commandos against the enemy's most lethal positions neutralizing
more than 100 insurgents and countless improvised explosive devices.
“The conditions that I earned this award are not unique,”
Lurz said. “Anybody on the team could've done it, all I did
was manage the talent, they did all the work.”
an enemy ambush, his team leader was wounded and evacuated.
Lurz then took charge and seamlessly led his team into enemy
strongholds. Throughout multiple attacks Lurz remained calm,
communicating to higher echelons and simultaneously
coordinating supporting fires, effectively suppressing
numerous attacks. During a nighttime helicopter assault his
aircraft came under heavy fire and upon landing Lurz
directed the team and Afghan commandos into a defendable
position. He directed an assault and attempted to extract
the team. When the enemy maneuvered into ambush positions to
prevent the extract, Lurz called for close air support and
conducted a counterattack killing several insurgents and
allowing the team to pull out under a heavy volume of fire.
“Because of operators like Gunnery Sgt. Lurz we're
building governance [in Afghanistan], we're empowering the
people to be able to make decisions for themselves and
provide their own security,” said retired Maj. Gen. Paul E.
Lefebvre, former MARSOC commander. “Most people don't know
how well that's going, and that's too bad.”
By USMC Staff Sgt. Robert Storm
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Silver Star Recipients