Retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Michael Seely was awarded the Silver Star during a ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C., August 4, 2017. Seely was awarded the medal for his actions on March 23, 2003, when his platoon came under enemy and friendly fire during the battle of An Nasiriyah, Iraq.
August 4, 2017 - Retired Marine Maj. Michael Seely listens as Maj. Gen. John K. Love speaks during a Silver Star Medal ceremony at Camp Lejeune, NC. Seely was awarded the medal for his actions on March 23, 2003, when his platoon came under enemy and friendly fire during the battle of An Nasiriyah, Iraq. While exposed to both enemy and friendly fire, Seely calmly evacuated casualties and coordinated communication to cease the strafing from friendly aircraft. Seely was a second lieutenant serving with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment at the time. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jon Sosner)
Seely, who was a second lieutenant at the time, had formerly received the Bronze Star for his actions. In 2016, the Department of Defense reviewed the citations for all Bronze Star medals, and 2nd Lt. Seely was one of the few Marines whose awards were upgraded to the Silver Star.
During the battle of An Nasiriyah, 2nd Lt. Seely, who had served previously as an enlisted reconnaissance Marine prior to gaining his commission, was riding inside an amphibious assault vehicle when it was severely damaged by a rocket propelled grenade. Although the vehicle was damaged and on fire, Seely led the AAV out of the city and to safety, where four wounded Marines could be evacuated.
After all casualties were safely evacuated, the Marines then began taking lethal friendly fire from A-10 Warthog’s. Seely, despite the heavy fire, directed pyrotechnics to mark friendly positions and crossed the areas being fired upon in order to reach a radio with which he was able to stop the strafing.
At the time, March 23, 2003 was the deadliest day of the Iraq War for coalition forces. Without the actions of 2nd Lt. Seely, it likely could have been much worse. By placing the safety of his Marines over his own personal safety, Seely is credited with saving the lives of numerous Marines.
By U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jon Sosner
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