Marine Sgt. Matthew Abbate Posthumously Awarded Navy Cross
U.S. Marine Sergeant Matthew Abbate was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the highest decoration that can be bestowed by the Department of the Navy and second highest decoration for valor, during an award ceremony at the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines' Parade Deck here, Aug. 10, 2012.
On Oct. 14, 2010, Abbate's Quick Reaction Force team came under fire during a dismounted patrol through Sangin, Afghanistan's northern green zone. His patrol was ambushed in a minefield by insurgents who were in several well-prepared positions. After his team received fire, patrol members moved to cover after two Marines and a Corpsman struck improvised explosive devices in quick succession. With the patrol leader incapacitated and three severe casualties, Abate took charge of the situation and, with total disregard for his own life, sprinted through the unswept minefield to rally the dazed team members.
Still exposed and suppressing the enemy, he directed the remaining squad member's fire until they effectively suppressed the enemy and could give life-saving aid to the urgent casualties. After coordinating the medical evacuation, he swept the landing zone with a mine detector for additional explosives, clearing it for the medical evacuation aircraft, before the patrol was again forced to take cover from enemy fire.
Knowing the casualties' survival depended upon the speed of their evacuation by helicopter, he again rallied the patrol's able men and led a counter offensive to clear enemy fighters from the landing zone allowing the critically wounded to be evacuated.
Sergeant Abbate was killed in action six weeks later on Dec. 2nd in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
(Information from article by Marine Lance Cpl. Timothy Childers, August 10, 2012)
U.S. Marine Corps video by Staff Sgt. Philip Grondin