View Full Version : Carlsbad Marine receives valor medals

10-12-03, 07:43 AM
Carlsbad Marine receives valor medals
Submitted by: I Marine Expeditionary Force
Story Identification Number: 20031010175425
Story by Sgt. Colin Wyers

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(October 9, 2003) -- Marines learning the skills of a warrior came out to honor one on the rain swept parade deck of the School of Infantry.

Major Stephen Armes, Advanced Infantry Training Company commanding officer, was awarded the Bronze Star Oct. 10 for his actions while serving as 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment operations officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The award came as no surprise to his father, who attended the ceremony.

"He's always been very committed and dedicated at what he chose to do," said retired Marine Col. Paul Armes. "He feels very strongly about his responsibility to his Marines."

Armes was awarded the Bronze Star, with a Combat "V" device for valor, for his efforts in planning and executing numerous attacks as his unit moved from Kuwait into Baghdad.

"This award reflects the achievements of 891 Marines in that battalion," said Armes. "If you've ever had a chance to look into the eyes of a dying Marine, fighting for every breath, or a wounded Marine, asking not to be medevac'd because there's still some fight in him, then you'll understand. And if you haven't, I pray you never have to."

The battalion was the first Marine unit to cross the line of departure on March 20, and moved up into the Rumaylah oil fields, where the situation required Armes to plan to attack over nine hours ahead of schedule with no supporting fires. The battalion destroyed an Iraqi brigade and secured the oil fields.

Armes continued to coordinate attacks on Iraqi forces while traveling with the Alpha Command Group, which was the company in the lead as the battalion moved north. On April 10, Armes entered Baghdad in an amphibious assault vehicle. Their objective was the Al Azimiyah Presidential Palace.

While en route, the column Armes was traveling in fell under ambush.

"There was just a barrage of gunfire," said Armes. "Guys were coming from everywhere. Down an alleyway came some guys with (rocket-propelled grenades). They had to be taken out, or they would take us out."

Armes responded by grabbing a nearby M-16A2 service rifle and firing at the oncoming attackers.

Throughout the ceremony, Armes continually credited his troops for the accomplishments in his citation.

"They were... fearless," said Armes. "When we made contact, they went for the throat, and didn't let go until the target was destroyed. But they had the ability, once the target was destroyed, in an instant, to take that person prisoner and treat him with respect."
After combat ended, Armes' battalion stayed behind to help Iraq rebuild, patrolling and conducting humanitarian efforts.

"We killed some Iraqis on the way up, but we freed thousands," said Armes. "It feels absolutely awesome. It's already better than when we came in. People in Iraq were overjoyed to see us there, and still are."