View Full Version : Marine Raider awarded Silver Star for heroism in Afghanistan

Rocky C
01-22-16, 11:23 AM
A Marine Raider has been awarded the nation's third-highest valor award for heroic actions during a 2013 deployment to Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Robert Van Hook, a critical skills operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, was presented with the Silver Star on Jan. 15. The award was presented by Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commander of the Marine Corps’ Special Operation Command, at a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Van Hook was credited with “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy” while serving as the element leader of Marine Special Operations Team 8224 while deployed to Afghanistan's Herat province in 2013, according to his award citation.

During an operation on Aug. 14, 2013, Van Hook executed a hasty ambush against 10 insurgents before attacking an enemy-held building with hand grenades and small arms fire. The initial ambush killed four insurgents and wounded two more. During the attack on the enemy-held building, he killed additional insurgents and helped secure two detainees, his citation states.

He then coordinated sustained direct and indirect fire on enemy positions as the battle progressed.

After a support team was forced to withdraw under overwhelming enemy fire, Van Hook manned an MK-19 automatic grenade launcher, which drew the enemy's attention to him, the citation states.

The insurgents responded with rocket propelled grenade and machine gun fire, wounding Van Hook and briefly knocking him unconscious.

“Despite his wounds affecting his ability to walk, he continued to direct fires on the enemy while under enemy fire, aggressively led his element, and ultimately played a pivotal role in coordinating 120mm mortar danger close suppressive fires for aerial medical evacuation during approach into a hot landing zone,” his citation reads.

Reflecting on his actions at the ceremony, Van Hook humbly praised the MARSOC community and accepted the Silver Star on behalf of his team, according to Lejeune's base paper.

“Any Raider could have been switched out with me and done the same exact thing,” he said. “A Raider isn’t going to let anybody down: not the brothers that went before him, not the Marine beside him. He might have done it differently, but he would have got the job done.”

Osterman praised Van Hook during the award presentation ceremony.

“As a commander, I’m just incredibly appreciative that we have men of [his] caliber that are amongst our ranks,” he said. “You take a look at all his phenomenal accomplishments, it’s everything we talk about at MARSOC and our culture of quiet professionals.”

Van Hook was not immediately available for comment.

01-22-16, 02:39 PM
During Operation Meade River in December of 68., my unit 3/26, was called to support the 3/5 Marines at a place called the Hook. Myself, Jack ( Fistful ), and Advanced ( Russ ), all fought in a battle that lasted about 6 days. The upper Brass referred to it as the Iwo Jima of Veit Nam. Russ's unit 3/5 suffered almost 70% casualties. We suffered about 60% casualties. Jack and I were both wounded. However, our unit was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Medal. We had one Medal of Honor, 2 Navy Crosses, 10 Silver Stars, 33 Bronze Stars with " V " attachment, 84 Navy Commendation Medals wiyh " V ' attachment, and 106 Navy, Marine Corps Achievement Medals with " V ' attachment. Also numerous medals for Valor awarded by the Republic of South Viet Nam.

Rocky C
01-22-16, 02:52 PM
Wow Brothers !!!

Semper Fidelis :iwo:

Tennessee Top
01-23-16, 07:49 AM
Congratulations to the SSgt.

Just read this week the first female Marine applied for MARSOC but she was turned down because they would not waive her GT score (must have at least a 105). They told her to go retake the ASVAB, get her score where it needs to be, and come back. Holding strong on the same standards for both males and females - so far. The SECNAV won't like it - it's not inclusive enough.