View Full Version : Engineers awarded for heroism

06-17-04, 07:18 AM
Engineers awarded for heroism
Submitted by: MCAS Iwakuni
Story Identification #: 20046170376
Story by Cpl. Robert W. Wynkoop

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan(June 9, 2004) -- Two Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 combat engineers were awarded for their actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom during a ceremony on the parade field, June 9.

Sgts. Adam Lauritzen and Mauricio Guevara received the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device for their selfless service and devotion to duty in a combat environment while serving with 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, 1st Combat Engineer Battalion in Baghdad.

According to MWSS-171 engineer company first sergeant, Gunnery Sgt. Scott Cooper, Guevara and Lauritzen are two of the best sergeants he has ever worked with.

"(What sets them apart is) maturity. They have a no nonsense approach to training Marines. They know how to adapt and overcome to complete the mission," Cooper said.
Cooper's opinion of the duo comes not only from his role as first sergeant here, but as their company gunnery sergeant with 1st CEB in Iraq.

"We were all right on the outskirts of Baghdad. (Lauritzen and Guevara) were among some of the first to go in. Since they've been here, they are sharing that experience with the inexperienced. They let their Marines know what is expected in combat," Cooper explained.
The two 23 year olds said that although they are proud to be recognized for their actions, receiving the awards is bittersweet.

"These awards are not just ours. It was a squad effort," said the Reno, Nev. native Lauritzen, about his actions described in the award's citation, which occurred in another location around the same time as Guevara's. "The squad ... we're a family. We had to get through (an area full of mines). I knew if that mine went off, I was going to take the (impact of the explosion). I was in a better position to observe what was happening."

Guevara shares the same feelings about his ordeal, noting that there were others fighting with him some of whom returned to Iraq a second time and lost their lives.

"It's great to be here and help out the wing, but the CEB (1st combat engineer battalion) is where I feel like I should return to. They came home and were redeployed. I feel like I should be there with them," the Long Island, N.Y., native explained.

Other attendees of the ceremony said meeting the two sergeants and seeing them receive their awards was a very motivating experience.

"These are some - no kidding - heroes. You don't see people get the bronze star every day. I'm truly honored to shake their hands," said Sgt. Maj. David Allison, Station sergeant major.

The Marine, who pinned the awards on Guevara and Lauritzen, Col. Stephen Fenstermacher, Marine Wing Support Group 17 commanding officer, told the assembled formation of MWSS-171 Marines, "I can't tell you how proud I am of the things you've accomplished.

"More heroes stand on the field before me," Fenstermacher said, addressing the three platoons assembled on the parade deck. "You're just waiting for the opportunity to show it."

Nearing the conclusion of the ceremony, the two awardees along with Lt. Col. Scot Seitz, former MWSS-171 commanding officer, who was also awarded in the ceremony with a Navy Commendation Medal, joined Fenstermacher for a pass in review of the assembled Marines.


Illustration by Cpl. Dave Boni
Sgts. Adam Lauritzen (right) and Mauricio Guevara, Marine Wing Support Squadron 171 combat engineers, received the Bronze Star Medal for actions during Operation Iraq Freedom during a ceremony here, June 9. Photo illustration by Cpl. Dave Boni Photo by: