View Full Version : Scout sniper platoon leader earns Silver Star

06-24-05, 07:05 AM
June 23, 2005

Scout sniper platoon leader earns Silver Star

By Gidget Fuentes
Times staff writer

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — During combat in Fallujah last spring, Cpl. John E. Place led his sniper team through counter-ambush attacks and security patrols, coordinated fires with an adjoining infantry company and knocked out enemy fighters at long distances that threatened his battalion.
And at one point, when insurgents ambushed one of his companies, Place maneuvered his way from a covered position to knock out enemy forces.

His actions while in Iraq earned him a Silver Star, the military’s third-highest award for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action.” The St. Louis-native is scheduled to receive the medal during a Friday ceremony at the 1st Marine Division’s headquarters camp here.

Place, 22 and now a sergeant, was a scout-sniper platoon team leader with 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, which in early April 2004 battled insurgent fighters and saw heavy fighting in the Jolan District of Fallujah, Iraq.

The citation reads, approved by the president and signed by Navy Secretary Gordon England, reads as follows:

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Team Leader, Scout Sniper Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command, Iraq from March to April 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

“On 18 March 2004, while conducting a key leader ride-along, Corporal Place's convoy was attacked by two insurgents. He immediately located and destroyed their position, which enabled the convoy to proceed unharmed. On 26 March 2004, while conducting security patrols, Corporal Place encountered two more insurgents and neutralized their position. During these actions, Corporal Place instilled confidence in his Marines with his calm, collected demeanor under intense combat conditions.

“On 7 April 2004, Corporal Place coordinated with another company and engaged and eliminated enemy forces while under intense enemy fire. From 11 to 24 April 2004, Corporal Place's keen observation skills ensured his supported rifle company maintained a lethal, long-range response to enemy attacks.

“On 26 April 2004, an enemy force attacked a company patrol 400 meters away from friendly lines. Corporal Place disregarded his own safety and left the cover of his defensive position to close with and destroy the enemy.

“By his steadfast initiative, courageous actions, and exceptional dedication to duty, Corporal Place reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

Gidget Fuentes is the San Diego bureau chief for Marine Corps Times.