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thedrifter
05-10-06, 12:28 PM
Jeremiah Workman to receive Navy Cross
Code called Richwood Marine to heroic rescue
By BRENDA J. DONEGAN
The Marion Star

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. - Being a hero was the farthest thing from Sgt. Jeremiah Workman's mind when he grabbed one of the injured soldiers of his unit and dragged him nearly 1,000 feet to the casualty collection point while dodging machine gun fire.

For doing so, Workman will receive the Navy Cross, the second highest medal that can be awarded by the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, in ceremonies Friday at Parris Island, S.C., where he is currently stationed. The Navy Cross is next in line to the top military medal awarded - the Medal of Honor.

Workman, 23, said his battalion commander nominated him for the prestigious award.

"You had to have two other eyewitness accounts of your heroic efforts," Workman said, adding his name was submitted in December 2004. "It takes a lot of time for the awards to go through. I believe I'm the 10th person to receive it (Navy Cross) since we went into Iraq - three of those were Navy and the rest Marines."

Workman said his unit of Marines were on a mission code-named Phantom Fury. At about 10 a.m. Dec. 23, 2004, in Fallujah, Iraq, the squad of 20 men divided into two groups to enter a house on a re-clearing assignment where insurgents were reported to be.

Workman's group had stayed across the street awaiting the signal to either enter the house or retreat, he said. Seeing and hearing the first squad taking fire, Workman, who was the point man, said they entered the house and started up the staircase to the second story throwing grenades and firing at the insurgents, who were retaliating with the same. He said one of the grenades landed and exploded on the steps knocking them down the stairs.

Most of the men in his unit received some kind of injury during the exchange. They regrouped and attempted a second attempt to climb the stairs only to again be blown back by an exploding grenade. Workman said they went back a third time and battled back and forth with the insurgents.

Workman said three of the Marines from the first group had been killed and needed to be retrieved from the roof of the house. He said of the 20 men to enter the house, three were killed and 11 wounded.

"One of the guys wounded pretty bad jumped off the roof," Workman said. "He was wounded and bleeding pretty bad, fell to the ground, took two to three steps then became unconscious. The only thing on my mind was getting everybody out of the house. We have a code of conduct to never leave anybody behind. It would have been easy to leave them in the house, but we knew we had to do it the right way so their families could bury them properly."

Workman himself had been injured and had shrapnel in his leg, he said. He also received a Purple Heart for his injuries in the conflict.

Workman's mother, Lisa Johnston, Marion, said although she spent many sleepless nights knowing her son was in a combat zone, she is proud of him for his heroic efforts and the award he will receive on Friday.

"I worried a lot," she said, adding she has a second son, Jaccob, 20, who has followed in his older brother's footsteps and joined the Marines.

"I'm very proud of Jeremiah," she said. "I'm proud of both of them. It's too bad things had to happen like that to get an award. It showed me how courageous and caring he was."

Johnston said while her son was in Iraq, she heard from him about once every two weeks.

"He always told me they would be going out on expeditions and then come back," she said. "You just never knew. You just prayed a lot."

Ben Morris, a Vietnam veteran, said although he does not know Workman, he has an idea of what it was like for him in conflict.

"As a member of VFW 3313, and he's receiving the second highest award available, this guy should be getting a little recognition," Morris said. "I'm happy to hear he is getting the award."

Workman was 17 when he left for boot camp and did his training at Parris Island.

"Why did I join the Marines? When we (United States) go to war, people know the Marines go in first and that was what I wanted to do," he said. "Also, a Marine can get out after four years and go to any other branch without going back to boot camp."

Workman said he is entering his fifth year in the Marines but has not decided if he will make it a career.

"If I do stay, I'm going to go the officer route," he said.

Reporter Brenda Donegan: 740-375-5150 or bdonegan@nncogannett.com

Workman said. "He was wounded and bleeding pretty bad, fell to the ground, took two to three steps then became unconscious. The only thing on my mind was getting everybody out of the house. We have a code of conduct to never leave anybody behind. It would have been easy to leave them in the house, but we knew we had to do it the right way so their families could bury them properly."

Workman himself had been injured and had shrapnel in his leg, he said. He also received a Purple Heart for his injuries in the conflict.

Workman's mother, Lisa Johnston, Marion, said although she spent many sleepless nights knowing her son was in a combat zone, she is proud of him for his heroic efforts and the award he will receive on Friday.

"I worried a lot," she said, adding she has a second son, Jaccob, 20, who has followed in his older brother's footsteps and joined the Marines.

"I'm very proud of Jeremiah," she said. "I'm proud of both of them. It's too bad things had to happen like that to get an award. It showed me how courageous and caring he was."

Johnston said while her son was in Iraq, she heard from him about once every two weeks.

"He always told me they would be going out on expeditions and then come back," she said. "You just never knew. You just prayed a lot."

Ben Morris, a Vietnam veteran, said although he does not know Workman, he has an idea of what it was like for him in conflict.

"As a member of VFW 3313, and he's receiving the second highest award available, this guy should be getting a little recognition," Morris said. "I'm happy to hear he is getting the award."

Workman was 17 when he left for boot camp and did his training at Parris Island.

"Why did I join the Marines? When we (United States) go to war, people know the Marines go in first and that was what I wanted to do," he said. "Also, a Marine can get out after four years and go to any other branch without going back to boot camp."

Workman said he is entering his fifth year in the Marines but has not decided if he will make it a career.

"If I do stay, I'm going to go the officer route," he said.

Ellie