Lake Hopatcong, N.J. native awarded Bronze Star
2nd Marine Division
Story by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (March 14, 2006) -- Families, friends and fellow Marines gathered to see a Lake Hopatcong, N.J. native awarded the Bronze Star Medal March 13 for his actions during combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Capt. Frank Diorio, a 1996 Notre Dame graduate, received the award in a ceremony here for his tour of duty as the company commander of Company I, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment in Husaybah, Iraq from February to September 2005.

The 33-year-old Marine led his company in over 275 engagements at Camp Gannon firm base.

On April 11, insurgents launched an attack against the firm base using small arms fire, rocket propelled grenades and three suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.

For several hours, the enemy continued the well-organized assault with intense, sporadic firefights that continued for the next three days.

Diorio’s quick reactions, concise orders and sound decisions enabled his company to repel the enemy attack while inflicting a high number of casualties.

No Marines from the company were killed during the attack.

After the attack, he directed the construction of improved fortifications to prevent further attacks and led offensive operations that disrupted the enemy in Husaybah.

He was also able to work persistently and patiently with local leaders and a militia to resist the insurgency and foreign fighters.

Diorio did not take all the credit for his company’s success in Iraq. He explained that this award belongs to his entire company.

“The images of my Marines fighting together as a company will stay with me for ever,” he explained. “This is India Company’s award.”

Diorio, now an officer with 6th Marine Regiment’s training and operations section, is looking forward to receiving orders to be an instructor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., but explained that no matter where he goes in life, his time with the Marines of Company I will always be on his mind.

“I’ll never forget my time with India Company,” he said. “I’m honored to say that I served with those Marines and sailors out there.”