Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Mattis Urged To Consider Award Upgrade For Marine Officer's Heroic Last Stand
Congressman Duncan Hunter, Republican from California, has sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis asking him to upgrade a Silver Star award to a Navy Cross for Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion in light of what he called "new material evidence."
Manion was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his actions while serving on a Military Transition Team in Iraq on April 29, 2007. According to his original award citation, Manion exposed himself to enemy fire while attempting to cover wounded Marines as they took fire from three sides, drawing insurgent fire away from the wounded until he himself was shot by an enemy sniper.
He was originally recommended for the Navy Cross before ultimately being awarded the Silver Star, the third highest award for valor.
Evidence supporting an upgrade, according to Hunter, includes a signed witness statement from Staff Sgt. Paul D. Petty, who wrote after the battle that Manion continued to fire between 210 and 300 rounds from his M4 carbine and an M203 grenade launcher at the enemy even after he was mortally wounded.
That information was apparently not included in his original award recommendation, according to Ryan Manion, the Marine's sister, who now serves as president of the Travis Manion Foundation.
Petty closed his statement by saying that Manion's "well-aimed precision fire, decisive leadership, and selfless action aided in the preservation of life and helped counter the ambush." This added to Manion's original award narrative, which said the officer "ultimately saved the lives of every member of his patrol."
"He was originally put in for a Navy Cross, so there's definitely been 10 years of wondering why [his award] was downgraded," Ryan Manion said. "I'm glad that there is a review being done to find that out, especially with this new evidence ... and I'm hopeful that this can eventually be upgraded."
A former Marine officer himself, Rep. Hunter has often taken up the cause of reviewing military awards. In 2011, he asked the Pentagon to look into possible upgrades for service members that may have been overlooked for higher awards, to include Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe. He's also pushed to upgrade the Navy Cross to a Medal of Honor for Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta.
In an email statement, Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Michael P. Cody confirmed receipt of Hunter's letter, but added that since "the information-gathering process could take some time, it is too soon to say what the outcome of the request will be."
This article was updated with comment from the Pentagon 7/16 2:13 p.m. PDT.
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday he and the Pentagon will comply with House Democrats' impeachment inquiry subpoena, but it'll be on their own schedule.
"We will do everything we can to cooperate with the Congress," Esper said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Just in the last week or two, my general counsel sent out a note — as we typically do in these situations — to ensure documents are retained."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.