MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The average day of a Marine deployed to a combat zone is anything but average. As the Global War on Terrorism rages on, Marines find themselves facing tough situations and decisions on a daily basis. With the lives of fellow Marines on the line, the ultimate goal is to return Marines home alive.
Gunnery Sgt. Gordon R. Hill Jr. of Los Fresnos, Texas was awarded the Bronze Star medal with combat distinguishing device for Valor here, Aug. 5, for his actions taken while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
While assigned as platoon sergeant of 3rd mobile assault platoon, weapons company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Hill was in charge of evacuating casualties out of Fallujah Nov. 9 of 2004.
While mounted in gun trucks en route to a casualty, one of Hill’s Marines were critically wounded by enemy fire. The Marine was pinned down in an open field by small enemy fire, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades from multiple positions. Another Marine who ran to the aid of his wounded comrade was also injured and pinned down by enemy fire.
Hill left his covered position and ran to the area where the Marines were trapped. He silenced one enemy position with a hand grenade and suppressed another with his M-4 rifle while directing fire from a heavy machine gun into a third enemy position. Once the enemy positions were suppressed, he ran to the injured Marines, firing at the enemy as he went. He dragged the most seriously injured Marine to safety, again firing as he went. After more Marines arrived to help and the casualty was loaded into a vehicle, he ran back into the open and retrieved the wounded Marines rifle.
“Hearing that makes me proud to be a Marine and wear the same uniform,” said Maj. Lew Vogler, battalion executive officer. “When the chips were down he dealt with it.”
Hill modestly praises the other Marines who were out there with him.
“This award could not have happened without the team effort,” Hill said frankly. “I’m just glad I was able to be there for other Marines.”
Other Marines with the assault platoon were recommended for awards for their courageous actions and dedication to duty.
Hills family was also in attendance including his father, Gordon R. Hill Sr., his fiancé Wendy Anderson, her daughter Jenna, and Hills son, Avery who shyly said he was happy to be there and proud of his father.
Hill served 16 years knowing he would make the Marine Corps his career. Now he plans on finishing out his career content that he accomplished his goals.
“I joined in 1989 and all I ever wanted to do was be a sniper,” Hill explained. “In 1993 I became a sniper and I was an instructor after that. I helped save lives. I’ve done everything I have wanted to do in the Marine Corps.”