HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- Sacramento, Calif., native Petty Officer 2nd Class Morgan B. Bradley, received the opportunity of a lifetime as he was combat meritoriously promoted here by the Chief of Naval Operations Jan. 3.
The Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael Mullen, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott stepped off a helicopter and made their way to an awaiting formation of corpsmen from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. They shook hands and talked with each of the corpsmen, thanking them for serving in Iraq.
“It was a great opportunity for the senior members of the Navy to recognize the corpsmen operating here,” said Chief Petty Officer Robert A. White, senior medical department representative for the battalion.
Then Bradley, a corpsman with the battalion’s Mobile Assault Platoon, was called to the front of his peers where Mullen addressed them about their mission while deployed here. He commented on the future of the Navy operating at the dam and the outstanding performance of the corpsmen, like Bradley, while attached to the Marines.
“You should be proud of him; he is a reflection of the kind of people we have representing the Navy,” Mullen said. “Your reputation is what makes the Navy what it is today.”
Attention to orders was called as the top naval officer then read aloud the promotion warrant making Bradley a petty officer second class. Mullen pinned the new chevrons on Bradley’s utilities, had him recite the “Sailor’s Creed” and shook his hand congratulating him.
“It’s not everyday you actually get to meet the (Chief of Naval Operations), let alone be promoted by him,” said Bradley, a 2002 Wood Creek High School graduate. “It is something I will never forget.”
Included in the warrant was a summary of action, stating a major reason why he was chosen for combat meritorious promotion through a new program to promote deserving corpsmen working with the Marine Corps. Bradley was one of seven corpsmen in the entire Fleet Marine Force to be promoted during the last quarter.
“The program began this year, recognizing corpsmen for their actions while in combat,” commented White, a Los Angeles native. “The board is based completely on combat scenarios, nothing done in garrison impacts the board’s decision.”
The majority of the package submitted for the board in Bradley’s case consisted of his action during the battle for Fallujah in November 2004. While taking enemy fire and risking his own life to help wounded Marines, Bradley earned the Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V” device.
“From what I heard, the reason why I got a Navy Commendation Medal is the same reason I got meritoriously promoted,” stated 21-year-old Bradley. “It is pretty rare to be combat meritoriously promoted; I don’t know any other corpsmen that this has happened to.”
Mullen also paid a visit to the Marine-based Dam Security Unit operating here. The DSU is a company of Marines operating boats to provide security in the waters of both the Euphrates River and Lake Qadisiyah.
“The main reason for him coming out here is to help the Navy make a smooth transition to riverine warfare when they replace us in the near future,” commented Maj. Joe E. Cleary, the DSU officer in charge.
According to Mullen, the DSU will become a unit operated by the Navy in a little more than a year. With the decommissioning of the Marine Corps’ Small Craft Company, the Navy will be the ones to provide security to the waterways, much like they did during the Vietnam War.