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Sgt. Mirza Fejzic, a 22-year-old Hackettstown, N.J., native, stands before Maj. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin during Fejzic?s award ceremony. He was awarded the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device for heroic actions while serving as a squad leader in Company G, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Zahn

Hackettstown, N.J., native awarded Bronze Star for heroic leadership in Iraq

22 Jun 2006 | Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Zahn

A Marine from 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment was awarded the fourth highest military award within the Department of Defense.

Sgt. Mirza Fejzic, a 22-year-old, Hackettstown, N.J., native, was awarded the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device in a ceremony here, June 22. 

He was presented with the award for heroic actions while serving as a squad leader for 3rd platoon, Company G. On Oct. 26, 2005, Fejzic and a fire-team from his squad were manning the Iraqi Police station as part of their company’s regular security rotation. The IP station came under heavy fire from approximately 30 insurgents, firing from several different directions.

Fejzic reacted swiftly as bullets and rocket-propelled grenades impacted the building.
“Sgt. Fejzic reacted right away,” said Cpl. Jack E. Smith, the fire-team leader. “We both looked at each other and then he started barking orders, telling people where to go, where to shoot.”

With only five Marines and two Iraqi Army soldiers firing back, Fejzic knew he was severely undermanned. He tried to get the Iraqi Police into the fight, but they protested saying all they had were pistols and the armory holding their rifles was locked.

“I saw him run over and basically kick the door to the armory in trying to get the IPs into the fight, but they still wouldn’t.” said Smith, a 31-year-old Tampa, Fla., native.

Knowing he was dealing with a lost cause, Fejzic concentrated on his Marines and repelling the assault. He raced around the station checking on his Marines, calling for the quick-reaction force and providing suppressing fire.

“You don’t think about what you should be doing, you just do it,” Fejzic added. “All my training just kicked in, and I got the job done. Now I know why we do things a million times over in training.”

Fejzic, now safely back here with the experience behind him, reflected on receiving the Bronze Star, an award he never thought he would get.

“I was definitely surprised,” he said. “I don’t think I did anything too crazy, I just did my job.”

The experience gave Fejzic the opportunity to do something he had been training for his whole Marine Corps career.

“I had the time of my life,” he added with a smile on his face. “That is every grunts dream, to do something like that with your Marines.”