MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- “The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to 1st Lt. Brian M. Stann, United States Marine Corps,” were the words starting the Silver Star presentation ceremony here March 10.
All of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment gathered together as the commanding general of 2nd Marine Division presented Stann, Weapons Company commander, with his Silver Star Medal, honoring him for his actions and bravery during Operation Matador last year in Iraq.
“This award represents my guys,” the Scranton, Pa. native explained. “It’s an insight to what my men did over there. There were a lot of our guys who received awards from our group when we were out there, not just me.”
Stann was the 2nd Mobile Assault Platoon leader with Weapons Company when everything started happening during the operation. From May 8 to 14, 2005, Stann led his men into battle, where their mission was to seize a bridge near Karabilah, Iraq. Three different times, he negotiated four kilometers to maintain their position from enemy attacks. However, on the third time through, the enemy had set up an ambush for the Marines.
Although ambushed, Stann called in close air support and direct fire from tanks while taking on over 30 rocket-propelled grenade attacks, multiple machine guns firing, and improvised explosive devices detonating.
“When we began, it was a big fight, but as the days went on, we began to use more of our assets,” Stann explained. “We called in close air support and used tanks and dealt a big blow to the enemy.”
Stann was in a 360-degree fight and was setting up casualty evacuation points after they were hit by suicide IEDs. All of this would not have been possible if it were not for the hard work of his men in the sheer face of danger, explained Stann.
“He [Stann] has great strength of character and endurance, which was shown when everything happened over a week and he kept on going,” explained Maj. Gen Richard Huck, 2nd Marine Division’s commanding general, after he presented Stann his award. “It doesn’t even capture all that happened.”
Stann is a Naval Academy graduate and a former linebacker for their football team. There he learned what it took to complete a mission with a team, a lesson that would come in handy in the Corps.
He was only with his men for a few months before they deployed to Iraq. Stann’s main goal was to bring his entire group of Marines home from Iraq.
“You can forget all the other medals; I just wanted the award that said 42 out of 42 men came home safely,” Stann explained. “And we all came home, so mission accomplished.”
Stann was put into the position of company executive officer after serving as the MAP leader. Since returning home from Iraq, he has been put into the position as company commander. Stann’s experiences as a leader while in combat have now prepared him to lead all of his men as preparation for another deployment later this year.