Photo Information

(left to right) Sgt. Maj. Gene Overstreet, 12th Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps, President of the Non-Commissioned Officer Association, Collin L. Younger, Shelia Frazier, and Sgt. Maj. Lee Bonar, Manpower Management Division, Headquarters of the Marine Corps, stand with Sgt. Gil C. Frazier, squad leader for 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division after he received the Vanguard Award for his heroic actions during his deployment to Marjah, Afghanistan.

Photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

Marine Sergeant earns Vanguard award for valor in combat

8 Aug 2011 | Lance Cpl. Walter D. Marino II 2nd Marine Division

While working in the coal mines of Hyden, Kentucky, Gil C. Frazier decided he would join the Marine Corps. Four years and two deployments later, Sgt. Frazier is recognized as an American hero.

“We always had his back and he had ours,” said Lance Cpl. Joshua T. Paul, a fellow rifle man during their deployment with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine regiment, 2nd Marine Division. “He was brave; he never said no to a mission.”

During their deployment to Marjah, Afghanistan, Frazier led Marines into a village with a known insurgent presence, looking for weapons caches. Immediately, they received enemy fire.

“It felt good that he was on our side, thankfully,” said Paul jokingly. “He always knew what to do.”

After forcing the enemy to flee, Frazier’s unit proceeded to check the area for improvised explosive devices and weapons caches when their squad was engaged again, this time by a reinforced enemy. Frazier led his squad which gained fire superiority and killed two insurgents. As squad leader, Frazier distributed supplies and maneuvered his forces on the persistent enemy.

Despite this, the fight continued for many hours, and one Marine was shot in the head. When the Marine could not breath, Frazier performed an emergency tracheotomy while simultaneously directing his squad and air assets. With a casualty and almost out of ammo, Frazier pushed his squad to move the enemy out of the area and linked with reinforcements.

“Even when Scot (the wounded Marine) was hit, he didn’t freeze,” said Paul. “We were all close, but he maintained composure and directed everyone.”

Frazier was awarded both the Bronze Star and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device for his actions that day. He was also awarded the Vanguard Award from the Non-Commissioned Officer Association, for his work during that day and the entirety of their deployment.

Though Frazier has seen much danger, Frazier says he loves the Marine Corps, thoroughly enjoys teaching Marines and would like to do a full twenty years of service.

“The only way I won’t stay in the Marine Corps is if they medically retire me, and if they did that, they would break my heart,” said Frazier. In the future, the veteran leader said he hopes to get back to the fight in Afghanistan, but if not possible, he would like to teach Marines at the school of infantry.

“It’s not the medals or the rank, said the 29 year old Frazier. “It’s taking that 19 year-old kid, that junior Marine, and training him and training him. And when you see them on the battlefield performing perfectly, that’s what’s rewarding. You build them up to where they have confidence, and they will be hard to beat.”