MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, native received the Bronze Star, with combat distinguishing device, here March 15, for his achievements in connection with combat operations in Iraq, while serving with the Military Transition Team, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
Master Sgt. John C. Dick, operations chief of division communications and data, G-6, 2nd Marine Division, received the award during a ceremony in the division commander’s briefing room.
The Bronze Star Medal is a U.S. military decoration awarded for acts of merit, bravery or service deemed meritorious. The combat distinguishing device indicates a decoration awarded recognizing a valorous act performed during direct combat with the enemy.
Maj. David E. Richardson, who served in Iraq with Dick, honored him by pinning the decoration on his uniform.
According to the citation, Dick received the award for his “heroic achievement” in combat, while serving as communications advisor, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Iraqi Intervention Force, during combat operations in the city of Ar Ramadi in the Al Anbar province of Iraq from Jan. 19, to Aug. 18, 2006.
The award citation states that “while advising Iraqi soldiers searching a health clinic, his unit was attacked by enemy forces using small arms, medium machine guns, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades.”
“The amount of fire-power they hit us with is what really stands out in my mind, even to this day,” explained Dick. “At that point I was feeling fear, just from the fact that they were hitting us with everything they had.”
Dick and his unit were caught in a heavy cross fire, and he took action to combat the enemy, assist the Iraqi soldiers in attacking and coordinating with adjacent forces.
“Most of the teams were still inside the health clinic and we were in the courtyard getting it from all sides, so we had to get to higher ground to get a positive identification,” Dick said
From an over-watch position Dick braved enemy fire from anti-coalition forces and provided tactical direction to Iraqi soldiers delivering cover fire for a patrol withdrawing from the ambush. The coalition forces were successful and later determined they had disrupted a planned attack on the government center.
Iraqi and Marine forces netted three Multi-National Force-West high value targets, a large arms cache and grid coordinates for targeted coalition facilities, which is due partly to Dick’s selfless service.
“Our master sergeant held us together out there,” Richardson said. “People like him are what made us so successful, and he couldn’t be more deserving of this decoration.”
Dick’s peers, co-workers and friends accompanied him during the ceremony.
"Receiving this (Bronze Star) makes me proud of the men I led, what we did over there and how successful we were,” Dick said. “I just want to get back out there and get the job done.”