MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The average day of a Marine deployed to a combat zone is filled with dangerous situations. Marines prepare on a daily basis to ensure that each situation is handled skillfully and diligently. Today’s Marines face tough and unexpected situations on a daily basis in combat zones throughout the world in the Global War on Terrorism.
Staff Sgt. John M. Kennedy of Junction City, Ohio, was awarded the Purple Heart medal here, July 25, for wounds received while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.
On June 8, Kennedy and several Marines acting as a reaction force were escorting a small explosive ordinance disposal team to a potential Improvised Explosive Device site in the Al Anbar province of Iraq. While the convoy moved through the city an IED exploded beneath their vehicle.
“Our platoon was the reaction force for the battalion,” Kennedy explained. “We were escorting the EOD team in a convoy to another site when an explosion went off. Our vehicle was in flames and shrapnel from the IED flew everywhere.”
The reaction force, meant as a safe escort for the EOD team traveling to prevent an IED from taking lives, suffered from the very threat they were out to prevent.
Unfortunately, one Marine gave his life and another was severely injured. Kennedy received shrapnel wounds and suffered burns to the right side of his face, right arm and a finger on his left hand.
The Corps spoke to Kennedy at a young age when he was looking for a sense of purpose and excitement.
Kennedy graduated from New Lexington High School in 1993 where he dreamed of an adventurous life where he could see the world.
He joined the Marine Corps 12 years ago for the exciting life of a Marine and now plans on seeing where the Corps takes him next.
Kennedy is still recovering, but despite his injuries he is planning for his future.
“I’m making the Marine Corps a career,” Kennedy explained. “I hope to make it to the rank of sergeant major someday.”