MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- When Marines encounter tough situations, they can fall back on training, but basic preparation sometimes isn’t enough. A Marine’s survival instinct combined with combat training could make a Marine an effective force in any situation.
Sergeant Anthony J. Gantt of Miami is a prime example of an effectively trained Marine and he was awarded the Bronze Star medal with a combat distinguishing device Oct. 31, for actions performed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served as a tank commander with 2nd Platoon, Company A, 2nd Tank Battalion.
During a combat operation, Gantt led a breach force through severely restricted terrain while under rocket-propelled grenade fire. With low visibility and under intense enemy fire, he used his night vision goggles to guide the tank to a target site, enabling the breaching force to fire its mine clearing line charges. Upon completion of the breach, his tank was the lead element into another city.
Two days later, the tank received intense enemy small arms, machine gun, rocket-propelled grenade and anti-tank fire. A shoulder-fired anti-tank missile penetrated the tank’s armor. The impact disabled his radios and wounded the gunner. Choking on smoke and unable to contact his wingman, he navigated his tank through several alleys until he reached him.
Still receiving fire, he pulled the gunner from the turret and directed the loader to return fire with his pistol as he administered first aid.
Gantt credits some of his success to the training he received before deploying to Iraq.
“Many weeks prior to the deployment were spent doing last minute training so we knew what the insurgents might throw our way,” Gantt said.
Training wasn’t the only factor that led to Gantt’s success.
“Tank battalion is a close-knit community,” Gantt said. I care about them all. If something goes wrong we do everything we can to keep each other safe.”