MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The Silver Star is the third-highest military honor a service member can receive, and it’s not everyday the prestigious accolade is awarded. Cpl. Christian A. Brown, a former squad leader with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, received the esteemed medal May 3.
Friends, family and Marines from 1st battalion, 6th Marines filled the 2nd Marine Logistics Group Amphitheater to witness Brown receive his Silver Star.
Brown, a Munford, Tenn., native, was awarded the Silver Star for his heroic actions while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
On December 7, 2011, Brown’s squad was attacked while on a patrol. During the intense firefight, Brown ordered two Marines to move to a different location in order to gain the advantage against the attacking insurgents.
During the two Marines’ movement, one was critically wounded in the head by insurgent fire. Brown instantly radioed in the medical evacuation and led his squad to the designated landing zone while taking heavy fire.
The helicopter was unable to land due to the attacking insurgents, and Brown identified an alternate landing zone 400 meters away. He carried the injured Marine the final 300 meters while still under heavy fire.
After assuring the Marine was safely evacuated, Brown and his squad returned to the firefight until fire ceased.
The crowd gave a roaring ovation for Brown, who lost both of his legs in an unrelated incident, when he stood to receive his Silver Star.
“Brown had only been a squad leader for about a week at the time of the action,” said Brig. Gen. James Lukeman, commanding general of 2nd Marine Division. “He got the squad leader job by just being the guy - being the one people naturally follow. He is a natural leader with physical courage and competence.”
Lukeman praised Brown for his constant motivation and leadership, including a story of when Brown inspected the commanding general’s gear before going on a patrol in Afghanistan.
“It’s not surprising to me that when faced with extraordinary circumstances, he acted the way he did,” said Lukeman.
“I’m very humbled,” said Brown. “I’ve had the opportunity to serve with some very good Marines.”
People lined up by the dozens to personally thank Brown for his actions, and he was happy to see some old friends from his deployment.
“Brown is just a force of personality,” said Lukeman. “Ask anyone in Wounded Warrior Regiment and they’ll say the same thing. Even after losing his legs, he continues to lead, mentor and train other Marines and sailors.”
Brown’s personal awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, “General Kvinitaze” Georgian Achievement Medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. He is currently with Wounded Warrior Battalion East, Marine Corps Detachment Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Before the ceremony ended, Brown had a final message for the Marines in formation.
“I was once standing where all of you are in the battalion,” said Brown. “You all are like family to me. Those of you I don’t know, I’m proud of you as well for putting on this uniform and doing our nation’s bidding. I appreciate everything you all do.”