Marine of the Week: Gunnery Sgt. Juan J. Rodriguez-Chavez
Assigned to the security element while other members of his team led two platoons of Afghan National Security Forces into Ganjgal Village for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Then-Staff Sergeant Rodriguez-Chavez heard over the radio that the dismounted patrol was ambushed by roughly fifty enemy fighters in fortified positions. With four members of his team in immediate danger of being surrounded, he drove a gun-truck, with one other Marine as his gunner, forward into the kill zone of a well prepared ambush. With only the machine gun fires of his gunner to suppress the enemy, he ignored heavy enemy fires and drove the vehicle into the kill zone three times to cover the withdrawal of the combined force and evacuate two dozen members of the Afghan National Security Forces. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, he made a fourth trip into the deepest point of the kill zone in another gun-truck with three other U.S. personnel to recover the bodies of the fallen team members. He positioned his vehicle to shield the U.S. members from the intense enemy fire as they dismounted to recover their bodies. By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and selfless dedication to duty, Staff Sergeant Rodriguez-Chavez reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.