Gunny gets Silver Star for gallantry
By Lance Cpl. Patrick J. Floto
| Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | November 30, 2005
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
First Lt. Christopher D. Ayres and possibly 13 more Marines from his platoon would not be alive today had it not been for the heroic and selfless actions of Gunnery Sgt. Ismael Sagredo.
The 37-year-old from Lansing, Mich., was awarded the Silver Star during a ceremony here Nov. 30.
“We were all caught in a pretty bad situation,” said Ayres, the platoon commander of 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. “It’s hard to put in words just how thankful I am for what he did that day.”
On the morning of April 13, 2004, elements of 2nd Platoon became isolated deep in enemy territory after pursuing the insurgents that were firing harassing shots earlier that morning.
“There were 13 Marines in an (Assault Amphibious Vehicle) heading down a narrow road in the middle of Fallujah (Iraq),” recalled platoon sergeant with Company B Sagredo. “We started taking rounds and one pierced the engine, slowing down the (AAV) and drenching the Marines inside with oil and hydraulic fluid.”
Realizing the dire nature of the situation, Sagredo urged the AAV crewmembers to push the vehicle as far as it could go while taking heavy small-arms fire with rocket-propelled grenades.
“If we would have stopped there, we would not be here today,” Sagredo said.
Before evacuating the AAV, Sagredo spotted a nearby house and ordered the Marines to take cover in there and lay down suppressing fire. Sagredo himself stayed put in the AAV to ensure all Marines were out of the burning AAV.
Sagredo exposed himself to the enemy in order to move wounded Ayres from the AAV to the safety of the house.
“(Sagredo) is my hero,” said Renee Ayres. “He doesn’t admit it but he is.”
Despite continuous rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire, Sagredo moved from position to position to establish radio contact with the quick reaction force, according to his award citation. His leadership and calm demeanor under fire reassured the Marines and inspired them as they ran low on ammunition, said the citation.
The citation said Sagredo’s perseverance was instrumental in gaining radio contact and directing the quick reaction force to his position. Once the reaction force arrived, Sagredo moved with complete disregard for his own safety until his platoon commander was evacuated, the AAV recovered, and all forces moved to safe positions.
“A lot of Marines out there have done so much more than me,” Sagredo said. “All we did was go in and do our jobs as we were trained while trying to get everyone out alive.”