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Marine Captain scheduled to receive Silver Star for saving linguist’s life in Iraq


Marine officers Major Robert S. Weiler and Capt. Christopher J. Bronzi display their Silver Star Awards after a ceremony where they both were presented the  honor by 1st Marine Division commanding general Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski at Camp Pendleton Dec. 13. The Marine officers from 2nd Battalion , 4th Marines, 5th Marine Regiment received their award for their actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II last year. When isolated and outnumbered, Bronzi commanded his Marines from a rooftop in a deadly assault which contributed to the elimination of 250 insurgents. Weiler led the quick reaction force that aided Bronzi while he was cornered and directed his men on various occasions to counterattack the enemy while facing a barrage of bullets.

Following a Department of Defense-wide review of nearly 1,400 combat valor awards issued since 2001, a Marine will have his Bronze Star, the fourth-highest combat award, upgraded to a Silver Star in a ceremony Thursday.

Capt. Andrew Kim will be awarded the Silver Star by Assistant Commandant Gen. Glenn Walters at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in California.

On Aug. 6, 2003, Kim, a sergeant at the time, was assigned to 1st Marine Division’s Task Force Scorpion. He had been conducting operations with his team chief when another Iraqi man approached, pulled out a pistol, and shot the team chief in the neck, according to the release. Kim responded immediately, killing the attacker.

Despite his wounds, he made his way to the fallen team chief, loading him into a vehicle, and began to drive him away from the fight. Although five Iraqis in a white pickup truck chased Kim’s vehicle and subjected it to “intense volleys of enemy fire,” he was able to join a light armored reconnaissance security force and direct a counterattack, with deadly results.

“Kim’s gallantry and effectiveness under fire saved the lives of all those conducting the mission,” according to Military.com “By his bold initiative, undaunted courage and complete dedication to duty, Kim reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

Kim is the fifth Marine to receive an upgraded combat award as a result of the Pentagon’s review, Military.com reports.

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