“We will all come home together,” then Captain Ryan Cohen screamed to his men just before they faced the toughest fighting they would see in their military careers.
Before a large military operation, a commanding officer has the task of motivating and mentally preparing his troops for what they are about to endure.
In 2010, Cohen was the Commanding Officer of Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2, FIRST Marine Division, and was tasked with taking his men into an area of Afghanistan that had not had a US military presence in years.
Knowing his Marines were going to be tested and possible fall in battle, he assured them he was going to be right by their side.
“You will do your unit proud, you will do your country proud, don’t let fear get in that brain of yours,” he said.
“The enemy is not ten feet tall, he’s 4′ 2″, he has a short reach, and you’re going to f*** him up!”
While promises before battle are not always guaranteed, Cohen was able to keep his -leading his company to victory on the battlefield, for which he was awarded the Silver Star.
“During numerous engagements with enemy forces, Captain Cohen disregarded enemy fire to provide front-line leadership, his medal citation reads.
“On 23 June 2010, in Southern Musa Qulah, his force came under heavy machine gun and mortar fire. With rounds impacting around his position, he personally led his Marines into the fire to assault the enemy position. Repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire to locate their positions, he coordinated air support while leading the assault.
His fearless actions under fire eliminated the enemy position, an estimated 20 enemy fighters. On 20 July 2010, while seizing key terrain near the Helmand River, Captain Cohen’s Marines were stopped by withering enemy machine gun and mortar fire.
With complete disregard for his own safety, he calmly moved through the fire and encouraged his Marines to assault the enemy. He then grabbed a Marine and personally led him through enemy fire to a firing position, and directed a shoulder launched missile strike on the enemy’s machine gun position.
His bold act silenced the enemy fire and enabled his Marines to continue their mission. His battlefield valor continuously inspired his Marines to overcome enemy resistance and accomplish their mission.
By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Captain Cohen reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
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