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Justin D. LeHew

Date of birth: January 2, 1970
Place of Birth: Ohio, Columbus Grove
Home of record: Temecula California

Justin LeHew served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In October 1996, he graduated Drill Instructor School at MCRD San Diego. He earned the Navy Cross for his heroism in Iraq in 2003 and, one year later when his award was approved and scheduled for presentation, First Sergeant LeHew was back in Iraq on his second tour. He was selected for the rank of Sergeant Major in November 2006, and subsequently deployed yet again to Iraq as Battalion Sergeant Major of the First Reconnaissance Battalion.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Navy Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Gunnery Sergeant Justin D. LeHew, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Amphibious Assault Platoon Sergeant, Company A, First Battalion, Second Marines, Task Force Tarawa, First Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 23 and 24 March 2003. As Regimental Combat Team 2 attacked north towards An Nasiriyah, Iraq, lead elements of the Battalion came under heavy enemy fire. When the beleaguered United States Army 507th Maintenance Company convoy was spotted in the distance, Gunnery Sergeant LeHew and his crew were dispatched to rescue the soldiers. Under constant enemy fire, he led the rescue team to the soldiers. With total disregard for his own welfare, he assisted the evacuation effort of four soldiers, two of whom were critically wounded. While still receiving enemy fire, he climbed back into his vehicle and immediately began suppressing enemy infantry. During the subsequent company attack on the eastern bridge over the Euphrates River, Gunnery Sergeant LeHew continuously exposed himself to withering enemy fire during the three-hour urban firefight. His courageous battlefield presence inspired his Marines to fight a determined foe and allowed him to position his platoon's heavy machine guns to repel numerous waves of attackers. In the midst of the battle, an Amphibious Assault Vehicle was destroyed, killing or wounding all its occupants. Gunnery Sergeant LeHew immediately moved to recover the nine Marines. He again exposed himself to a barrage of fire as he worked for nearly an hour recovering casualties from the wreckage. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Gunnery Sergeant LeHew reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: March 23 & 24, 2003

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: Gunnery Sergeant

Company: Company A

Battalion: 1st Battalion

Regiment: 2d Marines

Division: Task Force Tarawa, 1st MEF

Bronze Star

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Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" to First Sergeant Justin D. LeHew, United States Marine Corps, for heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as Company First Sergeant, Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), I Marine Expeditionary Force from 5 to 27 August 2004, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II. While defending against a Mahdi Militia attack on Iraqi security forces, the Company came under intense mortar, rocket, sniper, and machine-gun fire at Revolutionary Square, in the heart of Najaf, Iraq. First Sergeant LeHew fearlessly moved about the battlefield to points of contact. On three occasions, he directed the fires of vehicle-mounted weapons against enemy snipers and militia attempting to penetrate the rear lines of the Company. For six hours, he repeatedly moved back and forth under heavy sniper fire and mortar attack, ensuring safety and inspiring Marines. During heavy fighting in the Najaf cemetery, he moved to assist in the treatment and evacuation of nine wounded Marines and three killed in action. His timely decision-making made the difference between life and death for two of these Marines. Throughout this 22-day battle, his decisive leadership and courage against a determined foe inspired the Marines under his charge and led the Battalion's assault deep into enemy territory. By his zealous initiative, courageous actions, and exceptional dedication to duty, First Sergeant LeHew reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: August 5 - 27, 2004

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Sergeant

Company: Company C

Regiment: Battalion Landing Team 1/4

Division: 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I MEF