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Marine to receive Navy Cross for bravery in Afghanistan

Lance Cpl. Richard Weinmaster, 20, used his body to protect his squad leader and other Marines from the blast of an enemy grenade. The Nebraska native is based in Twentynine Palms.

August 20, 2009|Tony Perry

A Marine based in Twentynine Palms is set to receive the Navy Cross today for bravery during combat in Afghanistan.

Lance Cpl. Richard Weinmaster, 20, of Cozad, Neb., was part of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment deployed last year to break the Taliban's hold on Helmand Province.

On a July 8 foot patrol, Weinmaster's squad was ambushed. Weinmaster used his body to protect his squad leader and other Marines from the blast of an enemy grenade.

Although seriously wounded, he continued to fire at the attackers, forcing them to flee. Only then did Weinmaster collapse from his injuries. He is credited with saving the lives of several Marines.

For Marines, the Navy Cross is second to the Medal of Honor in recognition of exceptional bravery.

During its seven-month deployment, the regiment lost 17 Marines, one Navy corpsman, an Army soldier and an Afghan translator. More than 150 troops in the battalion were wounded or injured.

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tony.perry@latimes.com

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