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California Briefing / Twentynine Palms

Marine awarded the Navy Cross

March 28, 2009|Tony Perry

The Navy Cross, a decoration for bravery that is second only to the Medal of Honor, was awarded Friday to Marine Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson for saving the lives of Marines during a firefight in Afghanistan.

Gustafson, 22, from Eagan, Minn., continued to fire at the enemy during an insurgent ambush despite being seriously wounded. He lost the lower part of his right leg and now walks with a prosthesis.

A turret gunner on an armored vehicle, Gustafson helped his colleagues escape the "kill zone" and refused to be evacuated until Marines were out of danger.

Bleeding profusely, Gustafson "braved the effects of shock and reloaded his weapon twice, firing more than 400 rounds before he allowed himself to be pulled from the turret to receive medical treatment," according to the citation signed by Navy Secretary Donald Winter.

Gustafson was part of the Twentynine Palms-based 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment.

-- Tony Perry

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