- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (AP) - The Marine Corps said Tuesday that a gunnery sergeant will receive the service’s second-highest award for enduring heavy assault in Afghanistan while his team leader and another Marine were ushered to safety after being shot and seriously wounded.

Brian C. Jacklin, 32, will be awarded the Navy Cross on Thursday at Camp Pendleton, becoming the eighth person in the Marine Special Operations Command to receive the honor since the unit was formed in 2006.

The Los Angeles native was second in command of a team that came under attack in the Upper Gereshk Valley of Helmand province in 2012. After his team leader and another Marine suffered life-threatening injuries, he established communications with a nearby unit.

“Without hesitation, Jacklin seized control of the situation and orchestrated a counterattack,” the Marines said. “He courageously led his team out of their compound and through open terrain in order to secure a landing zone. Jacklin remained in the open, raining M203 grenades on the enemy and directing the fires of his team, until the aircraft could land and evacuate the wounded.”

Jacklin, a critical-skills operator with the Pendleton-based 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, voluntarily stayed after his unit was replaced, the Marine Corps said. During a battle that raged through the next day, he provided key intelligence, offered tactical assistance and made “deadly accurate” shots.

The Navy Cross is the Navy and Marine Corps’ second-highest valor award after the Medal of Honor and must be approved by the secretary of the Navy.

Also Thursday, Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commander of the Marine Special Operations Command, will award the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device to Gunnery Sgt. William C. Simpson IV, Staff Sgt. Christopher Buckminster, Staff Sgt. Hafeez B. Hussein, Sgt. William P. Hall and Sgt. David E. Harris, all critical-skills operators. The Marine Corps said they “boldly displayed their courage and gallantry during the same engagement as Jacklin.”

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