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IRAQ: Slain Marines awarded Navy Cross

Navycross Two young Marines will be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for stopping a terrorist attack on a Marine and Iraqi police outpost in Ramadi and saving dozens of lives, the Marine Corps announced today.

Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, 19, of Sag Harbor, N.Y., and Cpl. Jonathan Yale, 21, of Burkeville, Va., were standing guard on April 22 when a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives barreled toward the outpost's main gate.

Haerter and Yale, following Marine training, fired at the truck. As the truck rolled to a stop, it exploded, killing the pair, demolishing a nearby mosque and house, and leaving a crater 20 feet in diameter and 5  feet deep.

Security film showed that the two Marines never flinched as they continued to fire at the truck, according to an investigation by the Marine Corps. "Both Marines were killed still firing their weapons," said Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the top Marine in Iraq.

Three Marines, eight Iraqi officers and 24 civilians -- all more than 100 yards from the blast -- were injured.  An additional 50 Marines and dozens of Iraqi police officers, in a barracks farther from the gate, were unhurt. 

"I have a son back home, and I know if that truck would've made it to where it was going -- I wouldn't be here today," Lance Cpl. Lawrence Tillery said after the attack. "Because of Lance Cpl. Haerter and Cpl. Yale, I will be able to see my son again. They gave me that opportunity."

Haerterx Haerter was with the 1st Battalion, 9th Regiment; Yale with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment. Both were attached to Regimental Combat Team One from Camp Pendleton. Yale’s family said he was within weeks of coming home.

Yale The Navy Cross is the nation's second highest award for bravery by Marines or sailors in combat. While there have been other Navy Cross awards during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the bravery of Haerter and Yale was unusual because it was captured on film and seen by numerous witnesses.

"For their dedication, they lost their lives," Kelly said at the Marine base in Al Asad. "Only two families had their hearts broken on April 22 rather than as many as 50. These families will never know how truly close they came to a knock on the door that night."

-- Tony Perry in Al Asad, Iraq

Photo (top): The Navy Cross. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Photos: (bottom): Jordan Haerter, left, and Jonathan Yale were awarded the medal posthumously. Credit: Marine Corps

Comments () | Archives (12)

Today, I had the opportunity to attend the NYPD/Marine Corps Association 234rd Birthday of our beloved Corps, located at Police Headquarters, NY.
We honored these two brave Marines, along with the father of Lcpl Haerter. I want to take this time to say it was an honor for me to have been there. These two young men gave their lives for their brothers. There is no stronger bound then to fight and die for the one standing next to you, cause you know without hestitaion he will do the same for you. Thank you for all you gave and I salute you!!!!
To the families. Your sorrow is felt all over the world, but know that Jordan & Jonathan will continue to live on through the lives of the men they saved and their loved ones. God bless their souls.
Semper Fi Marines!!!! Never will you be forgotten.

These men are real heros. What they did that day was everything the Marine Corps stands for. They knew what was going to happen and stood strong in the face of death. These two men make me proud to be an American. Thank you to all those who have served or are still serving our great country for standing on that wall and guarding our freedom. There are those who feel we don't need protecting, all I can say is if you feel that way, stand a post for a day and see if you still feel the same. Thanks a lot guys.

Jon is my bestfriend. It breaks my heart still to this day to know he is gone. We had so many plans for when he came home in a few weeks. But to know he gave his life, to save so many others. So bravely. It makes me so proud to say I was his bestfriend. God Bless him.

Thank you again Haerter and Yale for saving my husbands life. These two men saved my husband and friends that were apart of those 50 people they saved. They are truely MY HERO's.

GOD BLESS their families.

Unimaginable bravery...just picture what they did...standing their ground in the face of an approaching truck IED, ignoring the natural instinct to flee in order to combat the threat and protect their fellow Marines. I give honor where honor is due to these young and brave warriors. They are a great testimony to the sacrifices men and women in our armed forces are making on behalf of every American.

END OF MISSION MARINES....semper fideles

I echo Kristy W.'s comments and add our thanks to their families who have given so much.

God Bless these two and all the brave men and women serving and who have served. Let's never forget we still have men and women overseas. Bring them home soon.

It makes my heart bleed to know that these two extraordinarily fine young men sacrificed their lives in order to save others. But that is what they felt compelled to do, to save their fellow Marines, and I'm sure they would do so again. I will always remember them. My very deepest sympathy to their families who are going through grief that I can only begin to imagine.

21 and 19 yrs old... Their courage and devotion to those they were assigned to protect is stark evidence our nation's youth is well-deserving of the great nation they will inherit and shape in their image. God bless them and their families.

Guarding the gates is one of the most dangerous things one can do over there, precisely becuse of attacks like this one. It just shows the courage and heart these young men displayed by not backing down in a situation where even the bravest of men would have been within understanding for retreating. God Bless and keep them both.

Just want to say thank you to these two young soliders who demonstrated bravery in serving our country and protecting their brothers. And to all the other soldiers out there a huge thank you for everything you do for our United States.


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