IRAQ: Marine officer 'strode like a giant'
If there is one dictum for Marines, it's this: True leaders lead from the front.
On March 19, 2007, 1st Lt. Travis L. Manion was in a vehicle hit by a roadside bomb in Fallouja. Although dazed, he led the search for the insurgent triggerman and caught him before he could place a booby trap.
On March 27, Manion was part of a patrol that was hit by small-arms fire. He led his troops in returning fire.
On March 28, he responded to an attack at the Fallouja government center, helping remove casualties and then positioning himself to direct counter-fire by Iraqi soldiers.
On April 27, his patrol came under sniper fire. Manion pulled a wounded corpsman to safety. His troops were surrounded by insurgents on three sides. Manion positioned himself to draw fire away from wounded Marines.
He was killed by a sniper shot but not before he directed his troops in a counterattack credited with saving U.S. and Iraqi lives.
Now, Manion, part of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, has been posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star.
"Travis strode like a giant wherever he went," Lt. Gen. John Allen said at an award ceremony in Doylestown, Pa., attended by 800 people, including Manion's parents, Janet Manion and Marine Col. Tom Manion.
Manion, 28, was a graduate of the Naval Academy. He was on his second tour in Iraq.
--Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: 1st Lt. Travis Manion. Credit: Marine Corps