Marine recommended for Medal of Honor for Afghanistan bravery
A Marine has been recommended for the Medal of Honor for actions in combat in Afghanistan, Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos told reporters Saturday in San Diego.
Amos said the recommendation, which must be reviewed by the secretary of the Navy, secretary of defense, and President Obama, was made by his predecessor, Gen. James Conway.
Amos, who succeeded Conway two weeks ago, said that the recommendation was made after a thorough investigation that filled a binder and detailed the Marine's bravery. "I read it cover-to-cover," he said. "It watered my eyes."
The issue of why so few Medals of Honor have been bestowed for Iraq and Afghanistan has generated considerable controversy. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine), who served as a Marine officer in both wars, has requested an explanation from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about the small number of Medals of Honor.
The Marine Corps, despite heavy fighting in Iraq's Anbar province and now in the Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, has had only one Medal of Honor recipient: Cpl. Jason Dunham, who was mortally wounded while shielding other Marines from a grenade blast near the Syrian border in 2004.
The Marine recommended by Conway is living, Amos said.
Amos, 63, the first aviator named as commandant, is in San Diego to attend one of the Marine Corps birthday celebrations. The service is marking the 235th anniversary of its founding.
In other topics, Amos said he supports sending more bomb-sniffing dogs to Afghanistan to find the buried roadside bombs that are the No. 1 killer of U.S. military personnel.
"My sense is we don't have enough dogs," he said. "The fight we're in right now is a tough one."
Asked about the terrorist threat from Yemen, Amos said the Marine Corps is prepared to send troops if ordered by the commander-in-chief. "We're supporting that operation in ways I can't talk about," he said.
-- Tony Perry in San Diego