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Bronze Star awarded posthumously to Marine from Camp Pendleton

February 16, 2013 | 10:04 am

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A Bronze Star for combat bravery in Afghanistan was awarded posthumously Friday to a Marine sergeant who once wrote that he would know his death "was all worth it" if it allowed a single child in that war-torn country to have a better life.

The award was presented to Robert and Robin Stacey, whose son, William Stacey, was killed Jan. 31, 2012, while on a combat patrol in Helmand province, long a Taliban stronghold.

Stacey, a section leader with the Camp Pendleton-based 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, was cited for bravery during firefights on Nov. 26 and Dec. 13, 2011. He was 23 when he was killed.

On Nov. 26, he moved through 650 feet of intense enemy gunfire to lead his Marines into a tactically advantageous position. On Dec. 13, when his Marines were attacked with AK-47 and rocket-propelled grenade fire, Stacey "held his ground under intense fire, beating back numerous flanking attempts" even as the Taliban increased its attack.

Stacey was responsible for "unquestionably saving the lives of his Marines," according to the Bronze Star citation.

After his death, a letter that Stacey had sent to his family gained national notice.

Stacey wrote that if he is killed in combat, he will know his death had meaning because  "there will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home country to come to his." That child, he said, "will have the gift of freedom."

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Display of Sgt. William Stacey at Bronze Star ceremony at Camp Pendleton. Credit: Lance Cpl. James Gulliver

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