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Marine receives Bronze Star for bravery in Afghanistan, helped repel Taliban assault

May 27, 2011 |  9:40 am

6a00d8341c630a53ef01538ec378fb970b When Marine 1st Sgt. Curtis Rice this week received a Bronze Star for bravery in Afghanistan, he said he had just done what any Marine would have done in the same situation.

Here's what Rice, 35, now assigned to the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Logistics Group, did:

When a group of 50 or more Taliban fighters tried to overrun a small Afghan national army outpost in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan on July 27, 2009, Rice led an "aggressive counterattack" that went on for five hours.

Initially pinned down by fire, Rice shot and killed numerous enemy. He ran across open ground, dodging enemy fire, to resupply a group of Afghan soldiers and fix their M240 machine gun so they could help in repelling the attack.

When a medical helicopter attempted to land to evacuate a wounded U.S. Special Forces soldier, Rice spotted a Taliban fighter positioning himself to bring down the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Rice eliminated the Taliban threat.

As the battle continued, Rice's bravery set "a heroic example" for U.S. and Afghan forces and saved numerous lives, according to the Bronze Star citation. The attack was finally blunted.

The award was Rice's second Bronze Star for service in Afghanistan.

During the 2009 attack, Rice was part of a training unit working with the Afghan army. The Worcester, Mass., native is now with a food service company, part of Combat Logistics Regiment 17.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: 1st Sgt. Curtis Rice in Afghanistan. Credit: Leatherneck Magazine