USMC S/SA Member
Receives Bronze Star with V
Summary Action: On 12 March 2003, GySgt Proietto USMC was attached to ODA 2021 20th Special Forces Group, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan. He was assigned to the security element of a vehicle-mounted patrol as the team's Sniper and to also man the vehicle mounted 240B MG while traveling to the objective. At approximately 15:00 the patrol was approaching the village of Bara Waze and came under heavy enemy fire from a well emplace L shaped ambush manned by a force of approximately 75 Taliban/Al-Qaida fighters armed with AK 47s, light and heavy machineguns and RPG Rockets. GySgt Proietto immediately manned the 240B MG and began to lay down suppressive fire on the enemy positions and provided supporting fire to the lead element of the patrol, which had been pinned down by heavy enemy fire.j
As the firefight progressed, a heavy crossfire from the enemy mounted against GySgt Proietto's position to a point of intensity that was amazing. It was at this time that the Team Sgt, MSgt Clopp advised GySgt Proietto to abandon his position and seek cover as he was firing from a non-armored vehicle on an open road, and the enemy was concentrating their fire on his position.
Knowing that if he abandoned his position the forward element would be left on their own with no supporting fire, GySgt Proietto ignored his own safety and refused to leave his position even though everything around him, including his vehicle, was being shot up in the enemy crossfire. By maintaining his position, he could continue to lay down a steady stream of suppressive fire on the enemy, which he did for almost an hour, and silenced two enemy machine gun positions.
After about an hour into the firefight and about 1600 rounds of ammunition, GySgt Proietto's 240B MG ran dry. He picked up his M4 carbine and took up a position out in front of the 50 cal MG and began to spot enemy positions for the gunner and also engaged the enemy with his M4. Once again having total disregard for his own safety, GySgt Proietto exposed himself to enemy fire from an uncovered open position so he could best observe the enemy and bring the most effective fire on their positions. Upon the arrival of CAS, the enemy was pushed out of their positions and a running firefight through the mountains ensued until after dark at which time the patrol broke contact and reconsolidated.
The entire time throughout this engagement, GySgt Proietto displayed himself in a courageous professional manner and his heroic and immediate response to enemy fire and willingness to jeopardize his own safety to provide supporting fire for the rest of the team demonstrated a level of dedication to the mission and his fellow soldiers, which is rarely surpassed. His actions and selfless courage under fire was instrumental in the success of the operation and the safe return of all US and Afghan militia forces.
For heroic achievement while engaged in military action against
Al-Qaeda/Taliban fighters while serving as a Sniper with ODA 2021 20th
special Forces Group, Combined Joint special Operations Task force,
Operation Enduring Freedom, Paktia province Afghanistan on 12 March 2003.
While conducting a vehicle mounted patrol along the Khowst road, ODA 2021
came under heavy enemy fire from a well emplaced L shaped ambush just
outside the village of Bara Waze, and the lead element of the patrol was
quickly pinned down. Gunnery Sergeant Proietto immediately began to
return fire on the enemy positions with his 240B machinegun out in the
middle of the road, totally exposed to enemy fire so he could best support
the lead element and lay down the most effective suppressive fires on the
As the firefight progressed, a heavy return fire mounted against his position to a point that everything around him was being shot up. Seeing the seriousness of the situation, the Team Sgt signaled to him to pull back and find cover. Knowing the lead element would be on their own and have no supporting fire if he fell back, he ignored his own safety and chose not to abandon his position. Gunnery Sergeant Proietto held his position for almost an hour through intense fire and silenced two enemy machinegun positions. When his 240B machinegun ran out of ammunition he grabbed his M4 carbine and took up a position forward of the M2 50cal machinegun and began to engage the enemy and spot enemy positions for the gunner.
Once again he exposed himself to enemy fire so he could best observe and bring the most effective fire on the enemy. By his courageous actions, unwavering leadership, and exceptional dedication to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Proietto reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
The Combat distinguishing Device is authorized.