USMC S/SA Member
Marine Sniper--Camp Pendleton Sniper School
Receives Bronze Star with V
Story by Lance Cpl. Lanessa Arthur of Patriot Voices
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Dozens of enemy rocket propelled grenades, several thousand rounds of machine-gun fire spraying from AK-47 assault rifles and handfuls of grenades all coming from three directions pinning down a company of Marines sounds like a scene out of the movies, but it’s the real-life experience for Sgt. Maj. William S. Skiles, sergeant major of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squardon-267, Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton.
The Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device was awarded to Skiles for his actions April 26, 2004 while on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. Skiles was the first sergeant for Company E, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at the time.
“Today is not about me, it’s about those Marines(Company E),” said Skiles as he paused for some tearful moments and then regained his composure and continued to address the Marines. “It’s also about those Marines who serve day to day and who cross the line of duty and are willing to go to the extreme to defend this great country and to fight and die for each other. There is a worse fear than dying…letting your Marines down when their life is on the line.”
Realizing the critical requirement to relieve the platoon of their wounded Marines, he drove the evacuation vehicles and personnel directly to the embattled platoon’s position under intense enemy small arms fire.
Upon reaching the platoon, he dismounted the vehicle and coordinated the evacuation of four severely wounded Marines, personally laying down suppressive fire, encouraging Marines and handing out M-16 magazines and fragmentation grenades to riflemen low on ammunition.
He then jumped in the Humvee and drove through enemy fire and Fallujah’s rubble-strewn streets to his battalion’s forward operating base. Finally stopping at the field hospital, he consoled his wounded Marines and strengthened the resolve of the entire company by his steady, sturdy leadership, said the awards citation.
Skiles modestly told his wife of the situation over the phone, she later found out the severity of the situation from one of the injured Marines.
“I am not surprised at what he has done, but would be very amazed if he didn’t do it,” said Tanis L. Skiles.