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Camp Lejeune Marine Clears IEDs To Evacuate A Wounded Teammate

Marines in Afghanistan receive counter IED training, soldier
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alejandro Pena

A Camp Lejeune Marine receives the Silver Star Tuesday for his actions of valor in Afghanistan. 

Staff Sgt. Daniel Ridgeway will the get the award during a ceremony on the base.  Ridgeway says he and his men were walking in line toward a stockpile of enemy weapons, which they had been ordered to clear out, when a blast knocked him over.

"My teammate ended up stepping on an IED," Ridgeway says.

"He was about three meters or so behind me.  It rocked me pretty good, but I was able to gain my composure, gave him first aid, and then I swept a landing zone for any more IEDs so the helicopter wouldn't be struck by an IED when it landed."

Ridgeway ordered the other Marines to freeze and cleared an area with more hidden IEDs to evacuate the wounded man.

"It's next to impossible to tell (where they are), so a lot of that was done on my hands and knees with a mine probe and it takes a lot of discipline on the part of the infantry Marines as well, because if we start taking contact and they don't have the discipline to stay in place, then things could go very wrong."

Ridgeway cleared five more explosives as his unit started taking fire.  He is now a member of Camp Lejeune's Wounded Warrior Battalion, which supports injured Marines at the base.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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