Face of Defense: Sailor Earns Bronze Star
By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Walter D. Marino II
2nd Marine Division
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C., March 4, 2011 A Navy corpsman didn’t expect hundreds of Marines clad in camouflage utilities to fill an entire field house just for him –- but they did.
Navy Seaman Matthew A. Dishmon, a corpsman with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, received the Bronze Star medal with combat distinguishing device during a Feb. 25 ceremony here. Dishmon was honored for saving the life of a Marine last year during combat in Marjah, Afghanistan.
“I couldn’t believe all those people were there and I didn’t know [until now] how big of a deal it really was,” Dishmon said about his award ceremony. “I felt like I was just doing my job.”
Dishmon’s unit was ambushed while on patrol. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Matthew T. Earle, an assault gunner, was shot before he could seek cover. Dishmon exposed himself to enemy machine gun fire to move Earle away from danger and treat his wounds.
“Earle and I were in the back of the patrol,” Dishmon recalled. “Earle didn’t make it across before he got hit in the middle of the road.
“It was dark and you could see machine-gun tracers fly by,” he continued. “I yelled to the guys [to let them know] Earle was hit, but they couldn’t hear over our machine gun, so I ran out in the road and I grabbed him.”
After removing Earle’s protective gear, Dishmon assessed the wounded Marine and provided medical treatment.
Although extremely grateful for Dishmon’s efforts, Earle has trouble recalling anything from the incident. But his fellow Marines remember clearly how the man they know as “Doc” saved Earle’s life.
“If it wasn’t for Doc that night, Earle would not be here,” Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Chris W. Ducharme said.
“It’s essential to have a good corpsman,” Marine Corps Cpl. Evan S. Rinkenberg pointed out, “especially in a place like Marjah where we were getting into firefights every day. Dishmon would be there for anybody if they needed him.”
Dishmon has basic advice for Navy corpsmen expecting to join Marines in combat for the first time.
“Remember the basics, and don’t lose your cool,” he said.
The Bronze Star is awarded to individuals who distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States. When awarded for valor, it is the fourth highest award in the U.S. armed services.