Marines were doing. I feel this award doesn’t represent something for myself; it represents what I saw everyone doing out there.”
As of Jan. 9, according to statistics maintained by the Marine Corps, only 69 Marines had received the Silver Star since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began.
Ackerman, a 26-year-old native of Washington, D.C., was recognized for his courage under fire while serving as a platoon commander during the November 2004 battle to wrest Fallujah from the grip of fanatical insurgents.
Brig. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, assistant division commander, 2nd Marine Division, presented the award as Ackerman’s family and fellow Marines looked on.
The citation summarizing then-2nd Lt. Ackerman’s ac tions covers a six-day period that began on Nov. 10, 2004, when his platoon came under fire from a heavy enemy counterattack.
“We had a mission to get a foothold for the battalion,” said Ackerman, who returned last month from his second deployment, the latest as a member of Battalion Landing Team 1/8, the ground combat element of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We saw that the original building we intended to go in to just wouldn’t work to get that mission done. We pushed a little bit deeper than it probably would have been prudent to do.”
Pushing deeper ensured his unit would accomplish its mission, but the advance left him and his Marines more exposed to enemy fighters, who responded by pouring heavy fire on the Marines’ position.
As his Marines began to take injuries, Ackerman sprang to action, twice pulling his Marines to safety and coordinating their evacuation. The amphibious-assault vehicle sent to retrieve his Marines had trouble finding them, lo st in the fog of war. Ackerman again risked his life, charging into the open from a covered position to flag down the vehicle and direct it to his Marines’ location. His actions took him through a “gauntlet of deadly enemy fire,” according to the citation.