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Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael C. Sharp stands ready to receive the Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, on Aug. 3, 2007, at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. Five other service members from 3rd Marine Logistics Group’s 9th Engineer Support Battalion received awards, including three for actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom last year and earlier this year.

U.S. Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael C. Sharp
U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. David E. Oden
U.S. Marine Sgt. Roberto C. Martinez
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Roland Penzes

Marines, Sailor Honored for Distinguished Service in Iraq.
By Lance Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
Marine Corps Base Camp Butler

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan, Aug. 10, 2007 — Marines and sailors from 3rd Marine Logistics Group’s 9th Engineer Support Battalion gathered at Camp Hansen, Aug. 3, 2007, for an awards ceremony that recognized the service of four of their own who distinguished themselves while serving in Iraq.

Maj. Patrick R. Hittle, the battalion’s executive officer, presented the Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device to Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael C. Sharp, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal to Gunnery Sgt. David E. Oden, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device to Sgt. Roberto C. Martinez and Petty Officer 3rd Class Roland Penzes.

Sharp served in Fallujah as explosive ordnance disposal chief and platoon commander of 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon, 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group, from April 2006 to February 2007.

According to his award citation, Sharp displayed courage and leadership as he led Marines and soldiers in the neutralization of more than 1,650 improvised explosive devices, the capture of 105 weapons caches, and the disposal of more than 14,360 unexploded ordnance items and 25,000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

On May 30, 2006, he risked his life to disarm an IED, directly reducing potential injury or death to the Marines, sailors and soldiers of the Multi-National Forces West.

Sharp humbly attributed his achievements to the Marines who served under him in Iraq.

“I didn’t really do much,” he said. “It was all my guys.

”Oden, a combat engineer who served as assistant engineer adviser for Iraqi army soldiers from October 2006 to March 2007, was awarded for successfully teaching the Iraqis the skills necessary to succeed as engineers. Oden advised the Iraqi engineers during the successful completion of three major survivability projects in the Ramadi area.

Martinez, who served as a team member with 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon from August 2006 to March 2007, was awarded for helping to disable 122 IEDs, often placing the lives of others above his own. His dedication to his fellow Marines saved countless lives, according to his award citation.

Penzes, a medical corpsman assigned to 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon, was awarded for responding to more than 400 emergencies and helping to save the lives of both civilians and members of the coalition forces.

“Some of the stuff these Marines have done, it’s just amazing,” Hittle said after the ceremony. “Those Marines who received awards can inspire us to do the right thing and build up that moral and mental toughness we need as Marines.”

Also awarded at the ceremony were Sgt. Maj. John P. Ploskonka Jr. and retired Master Sgt. Glen U. Andrews who both earned the Meritorious Service Medal.

Ploskonka earned his medal for actions while serving as the first sergeant for two companies in the Marine Barracks, Washington D.C., from October 2004 to February 2007.

Andrews was awarded for his efforts while serving as the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, from March 2000 to March 2007.

Last Updated:
08/09/2007, Eastern Daylight Time
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