Today the Department of the Navy recognized the heroic efforts of Sailors, Marines and civilians for their distinguished actions immediately following the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon.
Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark, and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Michael J. Williams hosted the awards ceremony in the Pentagon Center Courtyard, exactly where some of the heroes stepped forward Sept. 11. There were over 90 award recipients with their families, friends and co-workers looking on.
"Today we are here to honor the naval men and women whose acts of courage, bravery and disregard for their own safety became the first acts of defiance against the enemies of freedom," praised England during the ceremony. "When the Pentagon became a combat zone, your honor, courage and commitment rose to the fore!"
The Navy leaders presented nine different categories of awards during the ceremony. Twenty-one heroes received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for saving lives. This award is one of the highest non-combat awards for heroism the Department of Defense presents. One Sailor received the second of his career for life-saving heroics. Seven civilians also received various awards for their actions and contributions that day.
There were four Sailors that received the Purple Heart, and two Department of the Navy civilians that received the Defense of Freedom Medal, the civilian equivalent award.
"When faced with the very real challenge of the defense of our nation, these shipmates responded heroically," said Clark. "Their actions and professionalism speak volumes about the quality of people we have throughout the Department of the Navy."
Specific award citations available upon request from Navy Office of Information at (703) 692-6704.