Four Marine special operations troops who fought off an enemy ambush in Afghanistan and evacuated fallen comrades were awarded top combat medals Monday at Camp Pendleton.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus presented the Navy Cross, the second highest honor for valor in combat, to Sgt. William Soutra, Jr., 27, of Worcester, Ma. The dog handler and two-time Iraq War veteran had been attached to a team with Company B, 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, to hunt for roadside bombs. He has since become a critical skills operator with the battalion.
Three others were awarded the Silver Star, the third highest combat medal, for their actions primarily on July 10 and 11, 2010 in Helmand province: Maj. James Rose, 34, of Abilene, Texas, was the team leader; Staff Sgt. Frankie Shinost, 32, of Sturgis, S.D., called in air support as Joint Terminal Attack Controller; and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Quill, 24, a 2006 graduate of Coronado High School, was the team’s hospital corpsman.
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