OIF Sgt. pins on Bronze Star
By Lance Cpl. Jess Levens
| | August 13, 2004
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
A sergeant in the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program received a Bronze Star with Combat "V" device July 30 for courageous acts during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Col. Salvador J. Calleros, depot deputy chief of staff pinned the award on Sgt. Christopher M. Genetti in a formation at Friday Morning Colors at Pendleton Hall.
"I feel honored to receive this award," said Genetti. "But I just did what any Marine would do. The boys that were there with me, they're the real heroes."
Genetti said he isn't very deserving of the award because he only did what was expected of him, but his Marines disagree.
"There is no doubt that he deserves this award," said Keith. "If you look at the criteria for the Bronze Star, it should just show a photo of Sgt. Genetti."
Genetti served as a squad leader for 2nd Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. According to Genetti's citation, Co. C received enemy contact April 1, 2003, after crossing the Saddam Canal in Iraq. Genetti positioned the other two squads on his flanks and maneuvered his squad into combat. Using one team to suppress the enemy, he maneuvered another team to the objective and captured two Iraqi soldiers. After hearing that another unit was receiving fire from a nearby building, Genetti personally neutralized Iraqi soldiers from a distance of 400 meters.
"Sgt. Genetti is an incredible man," said Cpl. Michael Keith, a Marine who served with Genetti. "His natural leadership ability is uncanny. He just confidently took control of the situation and got us back home alive."
Genetti also acted as platoon commander - normally an officer position - for a brief period, according to Keith.
"We've been back to Iraq since then," said Lance Cpl. Jamil Alkattan, who served in Genetti's platoon. "I wouldn't have made it back home the second time if it wasn't for (Genetti). We took the knowledge he gave us and we came home alive. He definitely earned his Bronze Star. He's a big reason I'm alive today."
After completing MECEP Preparatory School here Aug. 4, Genetti heads to Norwich University, Vt. After earning a degree, he will become an officer candidate.
Authorized Feb. 4, 1944 the Bronze Star medal is awarded to members of all branches of military service and may be awarded either for combat heroism or for meritorious service.
The bronze "V" device identifies the award as resulting from an act of combat heroism, or valor, thus distinguishing it from meritorious achievement awards.