MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO --
Service members and residents of El Cajon, Calif., gathered at the site of San Diego’s first Hometown Marines Program billboard Dec. 18, to recognize the bravery of a local Marine who received the nation’s third highest combat award.
Sgt. Kristopher Kane, a native of El Cajon, was awarded the Silver Star Medal for actions during his tour in Iraq in 2004.
Kane graduated from Valhalla High School in 1998 and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2001.
Upon completing his primary and secondary training, he served as a marksmanship coach at Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Kane then deployed to the Middle East and served with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force as a squad automatic weapon gunner.
During Operation Al Fajr, Nov. 10, Kane entered a house held by insurgents while enemy rounds and hand grenades exploded around him and laid suppressing fire so his Marines could get to the wounded.
He held his ground while in the direct line of fire, even after a bulldozer collapsed the house, crushing his leg.
Maj. Kate Germano, commanding officer of Recruiting Station San Diego, said Kane and his fellow Marines are here today only because of Kane’s bold leadership, wise judgment and complete dedication to duty.
The Hometown Marines Program was developed to generate awareness within communities of the heroic actions made by the service members who have received the Bronze Star Medal or higher, and police and firefighters who have received similar awards for heroism.
“What kept me going was hearing the screams of my injured Marines,” said Kane. “All I thought about was getting them out of the building.”
When Kane first heard about the billboard, he said that he was very surprised and was unaware that his community had the program.
“Hopefully we can take this back to our local communities and remind them of heroes like Kane,” said Germano.
Although his local community sees him as a hero, Kane remains humble.
“It feels good to be recognized for my actions,” he said. “But it is not about me. It’s about the Marines who didn’t get the chance to see this.”