Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran receives decoration for heroism
By Gunnery Sgt. Mike Giannetti
| | April 30, 2004
TROY, Mich. --
If you stretch your imagination, recruiting and combat have many similarities; the workplace is characterized by long workweeks, very little quality time with family members, a lack of conventional support and the ever-present potential risk of failure. However, failure in recruiting results in a tarnished career, whereas in combat, it could mean your life.
No one knows that more that than Maj. Calvert Worth Jr., commanding officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Detroit, who was honored at a ceremony here April 30 for his actions while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Worth was awarded the Bronze Star, one of the nation’s highest awards for heroism in combat, and the Meritorious Service Medal. He earned the awards while serving as the executive officer for 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Since Dec. 6, 1941, the Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any service member who distinguished himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.
On April 10, 2003, Worth, a native of St. Louis, Mo., and his Marines were in the heart of Baghdad seizing the Al Azimiyah Presidential Palace when his unit came under enemy fire.
“As his command group moved into the palace compound,” the citation read, “ they came under intense enemy machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire, causing two casualties. Remaining calm in the chaos of the moment, he quickly reoriented and bolstered defensive positions to prevent enemy penetration of the compound. Once the palace was secured, intelligence indicated that a force of approximately 80 paramilitary fighters was assembling to conduct a counterattack. He rapidly coordinated an air strike, which destroyed the counterattack force along with numerous vehicles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, and small arms. His timely actions successfully disrupted a significant threat to his battalion.”
As his citation was being read, his wife Lisa, listened intensely as if she was hearing it for the first time. “He told me stories from the war but he left a lot of the details out,” she said.
Going from one battlefield to another proves to be hard on the entire family. According to Lisa, recruiting duty is a whole different set of stressors. “While he was in Iraq [the Marine spouses] were glued to the news waiting for any type of information good or bad. Now his life in not on the line, but the long hours and the pressure he is under is still very taxing on both of us.”
Handling a career and a family under these conditions could be too much for some, but Worth says the leaders he has served with prepared him for these very situations.
“Marine Corps officers go through a natural progression, and in the past 13 years I have been fortunate to hold some challenging billets and learned from some great leaders,” he said. “As an infantry officer we train for combat but when you have to give the order to go into combat it’s not a comfortable feeling, but it’s exactly what I expected, it’s what I was prepared for.”
Worth sees his mission on recruiting duty as being just as important as leading his Marines in battle.
“Like combat you are always engaged, there’s very little time for yourself or your family,” said Worth. “These Marines work extremely hard, and unfortunately they get very little reward. I have the responsibility to keep them on track and energized for 36 months. Marines, regardless of the task, always accomplish the mission.”