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Posted: 5/7/2004 10:49:55 AM EDT
Marine Awarded Silver Star

A 1991 Churville-Chili High School graduate has been awarded the Navy Cross for his service in Iraq. 1st Lt. Brian Chontosh of the First Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Pendleton, California is credited with saving his platoon during a fierce firefight last year.

Lt. Chontosh will receive the award from the Secretary of the Navy Thursday at a ceremony in California.

The Navy Cross is awarded to members of the Marines and Navy who exhibit extraordinary heroism during combat. It is second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. According to the Navy's historical website, only two Navy Crosses were given out in the Persian Gulf War. Several have been given out so far during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Chontosh received a citation letter describing his "complete disregard for his safety" and "unlimited courage," in a battle in which he killed more than 20 enemy soldiers in a "ferocious" and "audacious" attack.

His parents, Rick and Robin Chontosh of Churchville, flew to San Diego Tuesday to attend the ceremony.

"We're very excited and very proud, obviously very proud of all the young men and women over there and everybody over there," Rick Chontosh said.

"I'm overwhelmed," Robin Chontosh said.

Both parents say their son has not told them what he did to deserve the Navy Cross. They say he does not like to talk about his time in Iraq. "He's humble," his mother added.

Lt. Chontosh, 30, is married and expecting his first child. He tells his parents he may have to return to Iraq.

The citation letter reads like a war novel. It described what happened on March 25, 2003, five days into the war, as U.S. troops were closing in on Baghdad.

While traveling north on Highway 1, his platoon came under an ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and automatic weapons fire. Lt. Chontosh realized he was caught in a "kill zone."

Here are excerpts from the letter:

"He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, 1st Lt. Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position, enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.

"He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and a 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, 1st Lt. Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.

"When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, 1st Lt. Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.

"By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 10:52:15 AM EDT
Combat and being a prison warden are two different animals...
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 10:53:53 AM EDT
Hard Fucking Core!!!!!  
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 10:58:44 AM EDT
follow me
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:00:02 AM EDT
Sorry, John91498.

You are right.  I can speak about one first-hand, but not the other.

Just an eye-grabbing headline to bring attention to someone who rightfully deserves it and that we can all be proud of  for doing his job.

My apologies...
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:01:03 AM EDT
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:02:28 AM EDT
Thanks, CarbineMan!
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:02:29 AM EDT
Sgt. Alvin York reincarnated. Dang.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:04:43 AM EDT
Sounds like the last charge at Ia Drang.  Doing the thing least expected.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:06:03 AM EDT
Now that is Courage Under Fire!!!!  

Anyone care to recall exactly how John Kerry got his Navy Cross?  
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:06:04 AM EDT
Sounds like a modern day Dick Winters clearing 88's so the boys on the beaches of Normandy could advance.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:09:42 AM EDT
I owe that man my best bottle of scotch, and if he isint a drinking man, I'll figure out something
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:11:06 AM EDT
That's the kind of shit most of us can only dream about.  I don't know how many times I have fantasized that exact type of scenario.  I'd probably crap my pants if it ever were to happen in real life though!

Cheers to 1st Lt Brian Chontosh!!!!
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:13:18 AM EDT
Damn, Rambo wasn't just a movie was it!!!!!
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:14:43 AM EDT


Link Posted: 5/7/2004 11:15:20 AM EDT
Rule 1 when finding yourself in an ambush:  Attack the ambush.

This a hellofva marine.  Sounds like a CMOH to me though.  Way over and above, saved his men by disregard for his own life, outstanding example, etc.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 12:45:27 PM EDT
Kick Ass!

Limited Edition Iraqi Freedom AR15?
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 12:54:19 PM EDT
That Marine has some Nads bigger then basketballs.

Semper Fi!

Link Posted: 5/7/2004 12:58:54 PM EDT
You want to put him in charge of a prison?

To hell with that, I want him leading young Marines into battle!
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:04:10 PM EDT

Sorry, John91498.

You are right.  I can speak about one first-hand, but not the other.

Just an eye-grabbing headline to bring attention to someone who rightfully deserves it and that we can all be proud of  for doing his job.

My apologies...

No apologies needed. Thanks for the thread. Warms my heart to read items like these.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:04:31 PM EDT
KA you are right, promote him and give him more Marines
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:11:05 PM EDT
3 minutes and I still haven't thought of anything to say that does this justice....I hope if he goes back he can come home and tell that story to his kids one day.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:14:40 PM EDT
What a story!  This guy is a real badass!
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:21:33 PM EDT
Iraqi Prisons? Why waste the talent! Put him in charge of the whole freakin' war!
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:30:56 PM EDT

Sgt. Alvin York reincarnated. Dang.

Damn my thoughts exactly as I read it.
Sgt. York didn't want to kill but once he knew it would save the lives of the men around him he fought with the ferocity of a wounded Grizzly.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:34:50 PM EDT
Anyone know where to find the citation letter? I'd like to read the whole thing.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 1:45:20 PM EDT
Fuckin' A!

Semper Fi and Hoorah, Marine!

(and a hearty salute!)
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 4:14:49 PM EDT

The Silver Star, is a LESSER medal than the one this Marine won.
You just dissed him.

It has been so long that I can’t remember 100%, but the Silver Star is either the 3rd or 4th highest award possible.

But good for him.  Thanks a bunch LT.
Link Posted: 5/7/2004 4:26:15 PM EDT
Outstanding, Warrior.  Locate, Close with, and Destroy!
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