A Navy corpsman received the Silver Star for heroism for taking out a rogue Afghan commando who tried to kill U.S. and Italian special operators in an insider attack.
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alejandro Salabarria was presented with nation’s third-highest valor award by Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commander of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Salabarria, a member of 2nd Marine Raider Battalion, earned the award Sept. 15, 2014, while deployed to Afghanistan as a team medic with Marine Special Operations Team 8214.
When asked about his heroic actions, the Navy corpsman told Marine Corps Times, “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Anybody would have done the same; it just happened to be my day.”
During the 2014 deployment, Salabarria and the Marine Raiders were operating alongside Italian and Afghan special operators when a rogue Afghan commando turned on the team. Within seconds, several men had been wounded causing “overwhelming chaos across the formation,” according to a Marine Corps press release.
Salabarria quickly maneuvered into the kill zone to shield a severely wounded corpsman and take out the attacker. With the threat neutralized, the Miami native treated two wounded team members and coordinated a helicopter medical evacuation.
“His bold actions ultimately saved the lives of his fellow team members and Afghan Commando partners,” the release states.
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