TribLIVE

| News


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Marine who risked life to save platoon awarded Silver Star

Daily Photo Galleries

Allegheny Photo Galleries

Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 3:38 p.m.
 

Marine Sgt. David M. Gerardi said risking his life to save his platoon members while under enemy fire in Afghanistan “just made sense.”

The military on Monday awarded Gerardi, 22, of Moon a Silver Star Medal during a ceremony in Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland.

“The individuals who accompany you are a direct reflection of yourself,” said Gerardi, who served in the Marine Corps from June 2008 to April 2012 and is a member of the Army National Guard.

“I've been blessed to serve with the best Marines and soldiers. I've had the best leadership that taught me everything leading up to that gunfight.”

The honor of receiving the military's third-highest decoration for valor stems from Gerardi's actions during a June 6, 2011, ambush in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in which enemy fire pinned down his platoon.

Gerardi, then a corporal, was a sniper with the 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion. He risked his life to get into a position to suppress the attack.

Gerardi crossed open fire to a position behind a 212-foot-tall stone wall, which offered him a clear line of sight to the enemy positions. He suppressed an enemy machine gun long enough for an adjacent team to extract an Afghan National Army casualty from open terrain.

With enemy fire hitting around him, Gerardi coordinated with another team and fired a light antitank assault rocket to reduce a second enemy position, allowing his unit to move to safety.

“Basic training kicks in,” Gerardi said. “We spend a lot of time preparing for a situation like that, and you see points of advantage. To go to that position made sense.”

Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, who presented the medal, spoke of Gerardi's “heroics and personal sacrifice,” risking his life to ensure the safety of fellow Marines.

“He could have chosen to do something other than accept responsibility for the safety of his country,” Spiese said.

Gerardi is a 2008 graduate of Fox Chapel Area High School. The family moved to Moon.

His parents, Mike and Young Gerardi, were overcome with emotion when speaking of their son's honor.

“We thank God for protecting them and helping them come home safely,” said Young Gerardi, 57. “We are so proud of the team and proud of our son.”

Mike Gerardi, 58, said his son has “been a special kid all his life.”

“He's very unselfish. He's just a good kid, a great kid. We're very proud of him.”

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or rweaver@tribweb.com.

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Legionnaires’ case was contracted elsewhere, Pittsburgh VA hospital says
  2. Sham utility workers take Robinson couple for cash, jewels worth thousands
  3. Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation
  4. Quiet move to Adams didn’t prevent woman’s slaying
  5. $412K sought to add lighting in East Liberty
  6. Ferrante, wife were at odds over trip
  7. Police ID naked man who fell over Shaler hillside
  8. Defense witness testifies on video, absent jurors, of cyanide alternatives
  9. Warrant issued for North Side teen in Penn Hills shooting
  10. Moon Area School District considers installing solar panels for electricity
  11. Ferrante defense questions recordkeeping of lab that tested cyanide
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.