Sgt. Joshua Acevedo spent 2010 fighting through heavy Taliban resistance in Hemland province, Afghanistan. Stationed at Patrol Base Hernandez in southern Hemland , Acevedo and his men were on the front line.
The orders given to Acevedo and his Marines were to “create disturbance and prep the area for an eventual southern shift toward the Taliban-controlled city of Durzay.”
Ten days after a particularly brutal ambush by the Taliban, one where other Marines were also awarded medals for valor, Acevedo’s unit began to launch long-range recon patrols.
The goal of these two-to-three day missions was to locate the enemy force, and prevent them from carrying out any more ambushes in the region.
Four hours into the ambush mission of their own, through the scope of a Mk12 Acevedo spotted a Taliban spotter equipped with a radio and a weapon- Acevedo quickly dropped him.
Two hours after the first encounter intel reported that upwards of 15 hostile personnel were moving their way via motorcycle. Acevedo repositioned his men and dug in for the fight ahead.
Shortly after, the fight began.
Acevedo ordered his men to a nearby compound, which was their only option for cover. Upon reaching the compound, the Sgt. radioed to higher that they were in contact and it was bad.
The QRF sent to help the now pinned down squad was soon engaged in a firefight of their own and never made it to the men.
Instead, Acevedo ordered his men to continue compound clearing, and soon the Marines had cleared three compounds and had an established overwatch of the firefight, now split into two elements.
Soon though, the firefight intensified even further.
Seeing no other legitimate option, Acevedo radioed for fire support- Camp Leatherneck responded with 155-mm artillery round. In the three minutes it took from firing to splash, Acevedo had tricked the Taliban into thinking his element was about to stage an assault, causing them to dig in.
Now deep into the fight, Acevedo’s assault element was down to less than a single Marine’s worth of ammo. Acevedo gave his element the order to fix bayonets and after having loaded himself with all the ammo he could find made a 100-meter dash to the element.
Having reached the element with rounds hitting all around him, Acevedo redirected his men to the rear, as a team of AH-1 Cobras was inbound to finish the job.
After returning stateside, the Sgt. was charged with murder in the warzone, a legal battle that caused him to lose the will to fight, and his career.
After years of red tape and fighting on his behalf from his attorney, former platoon commander and his teammates, Acevedo had been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Finally, Acevedo is getting the recognition he deserves- on October 31 at a Marine Corps birthday ball in Sonoma, California, General Mattis read his citation aloud for all to hear.