SILVER STAR Citation for Gunnery Sergeant Verice W. Bennett
Approved by GEN JAMES F AMOS on 11/16/2011
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Platoon Commander, Company I, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team-2, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) Afghanistan.
While serving as the Platoon Commander on 13 September 2010 just after seizing a key bridge crossing for the company, Staff Sergeant Bennett set his platoon into a battle position located in a built-up area inside the Southern Green Zone of the Sangin District. Shortly afterwards, the company began to receive heavy fire from all directions as they became surrounded by more than 100 Taliban fighters armed with small arms, rocket propelled grenades, and medium machineguns.
As the engagement ensued, Staff Sergeant Bennett’s platoon became the focus of the enemy attack. For the next ten hours Staff Sergeant Bennett displayed exceptional resolve by employing his platoon to repel numberous enemy advances. On several occasions he exposed himself to enemy fire in order to gain positive identification of enemy targets and direct fires and supporting arms onto enemy positions. At one point during the attack the enemy closed to within ten meters of friendly positions.
Staff Sergeant Bennett personally led a hand-grenade ambush from the top of a walled compound to disrupt an enemy squad attempting to isolate his platoon from the company’s defense. As a result of his actions that day, his platoon suffered no casualties while the enemy suffered eighteen killed and more than a dozen wounded.
Staff Sergeant Bennett’s bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty reflected great credit upon him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Photos courtesy of a Marine attending the ceremony, 12/14/2011, Camp Lejeune.