Fallen Marine 1st Lt Travis Manion- Congressman Asks Mattis to Upgrade Silver Star
First Lt Travis Manion was killed in Anbar Province, Iraq on April 29, 2007. He was assigned to 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. The Marine Corps Times reported that Rep Duncan Hunter, R-CA, wants James Mattis to upgrade Manion’s Silver Star to the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award.
April 29, 2007 Ambush
This account was written in a letter to the family from 3-2-1 MiTT Commander Maj. Adam Kubicki. (MiTT- Military Transition Team)
“We departed our Combat Outpost in vehicles, but the actual conduct of the patrol was on foot, with vehicles in support. Travis was in the vehicle with me, and when on foot we moved together. We moved through the market section of the city with the Iraqi Army in the lead and we Marines providing guidance and direction.”
“We had conducted the majority of our patrol uneventfully and were approaching the vehicles again when we were attacked … our corpsman was struck by a sniper, critically injuring him. Travis and I pulled the corpsman to a covered position and attempted to locate the position of the sniper. Two more Marines rushed from our other vehicle to assist … [and] a second Marine was struck by the sniper, critically injuring him as well. Travis and I again pulled the injured man to cover and realized that we must immediately establish security of our area.”
“Travis selflessly moved from behind the covered position and began to engage the source of enemy fire. At that time, additional enemy forces appeared and began to engage us with a large amount of rifle and machine-gun fire. Travis, the Marine from the other vehicle and I took up firing positions to engage the enemy. I very clearly recall Travis firing his grenade launcher, keeping the insurgents from moving any closer, and his rifle.”
“Our Iraqi counterparts were a short distance away at their vehicles. Travis’s fire allowed them to remount and attempt to maneuver around to the flank. Our Marine vehicles provided cover and suppressive fire for us. Travis’s only concern was the safety of our wounded and his fellow Marines and Iraqi soldiers. He continued to fire his weapon and maintain his position, even when additional insurgents appeared on the rooftops to our sides, firing down into us. [He] maintained his fire into the group of insurgents with the sniper.”
Travis Manion was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his continued fire in the battle. But his chain of command had recommended him at the time for the Navy Cross…it was downgraded. New evidence from Marine Staff Sgt Paul D. Petty stated that Manion continued “to fire nearly 300 rounds of ammunition from his M4 and a grenade from his M203 after being wounded.” As he reloaded his grenade launcher, he was fatally wounded by the sniper.
His action is credited with saving the lives of the men in his platoon.
The picture of a man who stood up for others his entire life, participated in wrestling at the Naval Academy, and loved his men and his country with all his strength is often lost in the dry recounts of his actions. He was the son of Marine Tom Manion.
Even the Iraqis who knew him honored him as part of their family- he was reportedly an inspiration to them and to many others, so much so that they named a COP- Combat outpost- after him (COP Manion).
His sister currently runs the Travis Manion foundation, based in Pennsylvania.
“The advisors on a MiTT team are very different from the other American forces in Iraq. They are choosing to live with us, in our ways, share the same hardships and dangers, and choose to fight alongside of us. Many days. Every day. Their blood is spilled alongside of ours on the battlefield. It mixes with ours. This is why Mulazam (lieutenant) Manion was, and will always be, our brother.” Iraqi Col Ali Jafar, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Iraqi Brigade