A Marine from Sacramento has been awarded the Silver Star Medal, the nation’s third highest honor for heroism, for his actions as a squad leader in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Kenneth R. Rick (pictured) received the award Tuesday from Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, I Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general, during a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms in Southern California.
Rick, a former squad leader with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. On June 22 and 23, after completing an air assault into Qal`eh- ye Gaz, Rick and his squad were attacked from several directions by medium machine-gun and indirect fire, according to a Marine Corps news release. Rick subjected himself to enemy fire four times to employ his M4 Carbine and M203 grenade launcher while directing his squad’s maneuvers. Under Rick’s leadership, his squad forced the enemy to withdraw.
Later the same day, Rick again left cover, running out of the patrol base and covering 200 meters of open ground to lead a security team and recover a mortally wounded Marine. Although enemy rounds struck within feet of him, Rick was credited with calmly directing the fire of his squad as the security team maneuvered to the patrol base. Rick remained outside the patrol base until all his Marines were safely inside.
Rick later led his squad to counter a complex ambush. The precision fire from his grenade launcher destroyed two enemy fighters and directed support aircraft to their targets, officials said.