Project Hero: SGT Timothy Conners, Silver Star Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, May 06, 2006
Today we honor Marine SGT Timothy Connors who was awarded the Silver Star for action in Fallujah, Iraq. If you're a frequent reader of Project Hero posts you've probably detected a pattern in the remarks of each of these brave people. The near universal belief that they didn't do anything more than anyone else and that their comrades were just as deserving of an award. Conners is no exception.
Marine Sgt. Timothy Connors of Braintree has won the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for valor in combat.
“This is a special occasion to honor him for his courageous actions, bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Gunnery Sgt. Pete Walz, public affairs chief.
Connors was cited for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy” while serving as 3d Squad Leader, 2d Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U. S. Marine Corps Forces, Central in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Nov. 10-15, 2004.
“As 2d Platoon came under heavy enemy fire from concealed positions on three sides, he effectively directed the fire of the squad as the platoon attempted to move into surrounding buildings for cover,” Connors’s citation reads. “When the squad entered a building for cover, the first Marine in the door was mortally wounded by several enemies who were defending a heavily fortified machine gun position.”
At this point, Connors and other non-commissioned officers re-entered the building, only to be forced back by the enemy.
“He directed the use of improvised explosive devices and a shoulder-launched multi-purpose assault weapon to create a secondary breach and eliminate the enemy position,” Connors’scitation states. “When it was evident the improvised explosive devices and rocket failed to penetrate the enemy stronghold, he led a group of non-commissioned officers of 2d Platoon into the enemy stronghold. Under intense enemy machine gun fire and without regard to his own personal safety, he eliminated the enemy with hand grenades and deadly accurate small arms fire at close proximity. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
“I’m happy about the (Silver Star) nomination, but personally I think everyone deserves something like that,” he said in the story. “I didn’t do anything more than anyone else did. I didn’t do anything less, either. As much as I appreciate it, I think everyone deserves to be recognized by something like that.”
Connors’s company was stationed at El Asad, west of Baghdad.
“We did the counter-mortar ops there and spent some time in Fallujah, north of Baghdad,” he said. ‘During the November battle to reclaim the city (Fallujah) from the insurgents who had made it their base, we had the task of clearing the houses of jihadists. They said we were the first unit since Vietnam to do foot mobile patrols in and out of towns and villages.”
Connors spoke about an intense grenade story he experienced.
“A soldier from another company was trapped on the second story of a house,” he said. “The insurgents threw a grenade down the stairs at us. We were all trying to get out of the room, but luckily the grenade didn’t go off. It was standing straight up, and we didn’t know if and when it would go off. I told my guys to get out, placed my own grenade next to the insurgent’s grenade, and ran away. I had five seconds to get away, but I did, and it worked.”
“It’s cool, but I didn’t do anything above and beyond the other guys,” he said. “I was just doing my job over there.”
There is nothing more intense or difficult than house to house fighting. And in our military it is up to the junior officers and NCOs to lead their troops in such fighting. When your read SGT Connors citation it is obvious that he is indeed one of those leaders who make our military the best the world has ever seen. And the grenade incident points to the sort of valor that is common and most of the times goes unrecognized.
PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.