JACKSONVILLE, North Carolina -- Marines and sailors with the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force gathered at the task force headquarters to present an award to one of their own, Oct. 10, 2014.
Col. Matthew G. St. Clair, commanding officer, GCEITF, formally presented 1st. Lt. Benjamin Sheldon, platoon commander, Company A, GCEITF, with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with combat “V” distinguishing device as the task force looked on.
Sheldon’s citation told of his time serving as the executive officer for Company B, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Task Force Belleau Wood, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2013 to May 2014.
“I am humbled to receive this award because there are a lot of Marines who go unrecognized,” Sheldon said. “For the first three months of our deployment we conducted helicopter raids around the Helmand province to clear out insurgents. A couple of those operations were pretty kinetic.”
The citation continued with describing Operation Nightmare IV on Nov. 6, 2013, in which Sheldon served as raid force fire support officer. He placed himself on a rooftop without cover and skillfully coordinated high mobility artillery rocket strikes on enemy positions. His bold and decisive actions enabled the raid force to breakout an enemy surrounded village and contributed to the safe return of the raid force.
“I’m honored to receive this award, and thankful for my experiences serving with Company B,” Sheldon said.
From October 2014 to July 2015, the Ground Combat Element Integrated Task Force will conduct individual and collective skills training in designated combat arms occupational specialties in order to facilitate the standards based assessment of the physical performance of Marines in a simulated operating environment performing specific ground combat arms tasks.