Diatribes of a Knucklehead 151219

My Book “They Were Heroes” has plenty heroes, but today I would like to inform others of another hero, one of my former Animal Company Marines. This is totally unedited:

Summary of Action

Sgt Rollins is enthusiastically recommended for the Silver Star Medal while serving as 1st Squad Leader, 2d Platoon, Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, Marine Corps Forces, Central Command in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

On 19 June, Sergeant Rollins’ squad was conducting a reconnaissance patrol to the village of Dowlatabad when a white sedan sped out of the village and its occupants engaged the patrol with a burst of small arms fire and a rocket propelled grenades (RPG’s).  Sergeant Rollins immediately directed the fires of his Turret Gunner, then dismounted and engaged the rear of the fleeing vehicle.

After the insurgent forces had entered the village Sergeant Rollins quickly organized his vehicles into a blocking position and cordoned off the village.  He then devised a plan for pursuit that required two squads, so he called for another squad to reinforce his position.

When 2d Squad, 2d Platoon, Golf Company (G2B) arrived to provide support to both squads dismounted and began a methodical search of the village.  They soon discovered the vehicle they had engaged: a sedan with multiple broken windows, fresh blood stains, and two RPG rounds still inside.  Sergeant Rollins’s squad also discovered two enemy fighters hiding in the bushes with a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher and two rockets in the river close to their position, who were subsequently detained.

As the dismounts from the two squads moved into the riverbed in pursuit of the fleeing enemy fighters, a squad-sized element of enemy fighters engaged their position with a high volume of machine gun fire, RPG’s, and small arms fire from numerous prepared positions.

Sergeant Rollins began directing the movement of his men and controlling their fires.  He called out the location of the enemy fighters and exposed himself to enemy fire to mark their positions with tracer rounds.  The high volume of fire made voice communication impossible, so Sergeant Rollins moved to his Marines, while under fire, to direct their fire onto enemy fighters.

When Sergeant Rollins identified that the majority of the squad was pinned down and unable to move, he called one of the team leaders to his position to begin maneuvering on the entrenched enemy positions. As the two began maneuvering, enemy machine gun positions engaged the rest of the squad with accurate fire.

With no additional fire support, Sergeant Rollins and his team leader began maneuvering against the machine gun and small arms fire positions in an effort to draw fire and enable the other Marines to maneuver.  As they maneuvered forward, Sergeant Rollins suppressed the enemy with accurate fire, coming to within 30 meters of two machine gun positions.  Sergeant Rollins’s accurate fires resulted in the enemy orienting the majority of their firepower on his two-man position.

As Sergeant Rollins took cover and prepared to deploy a hand grenade, the enemy engaged his position with an RPG, destroying part of the berm he was using for cover.  Once he was out in the open, the enemy concentrated machine gun fire on Sergeant Rollins.  He quickly moved back to a covered position, but was unable to continue suppressing the enemy position due to the concentrated fire on his position.  Having effectively drawn the enemy’s fire and enabled the rest of the squad to move to cover, Sergeant Rollins focused on directing the fire of two vehicle mounted crew served weapons.

Sergeant Rollins then provided suppressive fire to cover the other Marine as he bounded back to rejoin the rest of the squad.  Though suppressing for one another, Sergeant Rollins and his team leader could not create a high enough volume of fire to suppress the squad-sized element with multiple machine gun positions.  As a result, the two of them rushed back over 50 meters under intense enemy fire.

After rejoining the rest of the squad, Sergeant Rollins began assisting in the life saving efforts and casualty evacuation of a Marine who had been struck by enemy fire while simultaneously attempting to keep a critically wounded Marine conscious.

Sergeant Rollins then directed his Turret Gunner to lay down covering fire in order to bring up a litter team.  Sergeant Rollins repeatedly exposed himself to accurate enemy fire to suppress the enemy fighting positions while the aid and litter team crossed the open ground to their position.  With enemy fire still raking across their front and no one left to suppress for them, Sergeant Rollins ordered the remaining Marines to spread load the casualty’s gear and equipment.  Aided by another Marine, Sergeant Rollins then low crawled out of the kill zone pulling one of the casualties along with him.  Reaching a low wall, Sergeant Rollins again exposed himself to enemy fire to lift the one of the casualties over a wall and into the arms of Marines waiting on the other side.  Sergeant Rollins’s selfless actions were critical in allowing the Marines to withdraw from the engagement zone.

Silver Star Medal Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as 1st Squad Leader, 2d Platoon, Company G, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, United States Marine Corps Forces, Central Command in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 19 June 2008. Enemy fighters ambushed Sergeant Rollins’ squad with a high volume of machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire from multiple prepared positions.  With the majority of his squad pinned down by the accurate enemy fires, Sergeant Rollins rushed to within 30 meters of the enemy positions, in the face of almost certain death, and provided suppressive fire which allowed his men to escape the immediate ambush area.  Once his Marines withdrew, Sergeant Rollins courageously maneuvered through enemy fire to rejoin his squad where he continued to attack the enemy while the wounded Marines were extracted.  Then, with enemy fire still impacting around him, Sergeant Rollins dragged a Marine casualty to safety.  Sergeant Rollins’ aggressive actions in the face of the enemy drew fire onto his own position and provided his squad the reprieve they needed to maneuver to safety.  Sergeant Rollins’ bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Please help me thank him for his bravery in the face of evil.

If you enjoyed this story you can read more at my FB page “Diatribe of a Knucklehead”





About The Author

David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired 2009 City of Hit Iraq with PTTDavid was born in Geneva New York and graduated from Geneva High School in 1980. He joined the Marine Corps on a guaranteed Infantry contract in April of 1983. After graduating boot camp he was stationed in Hawaii with 3rdBattalion 3rd Marines (3/3). While assigned to 3/3 he held billets as a rifleman, fire team leader, and squad leader. During 1986 Corporal (Cpl) Devaney was selected as a member of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Platoon, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine. Upon graduation of Scout Sniper School he was assigned to the Scout Sniper Section of 3/3 STA Platoon. During his second deployment as a Scout Sniper with 3/3 he was promoted to Sergeant (Sgt). After a tour on the drill field from 1989-1991 Sgt Devaney returned to STA 3/3 were he deployed two more times. During 1994 Sgt Devaney was selected to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) and ordered to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), Special Operation Training Group (SOTG); while at SOTG SSgt Devaney was assigned as a Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) and Urban Sniper Instructor and Chief Instructor. At the time III MEF SOTG Instructors were members of Joint Task Force 510 (JTF 510 CT); a Counter Terrorism Task Force. In 1998 he deployed to Operation Desert Fox with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/4 and was attached to Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 572/594 as a sniper. SSgt Devaney deployed again, during 2000, with ODA 135/136/132 to Malaysia as member of JTF 510, working with the Malaysian National Police. After leaving SOTG Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Devaney was assigned to Company A 1st Battalion 7th Marine, and spent much of his time training the Scout Snipers of 1/7. Just before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, he was selected to the rank of First Sergeant (1stSgt) and led 270 Marines, sailors, and soldiers during combat – receiving a Bronze Star Medal for destroying the enemy and their will to fight. During 2004 1st Sgt Devaney was ordered to duty as the Inspector Instructor Staff 1st Sgt for 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company, Savannah, Georgia. During 2007 he was selected to the rank of Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) and received orders to Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 (VMAQ-4) stationed at Cherry Point, NC. There he trained a CADRE which in turn trained a massive Quick Reaction Force in combat operations. After two more deployments to Iraq SgtMaj Devaney received orders to Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA. SgtMaj Devaney retired from the Marine Corps on 31 December 20013. He now works as an adjunct combat instructor at the “Crucible’’ in Fredericksburg, VA. David is also on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association. David’s published work: Books Devaney, D.K. (2007). Surviving combat: Mentally and physically (3rd edition). 29 Palms, CA: USMC. Devaney, D.K. (2015). They Were Heroes: A Sergeant Major’s Tribute to Combat Marines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Articles Devaney, D.K. (2011) Enough Talk of Suicide, Already! Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2011) Can PTSD Be Prevented Through Education? Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2012) PTSD Is Not Cancer. The Marine Corps Gazette. Devaney, D.K. (2012) Women in Combat Arms Units. The Marine Corps Gazette.

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