SAN DIEGO - A Camp Pendleton Marine has been awarded the Silver Star Medal for his actions during a Taliban attack in Afghanistan last year that killed two Marines and left dozens of aircraft destroyed, it was reported Saturday.
Maj. Robb McDonald received the medal during a ceremony this week, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Silver Star Medal is the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces, according to the Defense Department.
McDonald, 37, was stationed at Camp Bastion airbase in Helmand province on Sept. 14, 2012, when 15 Taliban fighters breached the base's defenses and began destroying aircraft, The Times reported.
McDonald, then a Harrier pilot, maneuvered more than a mile on foot with two other officers through an area exposed to enemy fire.
The newspaper reported that when McDonald's commanding officer was mortally wounded, McDonald took command, taking actions that saved Marine lives and prevented further loss to aircrafts.
Citing the Sliver Star citation, The Times reported that McDonald led "a small team out to reconnoiter the flight line, he killed one enemy with a rifle he had borrowed and then expertly coordinated two helicopter strikes to destroy all remaining enemy."
The Times reported that McDonald was at the time executive officer of Attack Squadron 211 from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing. He is now an officer for the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, has two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and eight Air Medals from previous deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.