Justin D. LeHew (born 2 January 1970 in Columbus Grove, Ohio) is a United States Marine who served in the War on Terror. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions on 23 and 24 March 2003 during the initial 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was hand picked to spearhead the rescue operation and recovery of the U.S. Army's 507th Maintenance Company on 23 March and subsequently was called upon again to take part in the rescue operation of US Army Private Jessica Lynch on 1 April 2003. He is also a recipient of the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device denoting Valor for his heroic actions from 5 to August 28, 2004 during the Battle of Najaf.
On March 23, 2003, Gunnery Sergeant LeHew was an Assault Amphibian Vehicle Platoon Sergeant who was leading an armored column into the city of Nasiriyah when he was called upon to rescue the remaining soldiers of the ill-fated US Army 507th Maintenance Company led by Captain Troy King who was ambushed just hours earlier. After the Marine column rescued the soldiers, the attack continued into the streets of the city where, during a day of unrelenting and viscous house to house, street to street, close quarters urban combat he bolstered a defensive perimeter to repel numerous waves of Saddam Fedayeen attackers, directed tank and infantry fires, rescued or retrieved 7 more US Marines after their vehicle was destroyed by rocket propelled grenade fire and coordinated an air medical evacuation of all wounded and dead US troops during the fight for the Southern Bridge in the city. Gunnery Sergeant LeHew was also later involved in the rescue and recovery operation of US Army Private Jessica Lynch from the hospital in Nasiriya. During this battle, Gunnery Sergeant LeHew was awarded the Navy Cross for heroic actions in close quarters combat in the city as well as calmly calling in air strikes and Tank/Infantry fires to neutralize enemy targets in the midst of chaos. In an incredible show of determination and strength, it was witnessed by multiple Marines that Gunnery Sergeant LeHew personally carried a "6'4", 240 lb severely wounded Marine Corporal to safety over a distance of 200 yards under a hailstorm of small arms, machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire, saving the man's life.
More Public Affairs