Marine Awarded Silver Star, BSM

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MILITARY: Heroic Marine downplays accomplishments

A year ago this month, Master Sgt. David Jarvis and part of his platoon of Camp Pendleton Marines found themselves surrounded by dozens of insurgents in Afghanistan's deadly Sangin River Valley.
A roadside bomb detonated, severely injuring two troops. Machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades assaulted the Marines from several directions.
The 34-year-old Jarvis repeatedly moved along his defensive lines, putting him directly in the line of fire as he repositioned his troops to fend off the attack.
As the hourlong firefight dragged on, the native of Port Orchard, Wash., realized that a medical evacuation helicopter called in to pick up the injured troops was in danger.
Jarvis attacked with a light anti-armor rocket, again putting himself in the direct line of fire. It was a move that allowed the rescue helicopter to land and safely evacuate the wounded.
For those actions, Jarvis was awarded the Silver Star on Wednesday, an honor he said belongs to all the Marines that were there.
"It's not my day, it's a day for everybody to remember and look back on all the things we did there," he said before his award ceremony. "I truly don't take it as my citation ---- it's all of ours."
But moments after 1st Marine Division commander Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey pinned on Jarvis' chest the third-highest honor a Marine can receive after the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross, Jarvis also was awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor in combat, clearly marking him as someone special.
That award came for a set of similar actions in July and August of last year in which he and his Marines were attacked by anti-government Taliban fighters in the southeastern Helmand province.
"Composure, calmness, courage. You never know in battle who's going to have it, who's going to step up," Bailey said. "But he has it. He has my admiration and my respect."
Jarvis was a gunnery sergeant when he earned his recognition while leading the 1st Platoon of Company B of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.
Recon Marines are in a special class themselves, highly trained and extremely fit Marines who take on some of the most difficult missions.
Jarvis' squad was assigned the job of stabilizing a section of the Sangin River Valley that is a place commanders have described as a drug haven and roadside-bomb manufacturing center that rapidly became the Taliban's last stronghold in that section of Helmand province after the Marines arrived.
"We were there to stabilize the area and we're going around meeting key leaders to find out what their needs were and what we could do to help them," the well-spoken, outgoing Jarvis said Wednesday before the medal ceremony.
"In doing that, we tangled up with a lot of the Taliban in their backyard, an area that until then had been untouched by coalition forces," he added. "We had to make the area safe."
When he took the microphone to address family and hundreds of Marines gathered at Camp Pendleton to witness the bestowing of his medals, Jarvis again was reluctant to take credit for the heroism the Marine Corps says he displayed.
"No single Marine wins battles," he said. "No individual Marine fights alone. It's a team effort."
The two Marines injured by the Oct. 25, 2010, bombing survived their wounds, as did four others who suffered more minor wounds.
"Because of your leadership, all your Marines came home," said Jarvis' boss, Lt. Col. Brian Gilman, commander of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.
Gilman repeatedly described Jarvis as a modest and humble man, but also one of the most fit Marines in the battalion, who routinely bests troops roughly half his age in fitness competitions.
He also noted that Jarvis has received multiple honors, including top graduate of two of the Marine Corps' most challenging assignments, its sniper and reconnaissance courses.
Jarvis again was having little of the praise he was hearing. He credited his wife, Tina, a Marine chief warrant officer, who is roughly half his size, with keeping him focused and on task.
Maj. Gen. Bailey summed up Jarvis by saying he was the latest in a long line of 1st Marine Division heroes.
"It's all about pride and legacy, and leading by example and withstanding withering enemy fire," the general said. "Master Sgt. Jarvis represents all that."
Jarvis' mom, Laura Ashe, said seeing her son awarded two medals for battlefield courage was "awesome."
"A lot of the time he was gone, I would ignore the news," she said. "I didn't want him over there, and now I'm just glad he's home safe."
Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that Master Sgt. David Jarvis has not been married for 20 years. His wife, Tina, has been in the Marine Corps for 20 years.

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MSgt Jarvis is a good dude. He was at 1st Force before he picked up a platoon at 1st Recon Battalion.
Wow excellent job. I knew him when he was Gunny Jarvis. Congratulations are in order for both a the promotion and recognition. This man is definitely one of the most laid back and humble men you will meet.
Holy shit he's from my hometown.

Shared that on my facebook, where many Port Orchardians reside. Maybe it'll filter around.

Semper Fi, MSgt!