Marine Maj. Billy Brown bestows a commendation medal on Lance Cpl. Timothy Matanick. Others lined up to receive medals were Cpl. Tellis Hall, Lance Cpl. Dominic DeJohn, Sgt. Stephen Hooper, and Sgt. Scot Campbell of Sylvania.
Hit hard in Iraq, Lima Company returned to the U.S. in October
COLUMBUS - A Sylvania man and four other members of an Ohio Marine reserve unit that suffered heavy casualties in Iraq received honors for their achievements in battle.
Sgt. Scot Campbell, of Sylvania, and Sgt. Stephen Hooper, of Reynoldsburg, became the fourth and fifth members of Columbus-based Lima Company to receive the Bronze Star since the start of the war in Iraq.
Lance Cpl. Dominic DeJohn, of Columbus; Cpl. Tellis Hall, of DeGraff, and Lance Cpl. Timothy Matanick, of Strongsville, were awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Sunday.
Lima Company was devastated by attacks in Iraq last year, losing nine Marines in one roadside bombing Aug. 3. The unit returned home in October and earlier this year was the subject of a documentary on the A&E Network.
Corporal DeJohn, 21, was honored for his actions July 28, 2005, when members of his unit were ambushed by insurgents while searching for machine guns and grenades in buildings in Cykla, about 120 miles west of Baghdad.
A radio operator, Corporal DeJohn relayed his squad's position and spoke to other radio operators to establish locations - while returning fire.
"I didn't feel like I had time to be scared," he said. "I just did what I could to help those who were with me."
During the attack, Sergeant Hooper led a dozen Marines to a courtyard next to the building where insurgents were hiding. He was wounded in the fighting, which ended with two Marines and all 11 insurgents killed.
As a squad leader, Sergeant Hooper, 29, said the memories of the battle and the Marines' deaths still haunt him.
"A million things go through your head," he said. "Could you have done something different? You think it's your fault as a leader."