Camp Lejeune Marine posthumously receives Navy Cross
Posted June 17
Camp Lejeune, N.C. — A Camp Lejeune Marine was posthumously awarded the nation’s second highest honor for valor in combat on Tuesday.
Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Gifford, 34, of the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, was on patrol in Badgdis Province, Afghanistan on July 29, 2012 when his unit came under enemy fire. Gifford, of Palm Bay, Fla., crossed 800 meters of open terrain to aid wounded Afghan soldiers, helped move them to an area where they could be evacuated, then was killed after going back to return fire.
Gifford’s family was presented with the Navy Cross during a ceremony at Camp Lejeune.
“Because he was considered the best at what he did, how gifted things would continue to be the benchmark of the right way to do things for many generations in the Marines,” said Marine Corps Major General Mark A. Clark, commander of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.
Clark, who said Gifford was given the nickname “Wild Lion” by fellow Afghan soldiers, had a message for his family.
“Your husband, your daddy was a brave man who did the right tings in life to the best of his ability,” he said. “He did it not for the recognition or to be thanked, but because he wanted to. That was his calling in life.”
Gunnery Sgt. Daniel J. Price, 27, of Holland, Mich., was also killed during the battle.