13th MEU BLT 2/1 Marine receives Silver Star for OIF Heroism

4 May 2005 | Cpl. Andy J. Hurt

It is said that Marines excel in less-than-ideal situations. When Lance Cpl. Thomas R. Adametz, a rifleman from Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1 Marine Regiment, braved eight grenades, dozens of rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s) and a massive volume of enemy fire to protect 10 injured Marines, he put his life on the line and embodied the essence of courage, earning him a place in history and the Marine Corps’ third highest medal for actions in combat.Adametz received the Silver Star for his heroic actions against an overwhelming enemy force at the Camp Horno parade deck yesterday.On April 26, 2004, Adametz and his platoon were conducting combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq. According to his award citation, at approximately 11 a.m., while holding a defensive position on the roof of a building, Adametz’ platoon received heavy enemy fire, including grenade and RPG explosions. The platoon was heavily engaged in a firefight with nearly 50 enemy combatants, when four Marines were seriously wounded. Adametz reached for an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) and assumed a position completely exposed to enemy fire, laying suppressive fire to cover four Marines who were being medically evacuated (MEDEVAC’d).While the awards ceremony was a virtual media frenzy, Adametz maintained his cool demeanor, a reflection of the hero’s laid back personality.“When they told me at 29 Palms (during a recent Revised Combined Arms Exercise) that the medal went through, I wanted them to just hand it to me,” he said. “This (ceremony) is more for my family… I don’t need all this.”As reporters grilled the warrior on his actions in Fallujah, Adametz maintained his humble tone. “I was really just doing my job. It only felt right to pull the trigger.”Unmentioned in his citation, however, are the severe burns he sustained on his palm, the result of changing the scalding-hot barrel on the SAW. He still bears the scars today.Lt. Gen. John A. Sattler, I Marine Expeditionary Force Commanding General presented the award. Speaking to the battalion formation, family and media in the audience, he reiterated our “Corps Values” and how Adametz’ actions in the bloody battle reflected those virtues. “It’s not just a bumper sticker or a card we carry in our wallet,” he said. “This Marine is a great example of our Corps Values.”Sattler also seized the opportunity to encourage the Marines of BLT 2/1 who are currently in pre-deployment training for their upcoming Western Pacific Deployment (WESTPAC 05-1) with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “You’re deploying to the North Arabian Golf … mission, to be determined,” he continued. “You’re going with a great MEU … every warrior here stands ready.”“If your time comes, will you be able use your adrenaline rush to suppress the enemy?” he asked and later answered, “there’s no doubt in my mind that every one of you will.”Military virtues and heroism run strong in Adametz’ family. His father, Robert, is a retired Naval Chief Petty Officer. According to Marie Adametz, his grandmother, Adametz’ great-uncle, Nicholas Polaritz, a Marine, was awarded five Bronze Stars and two Silver Stars for service in Vietnam.With heroes like Adametz in the rank-and-file life of the Marine Corps, it is simple to see that ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. Adametz will wear his Silver Star for the rest of his life as proof.For more information about BLT 2/1 and the Fighting 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, visit the unit’s Web site at www.usmc.mil/13th meu.
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit