CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- The secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) presented three Silver Star Medals to Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Sailors during a visit to NSW commands, Feb. 11.
Ray Mabus presented the awards to recognize the actions of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Jared Tuxill, Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Gerardo Sosa and Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Joseph Molina, while they were deployed to Afghanistan in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"The awards that I presented today recognize uncommon heroism and uncommon valor," said Mabus. "It shows the skill level, the dedication and the patriotism, and its one of the best things I get to do - to recognize the people for what they do for us."
While the awardees were acknowledged for their courageousness and nerve in combat, they were both humbled and honored to receive their awards directly from the SECNAV.
"It's an honor to have the secretary of the Navy award me the Silver Star," said Sosa. "I'm sure he has a lot on his plate; for him to make the time to be here today means a lot. It's a reflection of all the hard work everybody in our community has accomplished."
The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, while engaged in military operations with a friendly force. It is the fourth highest military honor that can be awarded to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the third highest awarded for valor.
Three bronze stars with combat "V" were also awarded to Molina, Lt. Cmdr. John Green and Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Thomas Shea, for their actions while deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Bronze Star is awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. It's the ninth-highest military award in the U.S. Armed Forces and the fourth-highest combat award given for bravery.
The valor device, or combat "V," establishes the award as resulting from an act of heroism in combat.
Since 9/11, NSW personnel have been awarded 77 Silver Stars and 765 Bronze Stars for their contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After the ceremony, Mabus was presented with a memento boat paddle by Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli, deputy commander Naval Special Warfare Command; to commemorate the event.
For more information on Naval Special Warfare visit www.seal.navy.mil.
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