A 23-year-old Marine and lifelong Ramona resident has been awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Combat V for Valor.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Dustin L. Ivers, son of Laurie and Don Ivers of Ramona, received the award “for heroic achievement in the superior performance of his duties while serving as Assistant Patrol Leader, Fox Company, 3d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 2d Marine Division from November 2010 to May 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom,” states his citation from Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta on April 23.
Cpl. Ivers served as assistant patrol leader on 110 combat patrols in Marjah in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, “denying the Taliban a safe haven and stabilizing one of the most volatile areas in the city,” reads the citation.
While conducting counterinsurgency operations, Ivers’ squad took heavy enemy fire from less than 200 meters, stated Craparotta.
“Unable to maneuver, he quickly established two support by fire positions, contacted higher headquarters and coordinated the employment of a quick reaction force. With the additional firepower of the quick reaction force, he left a maneuver element in a flanking attack and through his skillful synchronization of friendly forces the enemy was repelled with no friendly casualties. He then conducted tactical site exploitation resulting in the discovery of 80 caches.”
The brigadier general lauded Ivers, saying that Ivers’ “initiative, perseverance and total dedication to duty reflected credit upon him and were in keeping (with) the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
Reacting humbly to questions about his award, Ivers told the Sentinel while he was on leave last week, “I feel that everyone else out there with me when it happened deserved the same thing.”
While leading his squad in counterinsurgency operations in the absence of the squad leader, Ivers’ squad was ambushed by a Taliban machine gun team, the written summary of his actions states. While the squad received heavy enemy fire, “he quickly established two support-by-fire positions to fix the enemy in place. Through his accurate reporting and assessment of the situation, a mobile and dismounted quick reaction force responded quickly and without complication.”
Once reinforced, Ivers “led a maneuver element toward the enemy fires to flank the enemy’s position and establish a blocking position on the enemy’s egress route. As a result of his actions and calmness under intense enemy fire, he was able to effectively repel the enemy’s attack with no casualties inflicted on his Marines.”
The summary continues that, “while conducting site exploitation on cache finds, he controlled aerial assets to gather intelligence on areas known for enemy activity and observed pattern of life in the immediate areas, ensuring the squad’s exploitations were not disrupted. As APL he was responsible for talking with locals in the surrounding area to gain further intelligence of the area and support Information Operations, gaining the support of the locals.”
Ivers also was lauded for maintaining strict direct fire control, “ensuring Marines only engaged when positive identification was established; as such, no Afghan civilians were harmed or injured by his squad’s actions.”
A Class of 2005 Ramona High School graduate, Ivers entered Marine Boot Camp in February 2008 and became a Marine in May 2008. He returns to duty on July 30 and will celebrate his 24th birthday on Aug. 25.