MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON, Washington D.C. -- The annals of Marine Corps history are filled with stories of men and women who have sacrificed their all in service to their country. Puller, Basilone, Lejeune, Butler, Daley—names that are synonymous with valor in combat and Marine Corps lore.
"There is a fellowship of valor that links all U.S. Marines, past, present, and future," said Joseph Alexander, retired Marine Colonel in his book The Battle History of the U.S. Marines: A Fellowship of Valor.
Now, another story of valor can be added to the Marine history books and for one Marine officer assigned to the Corps' "Oldest Post," that story is one of modesty and simply taking care of his Marines.
Dallas native, Capt Joshua L. Glover was presented the nation's third highest award for valor in combat—the Silver Star medal.
Glover, a 2001 United States Naval Academy graduate, received his award during a chilly early morning ceremony held aboard the Post Oct 28, 2005 from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Michael W. Hagee.
The 26-year-old received the award for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as 81mm Mortar Platoon Commander with Weapons Company and Quick Reaction Force Platoon Commander, 1st Marine Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 13, 2004 in Al Fallujah.
When asked about the award, Glover humbly diverts attention away from himself.
"I received this award because of something we did as a platoon, and I am really proud of what we accomplished that day," he said.
Occurring during the second of his three deployments to Iraq, Glover led and directed his platoon through enemy lines to recover classified material from a downed CH-53 helicopter. The platoon was attacked by Iraqi forces employing machinegun, small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Glover skillfully maneuvered his force and assaulted through the ambush to friendly lines, inflicting numerous enemy casualties.
After successfully completing the mission, Glover was ordered that same evening to recover a destroyed Assault Amphibious Vehicle and assist in the rescue of a besieged rifle platoon deep behind enemy lines. Glover and his Marines found themselves up against a company-sized Iraqi force along the enemy's main line of resistance where as stated in Glover’s Silver Star citation, "...he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he engaged enemy targets at point-blank range while directing the rifle platoon's relief and coordinating recovery operations."
Glover attributes the battle as a success because of the hard work of the Marines in his charge, and his common sense approach to leadership.
"When you train Marines you have to get them to focus on the basics. In a chaotic situation such as combat, the basics will get them through," said Glover.
According to Glover, it's more than just training that makes a platoon of Marines successful in combat. Strong leadership in your Non-Commissioned Officers is vital. In order to be successful, with the dispersion between elements in today's combat environments, your NCOs have to be equipped and empowered to make decisions, he said.
And through something very challenging, Glover has earned a new outlook on his life.
"I have learned to appreciate what we have here in the U.S., both the general safety we enjoy and the quality of our lives," said Glover.
And while the battle for which Glover was awarded was a success, he feels the enormity of the price that was paid.
"I lost a Marine that day, as did another unit in the battalion. We can not separate [the victory from the loss], and I think we need to do our best to make them and their families proud," he said.
For those Marines who have been called upon to defend freedom in far off lands, sacrifice is the common thread that binds them together. The desire to join their brethren in combat keeps them ready to go. And, at the Corps' "Oldest Post," another story can be added to the history books—-one of sacrifice, humility and valor.