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EOD Chief awarded Silver Star.

Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus, recently awarded the Silver Star Medal to Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Gerardo Sosa, of Garden Grove, Calif., at the Naval Special Warfare Group 1, Mission Support Center aboard Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, Calif.

Sosa was recognized for his conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy, while serving as ECHO Platoon explosive ordnance disposal technician, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Mabus also recognized military families, during the ceremony.

"Most Americans don't realize the [operational tempo]; they don't realize how many times you deploy, and they don't realize that when you come home, you don't get to spend that whole time with your family," said Mabus. "These [families] are the folks that make the biggest sacrifice right here. Thank you for your sacrifice."

Sosa was cited for his heroic actions on Sept. 7-8, 2009. He was providing over watch for the clearance of the Malmand Bazaar, Kandahar Province, when his element leader was mortally wounded after stepping on a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED).

Sosa cleared a path to the element leader on his hands and knees, allowing the medic to render aid to the wounded Sailor. Discovering an IED beside the victim, he realized they were trapped in an active minefield. Sosa continued to probe the area, identifying and rendering an additional IED near the victim safe.

For 200 yards, Sosa cleared a path for his team as they transported their wounded team member to safety. His actions enabled their safe extraction from the minefield and saved the life of his wounded teammate.

"It's an honor to receive this award, but I look at it like this," said Sosa. "EOD techs are out there every day doing what I did. ... We don't do it for medals or for recognition; we do what we do to make sure Soldiers and Sailors get back to their families."

Story by Lt. David Bennett, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, Coronado, Calif.
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Title Annotation:Shipmates
Author:Bennett, David
Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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