Scheduled for live feed web broadcast via DVIDS (link above) on 10 August 2012, the family of USMC Sergeant Matthew Abatte will receive his Navy Cross, posthumously awarded for his heroism during events of 14 October 2010 — just weeks before his death.
[Article by Gidget Fuentes - staff writer of Marine Corps Times, 3 August 2012.]
A fallen scout sniper will be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross next week, the Marine Corps announced Thursday.
Sgt. Matthew Abbate, with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., was killed in combat in Afghanistan on Dec. 2, 2010, just six weeks after the battle that earned him the nation’s second-highest award for combat heroism.
Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey, the commanding general of 1st Marine Division, will present the award to Abbate’s family, who will accept it on his behalf. The ceremony is scheduled at 10 a.m. next Friday at Camp Pendleton.
Abbate was cited for his “bold and decisive leadership” while leading his scout-sniper section through a hellish ambush in Sangin district on Oct. 14, 2010.
Abbate and his scout-snipers were patrolling Sangin’s northern green zone when Taliban fighters and insurgents attacked the Marines. The squad didn’t know it but they were in the midst of a minefield. Two Marines and the Navy corpsman hit improvised explosive devices “in rapid succession,” according to the citation. Abbate quickly reacted.
“With the squad leader incapacitated, and the rest of the patrol either wounded or disoriented, Sergeant Abbate took command,” the citation states. “With total disregard for his own life, he sprinted forward through the minefield to draw enemy fire and rallied the dazed survivors. While fearlessly firing at the enemy from his exposed position, he directed fires of his Marines until they effectively suppressed the enemy, allowing life-saving aid to be rendered to the casualties.”
As the medical evacuation helicopter was inbound, Abbate swept the landing zone for explosives, but the patrol again had to duck enemy fire. Still, the sergeant persevered.
“Realizing that the casualties would die unless rapidly evacuated, Sergeant Abbate once again bravely exposed himself to enemy fire, rallied his Marines and led a counter attack that cleared the enemy from the landing zone, enabling the helicopters to evacuate the wounded,” according to the citation.
Abbate’s infantry battalion carved its own storied place in Marine Corps history when it battled insurgents in the 2004 Battle of Fallujah in Iraq, one of 3/5’s three combat tours in Iraq. Darkhorse saw combat just as intense and deadly in Afghanistan, losing 25 men in battle, including nine over a four-day period in October 2010.
Abbate was 26. His survivors include his young son, Carson, and family in the Fresno, Calif., area.