View Full Version : U.S. Anthony Viggiani , Navy Cross ,Afghanistan

08-26-2009, 10:57 AM
Anthony Viggiani
* Place of birth: Strongsville, Ohio
* Home of record: Strongsville, Ohio

After Boot Camp and Infantry Training, Anthony Viggiani was sent to the Marine Security Forces School at Chesapeake, Virginia, where he was trained for Marine Security Guard duty. He subsequently served more than two years at the Presidential Retreat at Camp David, Maryland. Of the night of the actions that resulted in both injury and award of the Navy Cross, he later recalled, "I didn't want to tell [my mom] because I knew she would be upset. "But when I did call her, out of the five minutes I got to talk to her, three and a half were spent calming her down." Following his Iraq service he was assigned as a Marine Corps Drill Instructor at Parris Island, South Carolina, and his award was presented during the graduation of one of his classes.

Awards and Citations

Navy Cross

Awarded for actions during the Global War on Terror

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Sergeant Anthony Lester Viggiani, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action against Anti-Coalition Force Militia in Zabol Province, Afghanistan, serving as a squad leader for Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team, First Battalion, Sixth Marines, Twenty-Second Marine Expeditionary Unit, deployed with commander, United States Fifth Fleet during Operation Enduring Freedom 3 June 2004. While leading a company assault against an enemy held ridgeline north of the village of Khabargho, Sergeant Viggiani and his squadron came under heavy and accurate fire from an enemy force well entrenched inside a cave, pinning down one of his teams and wounding two of his Marines. Moving across exposed ground, under observation and fire from an adjacent enemy position, Sergeant Viggiani maneuvered to the cave opening, but achieving no effect on the enemy. Braving enemy fire from the adjacent enemy position, he went back to retrieve a fragmentation grenade. Again, under a hail of fire, he moved to within feet of the cave opening and employed the grenade to eliminate the enemy position, which was actively firing upon friendly forces. Killing three enemy fighters, Sergeant Viggiani destroyed the enemy strongpoint and allowed his company to continue their advance up to the ridgeline, solidly defeating the enemy by killing a total of fourteen Anti-Coalition fighters. In the process, he was wounded by rifle fire from the adjacent enemy position, yet he continued to lead his Marines in the attack. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of enemy fire and utmost dedication to duty, Sergeant Viggiani reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Service: Marine Corps

08-26-2009, 10:57 AM
The Story:

“It stings but it’s nothing.” Most people might say that when describing a carpet burn or perhaps a bee sting. Staff Sgt. Viggiani, on the other hand, said that of a bullet wound sustained on June 3, 2004, in the mountainous region around Khabargho, Afghanistan.

His team and another squad received reports that a group of Taliban fighters were fleeing out of the town and into the forbidding hills – incredibly tough terrain full of caves and crevices, pits, and pitfalls.

As the men approached the ridgeline north of town, Viggiani’s squad lost touch with the others as the mountains interfered with the radio transmissions. Then Viggiani and his squad came under heavy and accurate fire, which injured two Marines and halted the advance. Viggiani crept forward, as it seemed like the fire was coming from the steep slope in front of him.

Viggiani and another Marine continued their slow advance – and suddenly came under direct fire. Shooting was coming from a cave just a few feet away, and the enemies were still firing at the wounded Marines who had taken cover behind a nearby rock. With the rest of his team pinned down, it fell to Viggiani to eliminate the well-entrenched insurgents. Maneuvering to a better position, he found himself peering through a small break in the rocks. When he saw a piece of cloth move, he fired off three or four rounds. He heard no sounds that would lead him to believe the enemies had been hit, so he grabbed a grenade and dropped it into the hole. The cave blew apart, exposing three now-dead Taliban snipers.

With the threat eliminated, the medic was able to reach and treat the two injured Marines. Viggiani refused treatment on the gunshot to his leg, and instead continued fighting. After three or four hours of intense chase and fighting, the Marines killed 14 enemy fighters and cleared the area. For his leadership and bravery, Viggiani was awarded the Navy Cross on Jan. 25, 2006.

08-26-2009, 11:00 AM
‘There was just no way I was leaving my boys’
Shot to the leg couldn’t get Marine out of the fight
By Geoff Ziezulewicz, Stars and Stripes

Courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps

Despite a bullet in the leg, Marine Staff Sgt. Anthony Viggiani continued to lead his squad against the enemy in Afghanistan in 2004.
Staff Sgt.
Anthony Viggiani
Unit: Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment
Medals: Navy Cross
Earned: June 3, 2004, in Zabol Province, Afghanistan

With the typical stone-faced grit of a Marine, Staff Sgt. Anthony Viggiani is modest about how he came to be awarded the Navy Cross, the service’s highest award.

“I’m honored to receive the award,” said Viggiani, 26, now a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. “But for what I did, I was just doing my job. When you hear about other citations, they did a hell of a lot more than I did.”

Regardless of how Viggiani feels about the award, the dedication to his “boys” while deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 is evident. Viggiani crept up on an enemy position and took out three fighters. And even after taking a shot to the leg, Viggiani didn’t leave his unit.

“I was like, ‘I ain’t [expletive] going nowhere,’” Viggiani said of attempts to get him first aid for his leg wound after the combat quieted down. “There was just no way I was leaving my boys.”

Viggiani’s June 3, 2004, patrol with Company C, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit started out like many days in the Zabol Province of Afghanistan.

“We were rolling through and got intel reports to sweep a village,” he said. “And we got reports that they had spotted some guys.”

Soon, Viggiani led a squad on a chase of the insurgents, which led them into mountainous terrain that thwarted some of the technological advantages normally held by U.S. forces.

“We had no idea where our second squad was because of the mountains,” he recalled. “The radio transmissions were pretty jacked up.”

Enemy forces began firing on one of Viggiani’s teams from a well-entrenched cave position, pinning them down.

Under fire from another enemy position, Viggiani scrambled to lob a fragmentation grenade into a cave holding the forces that had trapped one of his teams with furious gunfire.

“I’ve got a rifle in my right, a frag in my left,” he said of his race down a ridge to take out the cave position. Soon, Viggiani saw a small hole leading into the cave. The enemy was close.

“I saw a cloth in there and fired three or four rounds inside,” he said. “The cloth moved, and I saw skin. I fired about three, four more rounds. Then I pulled the pin on the frag, dropped it down, took two steps and plastered myself against the rock. [Expletive] went everywhere. Cloth, blood, everything.”

Soon, machine gun fire came in Viggiani’s direction from across the way. He took a shot to the leg as he and another noncommissioned officer tried to avoid the fire. Air support soon came through and cleaned out the enemy position that had hit Viggiani.

Three to four hours after spotting the enemy forces, Viggiani’s company took out 14 enemy fighters.

Seeking medical treatment for his wound during a lull in fighting, while the enemy was still precariously close, was just not an option that day, he said.

Instead, Viggiani focused on the other guys who were injured, and how things could have been much worse.

During a Company C dinner in Rota, Spain, as the deployment was ending, Viggiani was recognized by those who knew what he had been through.

“They read what I did, and I got a standing ovation from all my peers,” he said. “That meant more than the award, because they were there with me.”

For almost a year, Viggiani has been training the next wave of Marines as a drill instructor at Parris Island.

“It’s very challenging,” he said. “But I miss the grunts.”

Viggiani still stays in touch with the team and squad leaders who were with him that day in Afghanistan.

Viggiani is reluctant to call himself a hero. “If somebody does their job, brings the boys home alive and accomplishes the mission, that’s it to me,” he said of heroism. “All of my boys, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

“It’s a brotherhood. When you get over there, your mom, dad, brothers and sisters, they can’t help you. It’s the man to your left and the man to your right. That’s what matters.”

08-26-2009, 03:35 PM
hell yeah great post Bob I maynot post on all of them but I do read them. I will start printing them off to show my soldiers that there are modern heroes and that they are ordinary soldiers thrown into extraordinary cicumstances.

08-26-2009, 03:40 PM
hell yeah great post Bob I maynot post on all of them but I do read them. I will start printing them off to show my soldiers that there are modern heroes and that they are ordinary soldiers thrown into extraordinary cicumstances.

That my friend is an excellent idea.

08-26-2009, 03:54 PM
You starting this thread gave me the idea sometime ago just recently ogt the go ahead from my PSG to do so. He wants me to read or show 2-3 people at the start of every training evolution that we do at drill. I am excited to do this. Thank you for doing the research Bob.

08-26-2009, 04:13 PM
Your quite welcome, you know the media won't show 1/8th of these. by the way haven't done this in a while FTM