President of the United States
Takes Pleasure in Presenting
The Navy Cross
L. Copeland, III
Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
Services as Set Forth in the Following
For extraordinary heroism
as Team Leader, 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Reconnaissance
Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S.
Marine Corps Forces, Central Command in support of Operation Iraqi
Freedom on April 7, 2004. Tasked as the Main Effort to lead a convoy
to a Forward Operating Base, Sergeant Copeland's platoon was ambushed
by 40 - 60 insurgents in well-fortified and concealed positions near
the province of Al Anbar. After observing a rocket-propelled grenade
instantly crippling the lead vehicle and having mortar and machinegun
fire disable his own, Sergeant Copeland led five Marines out of the
heaviest zone under attack and made an assault across an open field.
They continued the assault across a deep and muddy canal, working
their way up to firing positions on the far side within hand grenade
range of the enemy. The vigor of this first assault eliminated ten
insurgents at close range while forcing other enemy positions to flee.
During this valiant effort, his commanding officer fell wounded at his
side. Unwilling to subject any more Marines to danger, he signaled
others to remain in covered positions. While placing himself in a
position to shield his wounded officer, he applied first aid. Without
regard for his own personal safety, Sergeant Copeland stabilized, then
evacuated his Captain to a safe area. He then conducted the withdrawal
of his team from their covered positions through the use of hand
grenades. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete
dedication to duty, Sergeant Copeland reflected great credit upon
himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the
United States Naval Service.