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Marines honored for heroism while deployed in Afghanistan

By Alison Parker
Published On: Nov 01 2013 04:34:45 PM CDT
CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Two grenades land in Sgt. Joshua Moore's compound. Only seconds separate him from the explosions. What he did next is what earned him the Navy Cross.

"That single thought kind of consumes your whole mental process," Moore said. "You don't know how long you've got, and you're just really hoping youre beating the timer on that, and everything works out for you."

And it did. Moore and there other Marines from his unit are now together again after an enemy attack in Afghanistan that nearly tore them apart.

"It was like I was dreaming -- worst alarm clock ever," said Cpl. Gaven Eier, who tended to wounded Marines while under enemy fire.

Moore and Eier were honored with two other Marines for their heroism. When the grenades hit the ground more than two years ago, Moore grabbed them, and threw them outside the compound.

That's what brought him here aboard Camp Lejeune Friday, where Navy Secretary Ray Mabus awards Moore the Navy Cross, the highest honor in the Navy.

"To be awarded a Navy Cross requires an incredible act of heroism, requires a complete disregard for your personal safety, requires that you are doing something to protect the lives of your fellow Marines," Mabus said.

Eier tended to wounded Marines while under enemy fire, earning a Navy and Marine Commendation Medal. Though they escaped death, it's this reunion that mattered the most.

"I mean, seeing each other face to face today is the happiest day of my life," Eier said.

Moore says someone was certainly watching over them that day.

"If any one person, member of that team hadn't done exactly what they did in the way that they did it, we probably wouldn't have all made it home that day," Moore said.

-- A day that can be summed up in a few seconds.

Cpl. Ritchie Elias and Sgt. Matthew Adams also received Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals.