CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY - A Camp Lejeune Marine was honored with the Silver Star Medal for his actions in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Daniel W. Ridgeway, a Marine currently assigned to Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, received the Silver Star Medal. It's the third-highest combat award in the U.S. military.
The honor is for his actions while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.Ridgeway supervised a dismounted security patrol whose mission was to clear a suspected enemy weapons cache site known to be laden with improvised explosive devices.
Soon after the squad of Marines began their operation, an IED struck Ridgeway's team member. The citation details Ridgeway's heroic actions in clearing, on his hands and knees, a 40-meter path to administer care to the wounded Marine. Ridgeway then cleared a 100 by 100 meter landing zone to facilitate the medical evacuation of the casualty.After the evacuation, his squad came under enemy fire from multiple positions. Ridgeway again cleared five additional IEDs while under direct fire.
Staff Sgt. Ridgeway was born on Feb. 20, 1985, in Gadsden, Ala. He graduated from Emma Samson High School in 2003 and enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 2004. He graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., June 11, 2004. Upon graduation he reported to the School of Infantry aboard Camp Geiger, N.C., where he spent a month as Camp Guard prior to beginning Marine Combat Training. Upon completion of MCT he reported to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., for Ground Communications Organizational Repair training.
After completing military occupational specialty school, Pfc. Ridgeway then reported to 8th Communications Battalion aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C.
He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from August 2005 to March 2006, performing duties such as Camp Fallujah base force protection and providing security for the Iraqi Elections in Baghdad, as well as ground communications organizational repair.After returning from his first deployment, Cpl. Ridgeway was assigned to II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) as part of a provisional rifle squad and deployed to Iraq for a second time from January 2007 to February 2008.
There he performed duties associated with providing personal security for the commanding general and sergeant major of II MEF (Fwd.), such as operating the M2 .50 Cal machine gun and as a vehicle commander during convoy missions from Baghdad to Saudi Arabia.
On Jan. 1, 2008, Cpl. Ridgeway completed the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Screening at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, and reported to Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal in September 2008. Promoted to sergeant, Ridgeway graduated from EOD school on Dec. 4, 2009, and reported to 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion aboard Camp Lejeune.
Upon arrival to 2nd EOD Company, Sgt. Ridgeway was placed in "Fightin'" 4th Platoon, where he completed the Infantry Squad Leaders Course and conducted pre-deployment training for Operation Enduring Freedom 11.1. In April 2011, he deployed with 2nd EOD Company to Sangin, Afghanistan.
Sgt. Ridgeway initially deployed as a team member but was quickly promoted to the position of team leader supporting Bravo and Charlie Companies, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and, toward the end of the deployment, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. Upon returning to Camp Lejeune, Sgt. Ridgeway attended the Combat Marksmanship Coaches Course, gaining the additional MOS of Combat Marksmanship Coach.
Staff Sgt. Ridgeway was promoted to his current rank in August 2012 and is currently assigned to Wounded Warrior Battalion-East aboard Camp Lejeune.
Staff Sgt. Ridgeway's Personal Awards include: Good Conduct Medal with two bronze stars in lieu of third award; Combat Action Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two gold stars in lieu of third award.