JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY - A Marine, who stepped on an explosive device in Afghanistan and lost both his legs, received the Silver Star Medal at Camp Lejeune Friday morning.
Brigadier General James W. Lukeman, the commanding general for the 2nd Marine Division, presented the award to Cpl. Christian A. Brown.
The Silver Star Medal, the military's third highest award for valor, was given to Brown for his actions while leading his squad during a foot patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Dec. 7, 2011.
According to Camp Lejeune, then LCpl. Brown and his squad came under fire from several positions by insurgents. But Brown was able to lead his squad in a counterattack against the attackers.
After one of his squad members was critically wounded, Brown arranged for the victim's evacuation, military officials said. But because the initial landing zone was deemed unsafe for the medical helicopter because of gunfire, Brown organized his Marines to secure another landing zone.
Brown then carried the wounded Marine almost 1,000 feet under enemy fire to the helicopter, military officials said. After safely evacuating the victim, he and his squad were able to fight the insurgents off.
On Dec. 13, 2011, Brown was leading his squad on another foot patrol, when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. Both of his legs were blown off- one above the knee, the other below the hip. He also lost part of his right index finger.
Brown made national headlines when the crew of a Delta flight wheeled him to the last row of the plane in December 2012. Several veterans on the flight tried to get Brown a first class seat offered by another passenger, according to a retired Army colonel. But flight attendants reportedly refused, saying no one was allowed to move because the plane was taking off.
A Delta representative later said it was a bad judgement by the flight crew to keep Brown in the back of the plane. Brown had a high fever at the time, and was heading to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.