Richard Weinmaster Cozad, Neb.
In shielding his comrades from the explosion of a grenade, Richard Weinmaster suffered severe injuries to his head, legs and abdomen and was airlifted to the United States amid uncertainty as to whether or not he could even survive his wounds. During his recuperation, he spent several weeks in Cozad visiting family, friends and former teachers, and local officials held a big reception for him. One piece of shrapnel remains lodged in his brain. Humbly deferring well-earned praise from his fellow Marines, he said, “Everyone on my left and right would have done the same thing. I was just in the right place at the right time.”
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 Private First Class Richard S. Weinmaster, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Automatic Rifleman, 3d Platoon, Company E, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, Marine Corps Forces, Central Command (Forward), in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM on 8 July 2008. Private First Class Weinmaster’s squad was conducting a dismounted patrol down a narrow side street in the Sangin District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces ambushed the squad with machine gun fire and hand grenades. Upon contact, Private First Class Weinmaster immediately began engaging the enemy positions with his squad automatic weapon. As he delivered suppressive fire and assaulted the enemy, encountering a withering volume of fire that passed within meters of his position, Private First Class Weinmaster saw two hand grenades tossed over a wall land in the middle of his patrol. Noting where one of the grenades landed, he quickly placed himself between the grenade and his fire team leader, using his body to shield both his team leader and several other Marines from the blast, which occurred immediately. Private first Class Weinmaster was seriously injured when the grenade detonated, but his valorous actions prevented his fire team leader from receiving any shrapnel. Although he was critically wounded, Private First Class Weinmaster continued to carry on the attack, engaging enemy forces with accurate automatic weapons fire and forcing them to break contact, until he collapsed from the gravity of his wounds. By his outstanding display of decisive action, unlimited courage in the face of extreme danger, and total dedication to duty, Private First Class Weinmaster reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Private First Class