Maj. Hunter R. Rawlings IV, USMC, a 1994 graduate of Hobart College, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal by the U.S. Department of Defense for combat actions performed in Iraq. He served as company commander and then operations officer with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps.
“I had a lot of amazing Marines serving with me in combat, and though I much appreciate the honor, those guys were the ones who did all the really hard work (and in 130 degree weather I should add),” said Rawlings in an e-mail.
From March to September of 2006, Rawlings’ battalion was sent across a wide geographic area to cover any areas considered weak, or needing reinforcement. They lived the cavalry lifestyle, eating, washing and fighting from their light armored vehicles. Among the areas where they were deployed were Fallujah, where temperatures averaged about 136 degrees in May and June, and Rawah.
“Rawah was particularly bad, we relieved a full Army battalion from their fighting positions with only a severely under-strength battalion,” writes Rawlings. “The battalion had to be split with half still in Rutbah. The enemy recognized that we didn’t have the manning the Army had, and took the opportunity to inflict some casualties. Six fantastic young Marines and one Corpsman were killed. We owe those fallen warriors everything. After my deployments to Iraq, Memorial Day will always mean something different to us.”
He notes that they worked with the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army in Rawah, “All of the Iraqi forces I found to be fantastic troops, both in their tactical acumen and their strong spirit to win against what they see as a largely foreign threat… With an emboldened determination they accounted for the majority of our captures and disruption of insurgent forces.”
At the end of January 2008, Rawlings’ battalion was freed up to go after insurgents in the desert safe havens north and south of Al Quaim and Hadditha. They spent more than a month fighting the enemy in the desert, and then were assigned to Rutbah.
“We had only a month before the end of the deployment, but we took the opportunity to destroy the enemy. We ended up having great successes against a large enemy network of IED [improvised explosive device] layers, indirect fire cells (mortar and rocket cells) and foreign fighters. They were pretty determined, but we went after them and were able to succeed in taking down a large portion of the network.”
Currently, Rawlings is in Washington, D.C., assigned to the Pentagon and the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order in 1944, retroactive to Dec. 7, 1941. The executive order was amended by President John Kennedy in 1962 to expand the authorization to include those serving with friendly forces.
“The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States after Dec. 6, 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party,” according to the Department of Defense Web site,
Rawlings earned a B.A. in English and German from Hobart College. A sailor for the Colleges, he participated in off-campus study at the Institute for European Studies and played minor league baseball in Germany.
In the top photo, Rawlings is at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., receiving the Bronze Star medal from Col. Carl E. Mundy III. Gunnery Sgt. Shilling is reading the citation.
In the lower photo, Rawling stands with (l to r) his father Hunter R. Rawlings III, wife Erin Felger, daughter Cecily Elsa Rawlings, and mother Irene M. K. Rawlings.