Saturday, November 10, 2012

TFH 11/10: Lance Corporal Christopher S. Adelsperger, USMC

Christopher S. Adelsperger was born on October 24, 1984 and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was a three-sport high school athlete, and left the University of New Mexico to enlist in the United States Marine Corps - one of the many who felt our Nation's call in the days after 9/11.

On November 10, 2004 - coincidentally the Marine Corps' birthday - he was serving as a rifleman with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in combat in Iraq as part of the 1st Marine Division's Regimental Combat Team 1. When his platoon was clearing houses in Fallujah, Lance Corporal Adelsperger repeatedly put his own life at extreme risk to protect his fellow Marines and press the attack against the enemy.

His chain of command recommended him for the Medal of Honor, and ultimately he received the second-highest award he could have for valor: the Navy Cross.

From Military Times' Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lance Corporal Christopher S. Adlesperger, United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism while serving as a Rifleman, Company K, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, FIRST Marine Division in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 10 November 2004. As Lance Corporal made entry into a house in the Jolan District of Al Fallujah, during Operation AL FAJR, his squad received a heavy volume of enemy machinegun fire from a well-prepared entrenched machine gun position. These fires instantly killed the point man, and injured another Marine and the platoon corpsman. Exposed to heavy enemy machine gun fire and grenades, Lance Corporal Adlesperger immediately attacked the enemy with rifle fire. While doing so, he suffered a fragmentation wound from enemy grenades. With the majority of his platoon pinned down by insurgent positions, Lance Corporal Adlesperger single--handedly cleared stairs and a roof top to move the injured to a rooftop where they could receive medical attention. On his own initiative, while deliberately exposing himself to heavy enemy fire, he established a series of firing positions and attacked the enemy, forcing them to be destroyed in place or to move into an area where adjacent forces could engage them. Disregarding his own wounds and physical exhaustion, Lance Corporal Adlesperger rejoined his platoon and demanded to take the point for a final assault on the same machine gun position. Once an Assault Amphibian Vehicle created a breach in the wall adjacent to the enemy's position, Lance Corporal Adlesperger was the first Marine to re-enter the courtyard where he eliminated a remaining insurgent at close range. When the fighting finally ceased, a significant number of insurgents from fortified positions had been eradicated. Through his actions, Lance Corporal Adlesperger destroyed the last strongpoint in the Jolan District of A1 Fallujah, and saved the lives of his fellow Marines. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Lance Corporal Adlesperger reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

As noted from the citation, the award of the Navy Cross was made posthumously. While Lance Corporal Christopher Adlesperger survived the battle on November 10, 2004, he was treated for and recovered from his wounds, returned to duty, and was subsequently killed in action a month later on December 9, 2004. He rests in peace at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

3rd Battalion, 5th Marines is currently reinforced with subordinate units as Battalion Landing Team 3/5 and is assigned as the Ground Combat Element for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. They are currently deployed to the United States Central Command area of responsibility aboard the Expeditionary Strike Group centered around the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA-5). They are still a component of the 1st Marine Division and when not deployed, their home station is Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California.

And, a very happy 237th birthday to our Marines. Thank you all for what you have done, and what you will do, for our great Nation.

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