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GSgt Jonathan W Gifford - www.OurWarHeroes.org

Jonathan W Gifford

Palm Bay, Florida

July 29, 2012

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
34 Marine GSgt

2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion

Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

 Killed while conducting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan.

GSgt Jonathan W Gifford - www.OurWarHeroes.org GSgt Jonathan W Gifford - www.OurWarHeroes.org

From The Jacksonville Daily News jdnews.com 06/17/14

Lejeune Marine receives Navy Cross posthumously
Extraordinary heroism, decisive actions, bold initiative and dedication to duty led one Marine to be posthumously awarded the nation’s second-highest award for valor in combat. But Marine generals urged those in attendance at the award ceremony to remember Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford not only for how he died, but for how he lived.

By Thomas Brennan - 

Posted Jun. 17, 2014 at 12:01 AM
Updated Jun 17, 2014 at 11:08 AM 

Updated at 3:41 p.m.
Extraordinary heroism, decisive actions, bold initiative and dedication to duty led one Marine to be posthumously awarded the nation’s second-highest award for valor in combat. But Marine generals urged those in attendance at the award ceremony to remember Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford not only for how he died, but for how he lived.
Gifford’s widow Lesa stood with their five children as Gen. John M. Paxton, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, presented the Navy Cross alongside 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion Commander Maj. Gen. Mark A. Clark during a ceremony on Tuesday at Marine Special Operations Command Headquarters at Stone Bay aboard Camp Lejeune.
Gifford, team chief for Hotel Company, 2nd MSOB, was conducting what was to be a routine cordon and search mission on July 29, 2012, in Bala Bokan, Afghanistan, alongside the rest of Team 8232 and Afghan commandos when they came under enemy machine gun fire. According to the award citation, Gifford crossed 800 meters of open terrain to perform first aid on wounded Afghan commandos and helped move the casualties to a landing zone for medical evacuation. Then he went back while still under gunfire to return to the fight.
“The other commandos were pinned down under heavy enemy fire, and sustained more casualties,” reads the citation. “Realizing the Afghan force was in jeopardy, Gunnery Sergeant Gifford gathered extra ammunition and, accompanied by a fellow Marine, crossed the same open terrain under fire to reinforce the beleaguered Afghans … He continued to attack until he fell mortally wounded.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Paxton told The Daily News that he had been following Gifford’s nomination for the Navy Cross closely for 19 months. He called it an honor to present the award to Gifford’s family on behalf of the 190,000 Marines in uniform and the secretary of the Navy and as the assistant commandant. 
“When you recognize a stellar Marine … and his exceptional courageousness and bravery I’m not sure you can ever go above and beyond, and (the Navy Cross is) truly deserving and worthy of Gunnery Sergeant Gifford and his sacrifices, his leadership and what he meant to his immediate family, his extended family and to his Marine family,” Paxton said. “It’s humbling first and foremost to realize we have great Americans such as Jonathan Gifford who have served so long and been so steadfast.” 
Gifford joined the Marine Corps in 1996 and served with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, prior to being assigned to 2nd Force Recon Company and deployed with the 24th and 26th Marine Expeditionary Units. He was honorably discharged in July 2001, but rejoined 2nd Force Recon on active duty when Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2002. 
He deployed to Afghanistan with the 22nd MEU and then to Iraq with 2nd Force Recon, where he was meritoriously promoted to staff sergeant. Gifford joined MARSOC in 2006 where he served as the chief instructor at the MARSOC Advanced Sniper Course. His personal awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for valor, two Combat Action Ribbons and four Good Conduct Medals. 

Family members in attendance declined interview requests. members of Gifford’s team also did not wish to be interviewed, citing security regulations within MARSOC and concerns for personal safety.

A gunnery sergeant from Florida whose actions saved the lives of fellow and Afghan fighters in 2012 will receive posthumously the Navy Cross during a ceremony at Camp Lejeune.
The Navy's second-highest award will be given Tuesday to the family of Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, a native of Palm Bay, Fla. The military says Gifford was serving as a chief for a Marine Special Operations team when he was killed in Afghanistan in July 2012.
Gen. John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, will present the award to Gifford's family.
Gifford was a member of the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion.
From taskandpurpose.com 06/12/14:

UNSUNG HEROES: The MARSOC Marine Who Fought To The Death Against A Taliban Ambush
By Brian Adam Jones on June 12, 2014

The stories of heroism that have come out of Iraq and Afghanistan from the combat veterans there are remarkable. They tell a tale of men and women who braved fire, and sacrificed any accord for their own safety for the men next to them. This is one of those stories.

This is the story of the late Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, who perished July 29, 2012, in Bagdhis province, Afghanistan, fighting to his last breath in an enemy ambush.

According to a recent report by the Marine Corps Times, when a group of Afghan special forces soldiers came under enemy fire, Gifford, a team chief assigned to Marine Special Operations Command, jumped onto an all-terrain vehicle and sped 800 meters to their aid, administering first aid and moving the wounded to an evacuation zone, under enemy fire all the while.

He then returned across that 800-meter stretch of unprotected terrain to defend another group of Afghan commandos.

He killed an insurgent who was firing from a window, scaled a building full of Taliban fighters and dropped a fragmentation grenade down the chimney, and continued to engage the enemy before falling to enemy fire.

For his bravery and sacrifice, Gifford is set to be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the nation’s second-highest award for gallantry in combat, next week.

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John Paxton will present the award to Gifford’s family in a ceremony at MARSOC Headquarters aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
 From The Army Times armytimes.com 06/30/12:

Decorated MARSOC gunnies killed in Afghanistan

By Andrew deGrandpre - Marine Corps Times staff writer

Two elite special operations Marines were killed in combat Sunday in northwestern Afghanistan.

Gunnery Sgt. Daniel J. Price, 27, of Holland, Mich., and Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, 34, of Palm Bay, Fla., died during a morning patrol in Badghis province, a Marine official told Marine Corps Times on Monday.

Both were critical skills operators assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Price belonged to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion out Camp Pendleton, Calif. Gifford was from 2nd MSOB out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Although they came from separate commands within MARSOC, Price and Gifford were assigned to the same special operations task force in Afghanistan, the Marine official said.

A Purple Heart recipient, Price experienced ample combat over the last several years. He deployed three times each in support of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a Marine Corps news release.

On Nov. 10, the Marine Corps’ birthday, Price was awarded a Bronze Star with “V” device for his actions during a 2009, battle in Afghanistan’s Farah province. When the remote weapon on his vehicle was destroyed, he climbed on top to man its MK19 grenade launcher, according to his medal citation. As enemy rounds whipped by, Price stayed put — holding his position for four hours and killing “numerous” insurgents in the process.

Price enlisted in 2003 and attended the Marine Corps’ Basic Reconnaissance Course a year later, according to the Marine Corps’ news release. He was a member of Camp Pendleton’s 1st Recon Battalion before joining MAROC in 2008.

Gifford was just shy of 15 years in the service. A member of the Corps’ force reconnaissance community prior to joining MARSOC, he also completed multiple combat deployments and earned a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V,” the Marine official said.

It’s not immediately clear how Price and Gifford died. Parts of Badghis province, which borders Turkmenistan, have been marked by violence for the past several years, according to a report published late last year by the Naval Postgraduate School.

Sgt. Justin M. Hansen, also a member of 2nd MSOB, was shot and killed during a house sweep in Badghis province only one week ago. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan.

From The navy Times navytimes.com  06/11/14:

MARSOC Marine killed in Afghanistan to receive Navy Cross

By Hope Hodge Seck

A MARSOC gunnery sergeant who died leading an asssault assault on insurgents in Afghanistan in 2012 will be awarded the military’s second-highest honor next week.

The family of Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan Gifford, of 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., will receive his Navy Cross June 17 at a ceremony held at MARSOC headquarters aboard Lejeune.

Gifford, 34, of Palm Bay, Fla., had been a team chief with Special Operations Task Force West deployed to Bagdhis province, Afghanistan, at the time of the assault. During a morning patrol on July 29, 2012 near the town of Bala Bokan, he saw three of the Afghan special operations commandos he was advising hit by enemy small arms fire.

Immediately, he got behind the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle, roaring across 800 meters of ground unprotected to come to the aid of the wounded commandos. With the help of another Marine, he performed first aid on the Afghan soldiers and moved them to a landing zone so a helicopter could extract them for medical care. Then, he crossed back over the same open terrain to help the other Afghan commandos in the unit, who were now under enemy fire.

During the attack he led, he took out an insurgent who was firing from a window and climbed a building housing enemy fighters, dropping a grenade down the chiney chimney. He kept pressing the attack until he fell mortally wounded by enemy machine gun fire, according to his medal citation.

A former force reconnaissance Marine, Gifford had completed nearly 15 years of service at the time of his death. He had been discharged from the Corps in July 2001, but donned the uniform again just over a year later as the war in Afghanistan was beginning, officials said.

He joined MARSOC in 2006, shortly after the unit was activated, working as chief instructor of the MARSOC advanced sniper course before becoming a team chief with 2nd MSOB.

He had deployed three times with Marine expeditionary units, and had service twice in Afghanistan and once in Iraq, earning two combat action ribbons and a Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat V device prior to his heroic final fight. Gifford had been a month from the end of his final deployment at the time of his death.

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John “Jay” Paxton will present the award to the fallen Marine’s family.

Gifford was one of two Marines killed that day in Bagdhis. Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price, 27, of Holland, Mich., also a MARSOC operator, was killed alongside Gifford, felled by the same volleys of enemy machine gun fire. 

From The Orlando Sentinel orlandosentinel.com 07/31/12:

Brevard County Marine killed in action
6:54 a.m. EST, July 31, 2012|
By Arelis R. Hernández, Orlando Sentinel

A Central Florida Marine was killed Sunday during combat operations in Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense.

Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, 34, of Palm Bay was killed in the Badghis province of the country where his Marine battalion was stationed.



According to the Marine Corps Times, Gifford was killed along with Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Price, 27, of Holland, Mich. during a morning patrol in a region beset by violence in recent years.

Gifford died after nearly 15 years of decorated service, including several combat deployments, the military news website reported.

He was assigned to an elite force of the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, officials said.
From Eastern Florida State College easternflorida.edu 11/11/12:

BCC Ceremony Honors Local Veterans

November 11, 2012 - Veterans from across the Space Coast paused Sunday to honor those who have served their country in a special Veterans Day ceremony at Brevard Community College.

The 30th annual "Massing of the Colors" on the Cocoa Campus featured several speakers, including College President Dr. Jim Richey who praised those who have defended the nation in war and peace.

“Veterans are our fathers and mothers, our brothers and sisters, our relatives, friends and neighbors, and to them we owe the precious freedoms that make America the beacon to the world,” he said.

The day's featured speaker was Rear Admiral William D. Baumgartner, who serves as the Commander of the seventh Coast Guard District. RADM Baumgartner is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Harvard Law School and was previously the Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel of the Coast Guard.

Lt. Col. Henry Adams, part of the Military Order of the World Wars which co-sponsored the event, presided over a time of special recognition for three Brevard residents killed this year in Afghanistan:

Army Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hornsby, 37, of Melbourne.
Army Specialist Justin Horsley, 21, of Palm Bay.
Marine Gunnery Sgt. Jonathan W. Gifford, 34, of Palm Bay.
Their names are now engraved on the Wall of Honor at the George F. Schlatter Veterans Memorial Amphitheater on the Cocoa Campus. They join 169 other Brevard residents who have made the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts since World War I.

“To the members of their families who are with us today, please know that we share your loss, that you remain in our thoughts and prayers, and that your loved ones will never be forgotten,” said Richey.

He added, “To all veterans here this afternoon, thank you for your service, for everything you do to help your fellow veterans when they return home, and for your efforts to make our community a better place to live.

You represent the very best of what our nation stands for, a standard that is passed from generation to generation that never waivers, never falters and never falls. On this Veterans Day — indeed, every day — we salute you.”

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