MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Sgt. Maj. Mario P. Fields demonstrated the importance of leading from the front during a deployment with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in support of Operation Enduring Freedom when he acted as a sweeper after an improvised explosive device detonated, injuring one of his Marines.
A first sergeant at the time, Fields worked alongside a corporal to sweep for IEDs and clear a path to a landing zone, ensuring the injured Marine was immediately evacuated.
“Every Marine is a rifleman,” said Fields. “No matter your rank or billet, we all have to do our part to help accomplish our mission.”
That action was just one of many tireless efforts he engaged in from the moment the MEU deployed in August 2010, while serving as company first sergeant of Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, the ground combat element of the MEU. He earned the Bronze Star for his constant dedication to duty.
Fields, currently serving as the Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2 sergeant major, accepted the Bronze Star Nov. 1 during a ceremony aboard the air station.
“It is truly an honor to receive the Bronze Star,” said Fields. “I had the unique challenge of leading 250 troops who were spread out across different parts of the world at times.”
While deployed, not only did he perform his responsibilities as company first sergeant, he at times assumed duties as acting sergeant major aboard ship and as the defacto Weapons Company commander.
As the senior enlisted Marine, Fields said he knew he had to step up to the plate and do whatever was needed to help accomplish the mission. For him, that meant serving on the chow line, lending a listening ear to his Marines and looking out for their welfare and morale.
Fields said that his dedication to duty will continue throughout his service, and he could not do his job without the Marines under his charge.
“Even though it is my name on the award, I could not have done it without my Marines,” he said. “This award really has all of their names on it. When I wear it, I am wearing it for them.”