A Marine killed in Afghanistan was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star for bravery Monday in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton attended by his family members.
Lance Cpl. Steven P. Stevens II of Detroit was killed June 22, 2012, during a firefight in the Sangin district of Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold. He was 23.
Stevens died after saving the life of a Marine who was wounded by a grenade as their platoon came under heavy fire during a nighttime mission to link up with a patrol base in enemy territory.
"With complete disregard for self preservation and fully aware of his dangerous exposure, [Stevens] forfeited cover and moved into the open while enemy rounds impacted around him," according to the Bronze Star citation signed by Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos.
Stevens "worked diligently through accurate fire to clear the 100-meter route...ensuring his fellow Marine could be evacuated," according to the citation.
After the Marine was rescued, Stevens was hit and killed by a rocket-propelled grenade. The fight continued for five days. "Stevens' example of courage inspired fellow Marines to continue the fight," the citation reads.
Stevens was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, part of the Camp Pendleton-based 1st Marine Division.
Stevens is survived by his parents Lois and Steven Stevens, wife Monique, and son Kairo Prince. His son was born after Stevens deployed to Afghanistan.
At Stevens' funeral, his wife distributed a poem she wrote to express her grief:
"I shed so many tears as I recall your love and devotion through the years...I try to console myself - it was God's greater plan, so I must accept it, if I can."