By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class James C. Brown, Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center Public AffairsVIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Commander, Navy Region Northwest (NRNW) awarded a Purple Heart medal to a former Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center (ECRC) Sailor during a ceremony in Virginia Beach, Va., March 18.
Rear Adm. Markham Rich, commander, NRNW presented the award to Lt. Cmdr. Robert Moran for his heroic and meritorious achievements while serving as an Individual Augmentee in Afghanistan during 2011.
While assigned to NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command, Oct. 26, 2011, the twenty-three year Navy veteran was traveling through the Tangi Valley, Wardak Province, Afghanistan in a convoy of three vehicles when the group was engaged by the enemy. Multiple rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) struck the vehicles causing the loss of the rear Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. A subsequent improvised explosive device (IED) blast disabled Moran's vehicle at which point the occupants engaged the enemy.
With his M4 in hand, Moran exited his disabled vehicle, recognized armed insurgents and provided suppressive fire while facing incoming enemy action. The group helped in getting the injured service members in the rear MRAP to the safety of the sole operational vehicle with Moran single handedly carrying one injured service member from danger. RPG fire and the IED left Moran injured.
When asked about his experience, Moran, now serving as the commanding officer of Transient Personnel Unit Puget Sound, was quick to note that his injuries were minor and that most members of the convoy suffered much more significant injuries including shrapnel wounds and broken limbs. Reflecting on the encounter and his time in theatre, Moran said he felt his service in Afghanistan gave him, "the honor and privilege to serve with service members not only from other U.S. service components, but also from numerous NATO nations."
Exemplifying the Navy's core values, Moran was recognized by the U.S. Army with the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and the Army Combat Action Badge. Moran was also awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the NATO Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.