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By Major Jeff Landis | | April 28, 2012

 
The family of the late Sgt. William J. Woitowicz is presented their son's Silver Star for his heroism in combat on June 7, 2011, at the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Va., April 28, 2012.
 

The family of the late Sgt. William J. Woitowicz is presented their son’s Silver Star for his heroism in combat on June 7, 2011, at the Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Va., April 28, 2012. (Photo by SSgt Francisco J. Gutierrez)

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Sgt. William J. Woitowicz, a former native of Groton, Massachusetts was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest honor for combat valor, during a 10:30 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 28, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Va., in front of family, friends and fellow Marines.  Col. Steven Grass, commanding officer of Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, explain Sgt Woitowicz' heroism in combat that earned him the Silver Star.
 

Sgt. William J. Woitowicz, a former native of Groton, Massachusetts was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest honor for combat valor, during a 10:30 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 28, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Va., in front of family, friends and fellow Marines. Col. Steven Grass, commanding officer of Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, explain Sgt Woitowicz’ heroism in combat that earned him the Silver Star. (Photo by SSgt Francisco J. Gutierrez)

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April 28, 2012 — NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE MARINE CORPS, QUANTICO, Va. (April 28, 2012) — The family of the late Sgt. William J. Woitowicz, a former native of Groton, Mass., were presented with the Silver Star, the nation’s third highest honor for combat valor, during a 10:30 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, April 28, at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, Va., in front of family, friends and fellow Marines.

Kevin and Mary Woitowicz, father and mother of Sgt. Woitowicz, were presented the award from Col. Steven Grass, commanding officer of Marine Special Operations Regiment, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C.  During the ceremony, Col. Grass explained the heart-wrenching details of Sgt. Woitowicz’ heroism in combat and what a truly special Marine and truly devoted friend he was to so many people.

Woitowicz was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C. A 2007 graduate of Groton/Dunstable Regional High School, Woitowicz enlisted in the Marine Corps in September 2007. He began his career as an Aviation Logistics Tactical Information Systems Specialist and he was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, Marine Aircraft Group 16 at MCAS Miramar, Calif. Woitowicz came to MARSOC in September 2009 to attend the Assessment and Selection Course. After selection, and the Individual Training Course in 2010, he became a Critical Skills Operator.

His deployment to Badghis province in Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, was his first deployment. On June 7, 2011, Woitowicz was serving as a combat adviser for the Afghan Local Police to secure the Taliban controlled village of Panerak. Shortly after a heliborne insert, the Marine Special Operations Team and Afghan commandos came under intense enemy fire. Woitowicz maneuvered to an advantageous position to lay down suppressive fire for his pinned down team to cross a dried river bed where two other Afghan casualties were killed. He then exposed himself to direct enemy fire to enable the team to withdraw to a rock wall for protection and while Woitowicz was climbing over the rock wall to safety after saving his teammates, he was mortally wounded.

Woitowicz was promoted to sergeant posthumously. His personal decorations include the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon and Good Conduct Medal.

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