Last week, I broke a story reporting that some 28,000 personnel will be authorized to wear the Presidential Unit Citation ribbon for serving under Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. It’s prestigious, unit-level recognition of the sacrifices that thousands of Marines made as the U.S. ramped up the war in Afghanistan more than two years ago.
Today, Maj. Gen. Larry Nicholson weighed in on the honor. He commanded the MEB as a one-star commander, and is back in Afghanistan now serving as the operations officer for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command based in Kabul.
Nicholson had the following to say through email from Kabul:
Could not be prouder of our team or more honored by the Presidential recognition for the members of the MEB. The success of the MEB came at great cost and we will never forget the heroes who were killed and wounded. The MEB Team possessed an expeditionary mindset to get out and be in and amongst the people every day. MEB lived a rugged and Spartan lifestyle, and stayed closely connected to the local population they were there to protect. They put it all on the line every day and they never wavered. I am [damned]proud of this MEB team, they fought and thought their way through endless challenging scenarios in this most complex COIN environment we call Afghanistan. They have surely added a few lines of honor and accomplishment to the storied history of our Corps.
The Presidential Unit Citation is the unit-level equivalent of the Navy Cross. No Marine unit had received one since Marine Expeditionary Force (Reinforced), which was honored for actions during the initial assault on Iraq in 2003.