CAMP PENDLETON (CNS) - A Marine Corps scout sniper will be posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for combat heroism in a ceremony at Camp Pendleton Friday, base officials said.
Sgt. Matthew T. Abbate, 26, was assigned to Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment when he was killed in combat on Dec. 2, 2010, in Afghanistan's Helmand province, according to the base's public affairs office.
The Navy Cross - like its Army and Air Force equivalents - is the nation's second-highest award for combat heroism. Abbate is receiving the Navy Cross for actions he took two months prior to his death.
On Oct. 14, 2010, in Sangin province, Afghanistan, "Abbate lead his section of Marines through an insurgent ambush that began as their patrol came under insurgent fire while in a minefield," the Navy Cross citation reads.
"The Marines began to take fire from the enemy and were moving into cover, when two Marines and one corpsman were injured."
While Abbate was "exposed and personally suppressing the enemy, he directed the remaining squad members' fire until they effectively suppressed," according to the citation. He rendered life-saving aid to the casualties, coordinated the medical evacuation, swept the landing zone for explosives and led a counter attack to clear enemy fighters from the landing zone, which allowed a helicopter to evacuate the injured, base officials said.
Members of Abbate's family will accept the Navy Cross on his behalf at a ceremony scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on the 3/5 parade deck. Abbate, who also served in Iraq, enlisted in the Marine Corps on Feb. 1, 2006. He attended Buchanan High School in Clovis, and was survived by his wife and a then-2-year-old son, who lived in the Fresno area.
Other service awards received by Abbate prior to his death included the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy and Marine Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Today's ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube and at www.dvidshub.net/webcast/2521
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