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Marine combat videographer awarded for valor

18 Feb 2006 | Sgt. Stephen M. DeBoard

A Marine from Maryville, Tenn., was recognized here today for his life-saving actions during combat operations in Husaybah, Iraq, last November.

Cpl. Neill A. Sevelius, a 21-year-old combat videographer with Regimental Combat Team-2, received the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “V” for valor for aiding a wounded Marine while "crossing a field of fire," according to the award citation.

The Combat “V” device is awarded specifically for valor in a combat situation.

Sevelius was attached to a Marine infantry company during Operation: Steel Curtain – the Marine and Iraqi Army-led, two-week offensive, in western Al Anbar Province to disrupt insurgent activity in several towns near the Syrian border.

As a combat videographer, Sevelius documents military operations on videotape – a job he’s done for the past 14 months in Iraq. The 2003 Maryville High School graduate has seen combat on several occasions, but on this particular day – he put the camera down to save another.

“It was probably one of the best missions I’ve been on,” said Sevelius, who recently redeployed for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he’s stationed. “We were getting shot at and kicking in doors. Everything was really intense.”

It was during the second day of operations Sevelius found himself with a squad of 2nd platoon Marines.

“We were on a roof, prepping a house with (40mm rounds from an M203) because it was all boarded up. The squad in front of us went up on the roof (of the target house),” recalled Sevelius.

The Marines had been receiving intermittent, inaccurate sniper fire all day long, Sevelius recounted.

Sevelius noticed a wounded Marine on the rooftop, and ran to his aid after he realized the Marine was injured and not coming down on his own.

“It was almost like slow motion. I thought, ‘What is he doing? He needs to get off the roof.’ Then he crumpled,” he said.

The Marine on the rooftop was wounded by enemy small arms fire, according to Sevelius' award citation.

On his own accord, Sevelius assisted the Marine off the roof top and into a courtyard below the building, where the rest of the Marines helped him. Through it all, the Marines shouted words of encouragement to the wounded Marine:  “You’ll be alright!”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Sevelius put down his camera and leapt to the adjoining rooftop to come to the aid of the fallen warrior. His quick actions are attributed to saving the Marine’s life.

“I didn’t see any bullet holes so I started feeling around for blood. I felt some dampness (on his upper thigh), so I picked up his leg a little bit,” he said.

Using trauma shears to expose the wound, Sevelius was relieved.

“It was basically a very deep grazing wound. I saw it and told (the Marine) that he was going to be fine, that he had nothing to worry about. I then basically applied pressure to the wound until the corpsman could take over,” he said.

After the ceremony, Sevelius downplayed his achievement.

“Marines do great stuff every day, I just happened to get noticed,” he said.