Surrounded by more than 50 enemy fighters in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Juan J. Rodríguez-Chávez and Capt. Ademola D. Fabayo dodged machine gun fire and rocket propelled grenades to heroically save their trapped fellow marines with little regard for their own lives.
Both men were awarded the Navy Cross, the nation's second highest award for valor, during a ceremony a the National Museum of the Marine Corps on June 10 for their heroic actions on September 8, 2009.
According to the Marines official website, Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8. Regional Corps Advisory Comman 3-7, and two platoons of Afghan National Security Forces were being led by then 1st Lt. Fabayo into Ganjgal Village for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders.
Rodríguez-Chávez waited nearby with part of the team's security group, ready to help his teammates if necessary.
That's when all hell broke loose.
Four members of the team were cut off as enemy fighters rained down on them with grenades and machine gun fire from fortified positions.
With members of his team in danger Rodríguez-Chávez drove his gun truck into the kill-zone. He did this amidst heavy gun fire three times to provide cover for the withdrawal of forces and evacuate two dozen members of the Afghan National Security Forces.
Soon enough, Fabayo, who had heroically been pushing forward into the kill zone on foot, met up with Rodríguez-Chávez and the both of them entered the kill-zone.
Rodríguez-Chávez was at the wheel of the humvee as Fabayo manned the machine gun, together they used the vehicle to shield their teammates from enemy fire as they recovered their fallen friends.