A U.S. Marine killed in Afghanistan was honored with a Silver Star Thursday on Camp Pendleton .
Sgt. Wade Wilson, 22, of Normangee, Texas was killed May 11, 2012 in Helmand Province.
“Sgt. Wilson was not an average man. He was not your average Marine,” said LtCol T.M. Bairstow, 2d Battalion, 5th Marine.
Wilson jumped into action and put himself between an insurgent and a critically wounded Marine. As a result, he suffered multiple gunshot wounds at close range and died from his injuries.
“To charge at a man who is firing an AK-47 at you at close distance when you yourself are armed with just a pistol is an act of courage for us to fathom,” LtCol Bairstow said.
“Especially for those who have been under fire and have experienced that sort of fear.”
He said the average man would run for cover in a similar situation.
Major General Ronald L. Bailey, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, presented the award to Wilson's mother.
“He had his good qualities about him that helped him develop into the person he became as a Marine,” childhood friend Corey Boudiette said of Wilson.
Known as “Willy” to friends, the anti-tank missileman made national headlines when a friend posted a “shout out” on YouTube to Taylor Swift.
“Anybody that knew Willy personally knew that he worshipped you,” Wilson’s friend Josh Marreel said in the video. “He even slept with a poster of you in between our beds in Afghanistan on his first deployment there.”
In response, Swift sent flowers to the young Marine’s funeral services thanking him and telling him she will never forget him.
The Silver Star is the third highest combat award given for bravery.