U.S. Marine Receives Navy Cross

U.S. Marine Sgt. Clifford Wooldridge was nominated for his actions in Musa Qala, Afghanistan

U.S. Marines

A Southern California based Marine found himself face-to-face with two Taliban fighters in the heat of combat and lived to tell about it.

Sgt. Clifford Wooldridge will be honored with the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award, in a ceremony Friday.

Wooldridge, a Port Angeles, Wash native with Twentynine Palms 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, was recognized for his reaction in combat on June 18, 2010.

When his mounted patrol came under heavy fire then-Cpl.Wooldridge heard voices behind a wall and found himself face-to-face with two Taliban fighters according to a news release from his command.

Wooldridge killed the two men and soon found himself in another potentially fatal situation.

Here’s how his command describes it:

Wooldridge crouched to reload his weapon when he saw the barrel of a Taliban machine gun appear from around the corner of the wall. Wooldridge grabbed the barrel and pulled the surprised fighter around the corner with it. The two began fighting hand-to-hand.
Realizing his predicament against the 220-pound former football player, the Taliban fighter
attempted to pull the pin on a grenade in order to kill them both. Wooldridge used the fighter’s own machine gun to kill him with several blows to the head.

When his mother heard about the award, she asked her son, then 22, what he had done in combat.

She told a Washington newspaper that Wooldridge told her, "Oh, just some stuff I did."

After his tour of duty, he signed up for another four years with the U.S. Marine Corps his mother told the paper.

Find more stories involving San Diego's military community in our special military section.

Contact Us