Silver Star Medal ceremony sees nearly 300 people honor slain U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Dan Price
Tuesday, hundreds of people came together to celebrate the late U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Dan Price. Killed in action exactly two years earlier, the 27-year-old Holland-area native was honored with a Silver Star Medal, the military’s third-highest honor.
As Marine Master Sgt. Joshua Nelums told the crowd at Central Wesleyan Church, Tuesday was not a time for being somber, it was a time to celebrate Dan Price for his heroic actions.
“I’ve been on the battlefield with Dan and I’ve seen him do it multiple times,” Nelums said. “And there’s a couple guys in this room right now that wouldn’t be here, myself included, if it wasn’t for Dan. He’s finally getting his due.”
Nelums went on to share a few lighthearted stories, as well as telling the crowd how important community support was, not just to Price but to all military.
Price’s Silver Star citation details Price’s “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action” as a Marine with the Special Operations Task Force West during Operation Freedom. During a battle two years ago, Price instantly volunteered to go with his team chief on an ATV, across 800 meters of exposed ground. The goal: moving three of their own, wounded. Then he went back with his team chief, to help with the fight, stopping one enemy combatant, then scaling a compound wall to drop a grenade into the building the insurgents were using for cover. During his continued attack, he was mortally wounded.
The citation ends with praise, stating that with his “bold initiative, undaunted courage and complete dedication to duty, Gunnery Sgt. Price reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.”
Price’s other honors earned over three tours in Iraq and three in Afghanistan include a Bronze Star with a Combat V, two Purple Hearts, three Combat Action ribbons and three Good Conduct ribbons.
Col. Andrew Milburn, commander of the Marines Special Operations Regiment, presented a Silver Star Medal to Price’s widow, Rachel, and his parents, Karl and Ruth Price.
Dan’s deep Christian faith made him fearless, said Karl Price after the ceremony. Despite an unending grief, he said wishing his son back from a well-deserved heavenly reward would be selfish. He said he hopes people remember the families of those serving now and of families dealing with loved ones wounded during military service.
After the ceremony, the dozen or so Marines present gathered around the Price family to offer warm hugs. The crowd then moved to a private reception.
Among the hundreds who attended were Leigh Van Dussen of Laketown Township and several of her children, all members of Price’s home church, Messiah’s Independent Reformed in Overisel.
“I thought it was important for my children to be here,” said Van Dussen, who’d known Price since his childhood. “What is Memorial Day? They learn about it in history books but this is what it’s about. I think Dan really deserved this medal.”
Holland residents Amanda Lopez and Aurora Lasavath, came out to support Rachel Price, their yoga teacher. They said they see her late husband’s photos in her studio and know he’s part of her daily life.
Arlene and Del Schroetenboer, longtime friends of the Price family, came as a show of support. Mrs. Schroetenboer said it was a way, too, to pay forward the support her family felt after her brother, Earl Nivison, was killed during World War II. “But this day is about Dan,” she said.
U.S. Air Force veteran Bob Curnick, who served in a Thailand security detail from 1972-76, said he wanted to support the Prices, though he does not know them. Now a retired Allegan County Sheriff’s deputy, Curnick said he found the Silver Star ceremony “very humbling.”
Tags: Veterans News