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Mere Chance: A Relentless, Deadly, Maze of Life by David G. Bancroft

Todd Corbin
Recipient of the "Cross"
2nd Highest Military Honor

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Todd Corbin - Navy Cross RecipientIn the face of danger, most would run toward safety. Yet, when then-Lance Cpl. Corbin was faced with such a decision, he ran toward peril and possible death – braving intense enemy fire to help injured comrades.

Corbin, a medium tactical vehicle replacement driver, and his unit were stationed in the Al Anbar province to help secure and stabilize the volatile area. They had just finished several days of routine patrol on May 7, 2005, and were returning to the Haditha Dam when they got the call.

A platoon from their battalion was under attack on the east side of the Euphrates River and needed support to block the insurgents’ retreat. Corbin’s team – a quick reaction force (QRF) – quickly responded to the call. As the QRF crept toward the attack site, there was an unnatural stillness in the air.

“There was no one out, nothing moving,” Corbin later told the Marine Corps Times.

With every nerve on alert, the QRF kept driving toward the ambush site, knowing there were injured Marines that needed them. Suddenly, a vehicle laden with IEDs sped toward the convoy and blew up between two of the Humvees. Another blast followed as enemy fighters began firing upon the group.

The swift attack devastated Corbin’s team – three of the four vehicles were severely damaged, and 11 of 16 Marines were injured or killed. Taking control of the situation, Corbin immediately repositioned his vehicle between the insurgents’ fire and the wounded Marines. As he radioed in the situation, he began directing a counter-attack.

As those that could returned fire, Corbin began recovering dead and wounded personnel and moving them toward safety. Running through the line of fire, Corbin grabbed his wounded patrol leader and threw him over his shoulder. He then sprinted back to his Humvee, firing at enemies as he ran. Corbin ran back and forth several times through the kill zone, moving everyone he could out of the withering fire and loaded them into his vehicle.

Arming every able Marine with as much ammunition and weapons as they could hold, Corbin drove his severely damaged Humvee through the kill zone toward the battle aid station. Even injured, the Marines were a deadly force to be reckoned with. Insurgents continued to pelt the rumbling truck with mortars and small-arms fire, but the Marines made it to safety.

Corbin’s quick actions ensured that no Marines were killed after that initial attack. For his leadership, Corbin was awarded the Navy Cross on April 12, 2006.

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