| ||“It stings but it’s nothing.” Most people might say that when describing a carpet burn or perhaps a bee sting. Staff Sgt. Viggiani, on the other hand, said that of a bullet wound sustained on June 3, 2004, in the mountainous region around Khabargho, Afghanistan.|
His team and another squad received reports that a group of Taliban fighters were fleeing out of the town and into the forbidding hills – incredibly tough terrain full of caves and crevices, pits, and pitfalls.
As the men approached the ridgeline north of town, Viggiani’s squad lost touch with the others as the mountains interfered with the radio transmissions. Then Viggiani and his squad came under heavy and accurate fire, which injured two Marines and halted the advance. Viggiani crept forward, as it seemed like the fire was coming from the steep slope in front of him.
|Viggiani and another Marine continued their slow advance – and suddenly came under direct fire. Shooting was coming from a cave just a few feet away, and the enemies were still firing at the wounded Marines who had taken cover behind a nearby rock. With the rest of his team pinned down, it fell to Viggiani to eliminate the well-entrenched insurgents. Maneuvering to a better position, he found himself peering through a small break in the rocks. When he saw a piece of cloth move, he fired off three or four rounds. He heard no sounds that would lead him to believe the enemies had been hit, so he grabbed a grenade and dropped it into the hole. The cave blew apart, exposing three now-dead Taliban snipers.|
With the threat eliminated, the medic was able to reach and treat the two injured Marines. Viggiani refused treatment on the gunshot to his leg, and instead continued fighting. After three or four hours of intense chase and fighting, the Marines killed 14 enemy fighters and cleared the area. For his leadership and bravery, Viggiani was awarded the Navy Cross on Jan. 25, 2006.
Information courtesy of DOD
Photo above left.... With bloodstains visible on the lower portion of his left trouser leg, Marine Sgt. Anthony Viggiani pauses to look at the camera moments after the fierce firefight with anti-coalition militia in central Afghanistan.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Keith A. Milks