Release Date: 11-24-2004
Sailor attached to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) was awarded the
recently, for his role in combat operations against insurgents in the
Iraqi city of Najaf.
Hospital Corpsman Second Class CJ
Eison, while serving as Platoon Corpsman for
1st Platoon, Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 11th Marine
Expeditionary Unit (Special Operation Capable), risked his own safety on
several occasions to render aid to wounded Marines while under constant
From August 5 to 6, 2004, 1st Platoon battled insurgents of the Mahdi
Militia, loyal to Shiite Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in Najaf cemetery. First
Platoon was pushing through the cemetery, clearing the area of insurgents
when shortly before nightfall, the platoon came under small arms,
machinegun and mortar fire.
“When that first round went by my head it was a big wake up call,” said
A mortar round impacted near the platoon, wounding the platoon’s other
Corpsman and two Marines. Eison, despite
mortar rounds continuing to fall, rushed to aid his wounded comrades,
stabilized them and evacuated them to a casualty collection point. First
Platoon then set up a defensive perimeter to wait out the night. According
to Eison, the Marines were equipped with night
vision goggles, but he wasn’t.
“That night in the cemetery was the scariest night of my life. We were
lying down in the cemetery in pitch black and the insurgents were taking
pot shots at us. The only good thing about the night was that the
insurgents wouldn’t attempt to come close to us because they knew the
Marines had night vision.”
The next morning as the platoon crossed an open space, a Marine was shot
by a sniper.
I heard the round go off, looked over and saw him go down,”
Eison said. “It shocked me seeing this guy
shot right in front of me.”
The platoon staff sergeant gave covering fire as
Eison crossed over the open space, to the wounded Marine’s side.
“Seeing one of the guys that you’ve bonded with go down is hard, but
you’ve got to keep your composure and do your job as best you can.”
While under constant sniper fire, Eison
treated the Marine’s chest wound and readied him for evacuation. The
following night, the platoon again came under heavy mortar fire. One of
the mortar rounds impacted a few feet from Eison,
wounding him and two Marines.
“My left foot went instantly numb. I thought it was gone. My first
instinct was to take cover and I tried to jump over a tombstone, but I
couldn’t bear weight on my legs.”
According to Eison, the wounded Marines
were calling to him for help, but he wasn’t able to move due to severe
shrapnel wounds to his legs and feet. Moments later one of the Marines
Eison treated the night and the platoon staff
sergeant came to his aid.
“I dropped my medical gear in the explosion. I told them to go get it and
then I explained to them how to treat me and the other two guys that got
The Marines stabilized Eison and 15 minutes
later he and the other wounded were evacuated to a Battalion Aid Station.
From there, they were evacuated, by helicopter, to a hospital in Baghdad
where Eison underwent surgery to repair his
For his selfless actions over the course of those two days in August,
Eison was recommended for the
Bronze Star. Rear
Admiral John M. Mateczun, Commander, Naval Medical Center San Diego,
presented him with the medal at a ceremony attended by
Eison’s family, friends and colleagues.
News Courtesy of: JO2 (SW) Joshua Smith, Naval Medical