Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus presented five former service members with upgraded awards for their extraordinary courage in a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Jan. 13.
Mabus presented the Navy Cross to former Staff Sgt. Michael Mendoza and the Silver Stars to Master Sgt. Steven Davis, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Atkinson, Sgt. Nicholas Brandau and Sgt. Edward Huth.
"We took a look at the awards that had been done since 9/11 to see if the appropriate award was given," said Mabus. "In these five cases it was determined that the actions that they took displayed extraordinary heroism and extraordinary valor, and the award levels should be raised from a Silver Star to a Navy Cross in one case and from four Bronze Stars to Silver Stars."
The actions of these men occurred during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Each was awarded for taking action to help fellow service members in battle.
"These things don’t happen. You don’t plan for them to happen they just do," said Davis. "It’s not about you, it’s about the guy to your left and your right and it always will be with the Marines, Sailors and the service members of the United States of America. It’s about the life that you’re saving."