By Lex, Posted on February 11, 2007
Awarded the Silver Star for service in the assault on Fallujah in 2004.
“We had a mission to get a foothold for the battalion,” said Ackerman, who returned last month from his second deployment, the latest as a member of Battalion Landing Team 1/8, the ground combat element of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “We saw that the original building we intended to go in to just wouldn’t work to get that mission done. We pushed a little bit deeper than it probably would have been prudent to do.”
Pushing deeper ensured his unit would accomplish its mission, but the advance left him and his Marines more exposed to enemy fighters, who responded by pouring heavy fire on the Marines’ position.
As his Marines began to take injuries, Ackerman sprang to action, twice pulling his Marines to safety and coordinating their evacuation. The amphibious-assault vehicle sent to retrieve his Marines had trouble finding them, lost in the fog of war. Ackerman again risked his life, charging into the open from a covered position to flag down the vehicle and direct it to his Marines’ location. His actions took him through a “gauntlet of deadly enemy fire,” according to the citation.
“From that position that day, we were a little exposed,” he recalled. “Insurgents came out and slowly tried to surround us.”
For Ackerman, the fighting was just beginning. As the battle ensued, he recognized that his Marines on the rooftop of the building were exposed. He ordered them to seek cover in the building and headed to the roof himself. His actions prompted a hail of enemy fire on his position.
“The Marines, like Marines always do, just started performing in an incredible manner. We had a job to do and just had to make sure it got done,” said Ackerman.
According to his citation, Ackerman took heavy enemy fire on the rooftop but still “coolly employed an M240G machine gun to mark targets for supporting tanks, with devastating effects on the enemy.”
In all, Ackerman was able to simultaneously direct tank fire, coordinate four separate medical evacuations and continually attack with his platoon, all the while suffering from his own shrapnel wounds.
He was only a 2LT in 2004.