July 30, 2009

Schneider Receives Bronze Star for Valor for Service in Afghanistan

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Ebalo, Naval Station Rota, Spain Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Sailors at U.S. Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, celebrated the 111th birthday of the Hospital Corps and presented one of their own with a top military award during an all hands ceremony, June 19.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Stephen Schneider was presented the Bronze Star for valor.

Schneider is a 2003 graduate of Scotland County R-I High School. He is the son of Dr. Robert and Susan Schneider, former Memphis residents.

Stephen was recognized for heroic achievement in connection with combat operations as a corpsmen stationed with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operation Command in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

"I'm happy to receive this award, especially on the Hospital Corpsmen birthday," said Schneider. "It has been even more of an honor to have served with brave Marines and Sailors who don't always get recognized for what they do. I just did what I was trained to do and I'm confident that any other [FMF] corpsman would have responded the same way."

Marine Staff Sgt. Jose Lucero, Company Staff Sgt., Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (FAST) Europe Detachment Rota, deployed with Schneider as a member of his previous command and was given the job to officially present him with the medal.

"It was an honor to be here and to do this for Doc Schneider," said Lucero. "I'm proud to have served with him in Afghanistan and here in Rota."

During the celebration, service members paid their respects to the 35 corpsmen who died this year in combat and in forward-deployed operations with a bell ringing ceremony and prayer. They also recognized the Hospital Corps by having the oldest and youngest corpsmen cut and serve the official birthday cake.

The Bronze Star represents the ninth highest award that can be earned in military service, and the fourth highest for combat action, which is denoted by the valor device on the award.

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