US honour for Royal Marines Afghan mission

Royal Marine Major James Fuller received the rare honour of an American decoration for his service in Afghanistan.

The commando was presented with the Bronze Star – typically awarded to US military personnel for heroism on the battlefield or meritorious service on the front line – for his 12-month tour-of-duty while on exchange with the US Marine Corps.

The green beret served as assistant operations officer with the US Task Force Southwest in Afghanistan as it carried out the US military’s Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission – both aimed at fostering peace and stability in the war-torn country, as well as tackling terrorist activity.

Between June 1 2018 and the end of May last year, the Royal Marine helped plan numerous missions with the Afghan National Defence Security Forces and US Special Operation Forces.

“Without Major Fuller we couldn’t have done what we did in Afghanistan,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Presley, the regimental gunner with 2nd Marine Regiment USMC.

“He was instrumental in us trying to achieve our objective with Task Force Southwest.”

Major Fuller received the Bronze Star in front of his US comrades during a short ceremony at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

“This means a lot to me – I’m truly humbled. There wasn’t anything which I did differently from my US Marine colleagues. The colour of your uniform or the flag on your arm didn’t matter – we all worked together for one goal. It was a team effort.”

He is serving as part of the Marine Corps Foreign Personnel Exchange Program which gives non-American officers the opportunity to serve with their ‘Semper Fi’ brethren – bringing fresh ideas from a Royal Marines’ perspective, and taking home ideas and lessons from his time with the US Marine Corps.

“To live and breathe as a US Marine for two years has been pretty incredible – I’ve made some life-long friends,” Major Fuller added.

“We’re really lucky – between the Royal and US Marines because we have common training together over the years.

“I like to think that we bring a sense of humour. Royal Marines are renowned for their cheerfulness in the face of adversity – it’s important to smile in difficult situations.”

US honour for Royal Marine’s Afghan mission