SAN DIEGO, CA - Marine Corps officials are confirming that at least one Marine fell asleep in his barracks room last night with his fingers still rested on the control and 'R' keys, apparently refreshing his browser non-stop while waiting for the Marine Corps to publish the latest awards update.
Lance Corporal Benjamin Dumile, a Marine with 1st Public Affairs Battalion, served a 3-month tour at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, two weeks of which were before the April 12, 2010 cut-off for the new Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) announced earlier this year.
"I'm not certain what the criteria for the award will be, but my orders said 'Marine Expeditionary Brigade' when I deployed, so I should be good," explained Dumile.
Many Marines like Dumile have found themselves unable to leave their computers, constantly refreshing the Marine Administrative message page to be the first to know if they'll rate the coveted unit award.
The PUC, originally called the "Distinguished Unit Citation," is the unit equivalent to the prestigious Navy Cross and is awarded to units of the Armed Forces for extraordinary heroism in action. The I Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan are the only two Marine units to receive the award in the 11-year war on terror.
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar issued an alert on their base homepage warning young air-wingers to "use caution when searching for awards late at night," and "to be ready for the possibility you won't rate the PUC."
"We all want to rate the award," admitted Captain Mason Bradford, a recent graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, who also completed a familiarization tour with the school's Southwest Asia Cultural Studies program in 2009. "We just don't want anyone to get hurt trying to be the first to wear it."
For Dumile, the news can't come quickly enough.
"I just always dreamed of having a stack!" said Dumile. "I'm not sure if I'll get to three rows before I get out, but if I get this PUC, I know I'll be one ribbon closer."
"I'm still waiting on my Combat Action Ribbon as well," he added. "There was a wedding outside the FOB when I was there with a lot of AK-fire. I heard the shots, and I'm pretty sure that means I rate it. I've already got the CAR sticker to put on the back of my Ford Mustang."