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ARFF Marine receives NAM with combat V

By Cpl. Rubin Tan | | March 21, 2013



On Sept. 14, 2012, Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, was under an enemy assault resulting in a catastrophic fuel fire.

Sgt. Fernando Camacho, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron aircraft rescue and firefighting Marine, reacted to the situation with courage and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with combat distinguishing device.

Camacho was deployed with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 in Afghanistan and awarded the NAM with combat distinguishing device by Lt. Col. William Kohmuench, MWSS-273 commanding officer, March 4.

"I was just about to hit the rack for the night when suddenly one of the gate guards came inside and informed us we were receiving small arms fire on the airfield," said Camacho, a native of Chicago. "It was really dark. All we could see were the flames coming from the airfield, and we could hear explosions but didn’t know where they were coming from.

"It was pretty quiet with the exception of the sounds from the airfield, it seemed deserted."

While on scene, Camacho was notified of potential casualties in a nearby structure. Camacho and three other Marines began searching for others when ambushed by an insurgent less than five meters away. Camacho returned fire causing the enemy to take cover, contributing to the elimination of the enemy threat, potentially saving further loss of personnel and damage to aircraft.

"Sgt. Camacho’s actions that day definitely spoke louder than words and that’s just the kind of Marine he is," said Staff Sgt. Justin Weller, H&HS ARFF section leader and native of Cuba, N.Y.

Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting responds to mishaps on military airfields and hangars involving rescue, fires and crashes.

"I’m just glad I had the right Marines with me so I wasn’t worried, I just wish they could be recognized too because I wasn’t the only one there," said Camacho.

Camacho is currently married to Jacinda Camacho and has two sons, Aidan, 8, and Tristan, 6. In the future Camacho plans on becoming a drill instructor.

Marine Wing Support Squadron 273 was deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.