U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Peter J. Keating, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, presents a shadow box to 1st Lt. Raymond G. Baronie in a ceremony in Harmarville, Pa. Baronie received a Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” for valor for his actions while deployed to Iraq. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Thomas O. LantzU.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Raymond G. Baronie
By Sgt. Thomas O. Lantz
1st Marine Corps District
PITTSBURGH, May 19, 2006 — Friends, family, and members of his former Camp Lejeune, N. C.-based Marine unit were on hand as 1st Lt. Raymond G. Baronie received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat “V” for valor for his courageous actions while deployed to Iraq.
Baronie, a native of Lower Burrell, Pa., and 2002 graduate of Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa., served in Iraq with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force as a liaison officer between the newly created Iraqi Security Forces and the Marines. He oversaw the training and provided guidance to new members of the Iraqi Security Forces and often assisted with critical supply support within his Marine unit.
According to command members, Baronie could have taken a much safer route to the end of his deployment. Instead, he regularly placed himself in harm’s way to better understand how he could be a more effective and efficient leader.
In early December 2005 the same drive that had earned him the respect of his subordinates and supervisors alike put him in danger. While conducting a volunteer mission through one of the worst parts of Iraq, Baronie’s convoy came under fire.
“I call it my bad day,” Baronie said with a smile. His vehicle was hit with a 57 mm rocket.
Baronie shifted his much deserved recognition to another Marine in attendance, Sgt. Delwin T. Davis.
“I just know I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the actions of Sgt. Davis,” he said.
Davis was responsible for helping Baronie out of a burning vehicle.
“They could have just as easily put this award in the mail,” said Baronie. “(For me) It’s unfathomable for a company commander to make this kind of trip; hundreds of miles away from base.”
The lieutenant concluded the ceremony by issuing a round of by-name thanks to everyone in attendance and finished with a heartfelt thanks to his father that barely left a dry eye in the room.
When asked why the Marines of 1st Battalion, 10th Marines chose such an unorthodox, and meaningful method of thanking one of their Marines, the commanding officer replied, “That’s just what we do. As Marines we take care of our own.”
“We never thought about not (coming to Pennsylvania). As part of the Marine family, we are always here for our wounded," said Lt. Col. Peter J. Keating, commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force. “And most of all, because we still look at him as one of our own.”
Baronie’s love for the Corps is strong.
“I love the Marine Corps and all that it embodies,” he said. “And I can’t thank (my command) enough for visiting me all the way up here in Western Pennsylvania.”