Died: December 01, 2004
Service member receiving IDP.
Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.
Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas is enthusiastically recommended for the Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device, POSTHUMOUSLY, for his heroic actions as Platoon Sergeant, 2d Platoon, Company A, 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September to December 2004. During this period, Gunnery Sergeant Obleas demonstrated exceptional bravery and gallant leadership during the conduct of over 22 combat patrols consisting of cache sweeps, cordon and searches, vehicle checkpoints, reconnaissance and surveillance and sniper operations. His tactical acumen in the employment of sniper assets and reconnaissance and surveillance teams proved invaluable. He was an example of consummate professionalism, courage, and undaunting leadership for all to emulate. Service member was receiving Imminent Danger Pay (IDP) during this period.
During September and October, Gunnery Sergeant Obleas' platoon conducted numerous cache sweeps, vehicle checkpoints, and cordon and knock/search operations within the Ziadon Region of central Iraq . During this time, his platoon was responsible for locating and destroying more than 32 separate cache sites consisting of: 400+ mortars (60mm, 120mm, 155mm), 30+ AK rifles, 21 wire-guided rockets, 6 anti-personnel landmines, 10 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), 20 mortar sites, 9 sniper sites, and more than 10,000+ machine gun and small arms rounds. As the demolitions expert within the platoon, Gunnery Sergeant Obleas developed the demolition plan and spearheaded the detonation of each cache. During the conduct of more than 14 cordon and search operations, Gunnery Sergeant Obleas acted as the Assault Element Leader, entering, clearing and leading the detailed search
of each target building.
During Operation Phantom Fury, Gunnery Sergeant Obleas continued to be the consummate leader and mentor of the platoon. His decisiveness and courage under fire were a steady example for all to emulate. On the afternoon of 13 November 2004, a patrol was sent from the platoon's patrol base to conduct cache sweeps and establish a presence in the As Sadan region on the outskirts of Fallujah , Iraq . Upon their return, one of the engineers discovered an IED approximately 50 meters from the patrol base. Moments after the IED was uncovered, it was command detonated by the enemy. At the time of detonation there were seven Marines in the immediate vicinity of the blast. Gunnery Sergeant Obleas immediately began casualty evacuation procedures (CASEVAC), radioing to battalion the current situation and requesting the appropriate assets. He single-handedly managed the platoon, establishing an outer cordon of the area and directing the recovery and evacuation of the casualties. Upon arrival of the Battalion Quick Reaction Force, he immediately devised a plan for their tactical employment in support of the cordon and coordinated their efforts in conducting a ground casualty evacuation of the seriously wounded. He further coordinated the integration of aviation assets to provide armed reconnaissance of the surrounding area and evacuation route. Gunnery Sergeant Obleas' composure and ability to bring order to an extremely dynamic and chaotic situation ensured the security of the remainder of the platoon and saved the life of a Marine who was in the immediate vicinity of the detonation.
The following day on November 14, 2004, the platoon was tasked with a sniper operation on the Euphrates River in the vicinity of the Thar Thar and Nu'amiyah region of Iraq . Contrary to traditional sniper operations, Gunnery Sergeant Obleas had the foresight to employ a four-man sniper team equipped with a 240G and M249 machine gun. Shortly after they were set in position, the sniper team reported that three suspicious males were traveling rapidly across the river in a pontoon boat. The team was directed to detain the individuals for questioning. Only seconds after a two-man element from the sniper team exposed them and gave away their position, 15-20 Iraqi males began pointing and shouting at the sniper team from across the river. Moments later the sniper team came under heavy direct fire attack. As a result of their machine gun assets, the team immediately returned a high volume of suppressive fire. Gunnery Sergeant Obeas directed the remainder of the platoon, staged approximately one kilometer away, to conduct an emergency extract of the sniper team. He then dismounted his vehicle and led a four-man element, under fire across an open field, to the
sniper team's position. Once in position, he directed suppressive fire against the enemy enabling the sniper team to bound back to safely
On 25 November 2004, the platoon was on patrol in the Zaidon region of Iraq . The five-vehicle convoy was moving to a patrol base when a command detonated IED exploded, destroying the vehicle in which Gunnery Sergeant Obleas was a passenger. Despite being mortally wounded, his first words once pulled from the vehicle were directing a team leader to set in security. He followed that order with sentiments of concern for the other wounded, ordering the platoon corpsman to help the other Marines first and directing him to provide a casualty report to higher headquarters. It was fitting and ironic that some of his last words were of concern for his men demonstrating his love for the Marines within his unit.
Gunnery Sergeant Obleas consistently distinguished himself in battle by maintaining a steadfast, calm demeanor that enabled him to make split-second decisions that have saved numerous lives. His experience, leadership, and confidence in every situation proved to be decisive on numerous occasions. His actions during this time period were nothing short of the finest examples of courageous leadership and selfless service. Gunnery Sergeant Obleas is deserving of the recognition commensurate with the Bronze Star Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for his heroic achievement and service to his Marines and Sailor.
For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as Platoon Sergeant, 2d Platoon, Company A, 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II from 1 September to 1 December 2004. Gunnery Sergeant Obleas' gallant leadership was instrumental during the conduct of 22 combat patrols that located and destroyed more than 10,506 pieces of enemy ordnance. On 13 November, his platoon was attacked by an improvised explosive device that claimed the lives of two Marines and injured four others. His calm and resolute leadership in the midst of the chaotic situation was critical as he maneuvered the platoon to establish a security cordon and directed the recovery and evacuation of the unit's casualties. On 14 November, an isolated sniper team came under direct fire attack by 15-20 insurgents. Leading a four-man element across 300 meters of exposed terrain under enemy fire to recover the team, he established a support by fire position and directed devastating fire on the enemy allowing the engaged team to safely extract. On 25 November, an improvised explosive device destroyed Gunnery Sergeant Obleas' vehicle. Though mortally wounded, he continued to direct Marines to establish security positions and refused medical treatment until all other casualties had received aid. In each engagement, his undaunting leadership and selfless dedication saved lives and directly led to the success of his unit. By his zealous initiative, courageous actions and exceptional dedication to duty Gunnery Sergeant Obleas reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.
OBLEAS-PRADO PENA, JAVIER
GYSGT US MARINE CORPS
VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 12/07/1986 - 12/01/2004
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/04/1968
DATE OF DEATH: 12/01/2004
DATE OF INTERMENT: 12/09/2004
BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 8084
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 990
Offered February 21, 2005
Celebrating the life of Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena.
WHEREAS, United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena died on December 1, 2004, from injuries he sustained while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom; and
WHEREAS, members of Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena's family are residents of Winchester ; and
WHEREAS, Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena joined the Marine Corps in December 1986 and served in Operation Desert Storm; and
WHEREAS, Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena served with the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and
WHEREAS, during his 18 years in the Marine Corps, Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena earned 26 medals, including the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, Combat Action Ribbons, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medals, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbons; and
WHEREAS, Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena was deployed with his unit to Iraq in September 2004 and was mortally wounded by enemy fire on November 25, 2004, in Al Anbar Province, Iraq; and
WHEREAS, Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena's death is a reminder of the perils faced daily by thousands of Americans who serve in our armed forces overseas and whose devotion to duty places them in harm's way; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with great sadness the loss of a courageous and patriotic American, Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena; and, be it
RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of Gunnery Sergeant Javier Obleas-Prado Pena as an expression of the high regard in which his memory is held by the members of the General Assembly and the citizens of Virginia .