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Haerter to Receive Navy Cross

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This Friday, friends, family and members of the community will be traveling to Virginia to attend a ceremony at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, where Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter will posthumously be awarded the Navy Cross – the highest medal for bravery given by the Department of the Navy.

JoAnn Lyles, Jordan’s mother, said the Marines are expecting around 400 people to attend Friday’s ceremony, which will begin at 11 a.m. at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia at the Quantico Marine Base.

Haerter, a 2006 Pierson High school graduate, joined the Marines after getting his diploma. He was sent to Iraq, and after just one month, the 19-year-old and fellow Marine, Cpl. Jonathon T. Yale, 21-years-old from Burkesville, Va., saved the lives of 33 Marines, dozens of Iraqi police and hundreds of Iraqi citizens by stopping a suicide bomber from entering their territory.

For their efforts, both Marines will posthumously receive the Navy Cross, the second highest honor of all the armed forces, just behind the Medal of Honor, with the families accepting the medals.

According to Lyles, Lt. Col. Brett Bourne, commander of the Battalion, learned that the two Marines would be receiving the medal as he was driving back from November’s Sag Harbor Bridge Dedication in honor of Haerter.

It is going to be a proud day for all Marines,” said Lyles, “some of the people attending are from the 1-9 [First Battalion, Ninth Marines, the same Battalion as Jordan and Yale], from the Vietnam error.”

The Haerters, both Jordan’s father, Christian and Lyles, will meet Yale’s family for the very first time on Friday.

Lyles organized a Hampton Jitney bus for those looking to attend the ceremony, which originally had a cost attached to it. After learning of the trip, the Suffolk Police Veterans Association offered to pay the entire cost of the charter, and a guided tour through the museum.

On Tuesday, Lyles said she has learned that a tour guide at the museum has already added Yale and Haerter’s story to her tour. The guide will explain the story of both Marines and how their story is similar to that of Marine’s in Beirut. JoAnn said the make and model of truck was the same in both cases. On her blog, the tour guide said the theme she uses to explain the connection between both cases is “how Marines know they can count on each other.”

Further, she said Marines “do the things they do because they know there are other Marines counting on them. Indirectly, they do what they do because there are civilians counting on them, too.”