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Sgt Ethan Place

USMC Sgt. John Place (R) receives the Silver Star for his gallantry in the Fallujah fight, where he accounted for 32 enemy insurgents in 13 days. The award was presented by the 1st Marine Division commander, Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski.

While fighting in Fallujah, the U.S. Marines heavily employed sniper teams, with one courageous young Marine sniper demonstrating skill and technique on a par with the best snipers in Marine history. In one 13-day period of April 2004, Sgt. John Ethan Place scored 32 confirmed kills while engaging insurgents who fought the Marines of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

The 1st Division commander, Maj. Gen. Richard Natonski, while presenting the Silver Star to the 22-year-old sniper, said his unerring fire had so unnerved the enemy that insurgent negotiators pleaded to have Place and his fellow snipers withdrawn while the talks were under way. "It's hard to believe," Major General Natonski said, "that one individual could have had such an impact on our combat operations."

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