MARSOC to rename SpecOps school after Fallen Navy Cross Recipient

By Faye Higbee

MARSOC to rename SpecOps school after Fallen Navy Cross Recipient

Camp LeJeune, N.C. – The schoolhouse where MARSOC [Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command] trains its special operations forces will be renamed Gifford Hall in a ceremony on July 27. They are naming it after GySgt Jonathan Gifford, who died in Afghanistan in 2012.

GySgt Gifford, 34, was at one time Chief instructor of MARSOC’s Advanced Sniper Course in that very same building. A statue of him will be unveiled next week at the ceremony.

The 2nd Marine Raider Battalion

It was Gifford’s heroic actions on July 29, 2012, that earned the Navy Cross – the nation’s 2nd highest valor award.

While on patrol near Bala Bokan in Afghanistan’s Badghis province, three Afghan commandos that he was advising were hit with small arms fire.

The Marine Corps Times reported:

Gifford immediately jumped onto an all-terrain vehicle, according to his citation, and braved incoming fire as he rode nearly 900 yards to aid the wounded Afghans. He and another Raider were able to move them to a landing zone so they could be evacuated for care. Gifford then crossed back over the same open terrain to help the rest of the Afghan commandos who were fighting back against the insurgents.


GySgt Jonathan Gifford- MARSOC photo

He led the counterattack, climbing on top of the building filled with insurgents to drop a grenade down the chimney, his citation states. He continued to fight back until he was mortally wounded by enemy machine gunfire.

The Heroes

We don’t always hear about the heroes of war- not all become famous or end up in the public spotlight. But they will fight to their last dying breath against impossible odds. Some make it, some do not.

GySgt Jonathan Gifford  ran toward the danger instinctively. His actions saved lives at the cost of his own. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross in 2014. He had been a Raider since 2006.