Sgt. Anthony Viggiani: The Marine Who Rescued His Men From A Cave Full Of Snipers


ViggianiOn June 3, 2004, Sgt. Anthony Viggiani never imagined that a simple routine patrol in the province of Kabul in Afghanistan with his platoon would turn into a nightmare.

When Viggiani’s platoon had just passed the village, they heard that a large group of insurgents were pushing through the valley. Then, while on a lookout, Viggiani and his men ended up in the mountainous terrains of Kabul where there are no radio signals.

We were rolling through and got intel reports to sweep a village, and we got reports that they had spotted some guys. And we also had no idea where our second squad was because of the mountains. The radio transmissions were pretty jacked up.” Viggiani told Stars & Stripes during an interview.

With no contact to their second unit, Viggiani and his platoon used the sound of the heavy gunfire as their guide. When they approached the fortified ridge line, Viggiani and his platoon were pinned down by enemy snipers shooting at them from a heavily fortified cave. Two of  Viggiani’s fellow marines were wounded by the enemy snipers during this encounter.

Viggiani knew that he had to do something for them to get out from their dangerous situation. So, armed with a rifle and fragmentation grenade, Viggiani told his fellow marines to look for an opening in the cave.

Then, Viggiani noticed that a fabric was moving between the rocks. There were small gaps between the stones.

When interviewed on how he and his fellow Marines got out from the dangerous situation that they were in, Viggiani said, “I saw a cloth in there and fired three or four rounds inside. The cloth moved, and I saw skin. I fired about three, four more rounds. Then I pulled the pin on the frag, dropped it down, took two steps and plastered myself against the rock.”

The explosion killed three Taliban fighters in an instant.

The decisive action and quick thinking of Viggiani allowed him and his men to successfully move up the ridge line and battle more Taliban insurgents.

For more than four hours, Viggiani and his men battled the Taliban forces. During the battle, Viggiani was hit in the leg by a ricochet bullet. But even if Viggiani was injured, he still kept on fighting. When the smoke cleared and the fighting was over, Viggiani and his men killed 14 more Taliban insurgents.

medals_navy_cross_100x200Sgt. Anthony Viggiani was awarded the Navy Cross ( The highest honor in the Marine Corps) in 2006 for his heroism and bravery during that fateful day.

“If somebody does their job, brings the boys home alive and accomplishes the mission, that’s it to me. All of my boys, I wouldn’t trade them for anything,” he said.

The Mustang Spirit Award was also awarded to Viggiani in 2011 when he graduated from The Basic School. This award was given to prior-enlisted Marine who shows qualities of leadership.

Last May 2016, Sgt. Anthony Viggiani  also received the Marine Gunner Henry Lewis Hulbert award.



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