The Marines of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, welcomed a new boss in Maj. Christopher J. Bronzi during a Sept. 6 ceremony at Camp Pendleton’s Camp Horno.
Bronzi, 39, of Poughquag, N.Y., deployed to Afghanistan and served as operations officer with 1st Marine Regiment and Regimental Combat Team 1. A 1996 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, he received the Silver Star for his actions leading his men in battle over two days of heavy fighting in Iraq’s volatile Sunni Triangle in April 2004.
Bronzi, then a captain, was commanding Golf Company, 2/4, through the intense deadly battles with insurgents April 6-7 in Ramadi, Anbar province’s capital city.
“He repeatedly exposed himself to intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire while personally destroying several enemy fighting positions,” states the Silver Star citation accompanying his award. “His heroic actions led to the elimination of 250 insurgents during the two-day period.”
“His selflessness and bravery inspired his Marines to engage and destroy an enemy focused on the destruction of coalition forces in the capital city of the Al Anbar province.”
At one point, Bronzi led a fire team into heavy enemy fire to recover the body of a fallen Marine. The following day, he and a squad with 4th Platoon found themselves surrounded and took cover in a nearby building. Bronzi got on the roof to lead Golf Company and the trapped squads out to safety at their firebase, the citation summarizes, while “eradicating the enemy in the process.”
A year later, Bronzi received the Leftwich Trophy, a coveted award given annually to an infantry officer for outstanding leadership. It’s named for the late Lt. Col. William G. Leftwich, the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion commander who perished in Vietnam in 1970 when a helicopter crashed on a mission to extract a recon team from enemy territory.
Bronzi will lead 1/4 through a workup training period to prepare the Marines and sailors for an overseas deployment at sea, as the battalion landing team with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “I think there’s no better place in the world to be in than an infantry battalion,” Bronzi said, in a 1st Marine Division news story of the ceremony. “I know that this is a blessing and not everyone in my rank gets to go back to an infantry battalion, so I’m looking forward to it.”