LITTLETON, CO, USA U.S. Marines SSGT, A CO, 1ST LAR, 1ST BN, 3D MAR, RCT-7, 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA FALLUJAH, IRAQ 11/11/2004
As a young boy, Theodore Holder II used to wrestle his sister and she would win. But by the time he graduated from high school, Holder was ready to be a Marine.
“We were worried for him,” said Rebecca Holder-Otte, Holder’s sister. “But it was something he wanted to do. … I just want everyone to know what a special person he was. … The world was much better with him in it.”
Holder, 27, of Littleton, Colo., died Nov. 11 in a hostile attack. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Despite the dangers Holder faced – his job in Iraq was to enter hostile territory and sweep for roadside bombs – Holder maintained his sense of humor.
In a birthday card he sent to his sister for her birthday, Holder deadpanned: “It’s nice here in Iraq.”
Holder-Otte suspected her brother’s mundane phone calls home – in which he talked about day-to-day things and said he was bored – were really designed to allay his mother’s fears.
“I think he said a lot of things to make my mom feel better,” she said.
Theodore Holder’s Silver Star Citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Staff Sergeant Theodore Samuel Holder, II, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Platoon Sergeant, Light Armored Reconnaissance Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/3, Regimental Combat Team 7, FIRST Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 11 November 2004.
While conducting a movement to contact through the city of Al Fallujah, Iraq, Staff Sergeant Holder and his Light Armored Reconnaissance Company were ambushed from the front and right flank. A heavy volume of enemy small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire hit the lead vehicle, severely wounding one of the scouts. With no way for the scouts to remount their vehicle without exposing themselves to a devastating wall of machine gun fire, Staff Sergeant Holder, with complete disregard for his own safety, skillfully maneuvered his vehicle directly into the enemy’s line of fire in order to protect them.
Even as a burst of machine gun fire hit the turret wounding him, he continued to remain exposed and guide the fires of the gunner onto the enemy positions. As the enemy fire began to concentrate on the vehicle, he continued to fire an M-240G machine gun and control the fires of the vehicle’s main gun. As the enemy fire continued to build, he was seriously wounded once again. Despite the severity of his wounds, he continued to man the machine gun and return fire upon the enemy, eventually succumbing to his fatal injuries. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Staff Sergeant Holder reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.