Lance Corporal Christopher S. “Sperge” Adlesperger, who was a Marine for less than a year, was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for valor in Iraq. The Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest combat award, was presented to the 20-year-old Marine’s parents. The award cites the valor of then-Private First Class Adlesperger as a rifleman in Company K, 3d Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, 1stMarDiv in Fallujah on Nov. 10, 2004, during one of the largest and most intense battles of the war in Iraq.
The 30-minute gunfight started when a heavy burst of insurgent gunfire killed Adlesperger’s close friend Lance Corporal Erick Hodges and brought down LCpl Ryan Sunnerville and Hospitalman Alonso Rogero.
According to the citation: “With the majority of his platoon pinned down by insurgent positions, Private First Class Adlesperger single-handedly cleared stairs and a rooftop to move the injured to a rooftop where they could receive medical attention.” The citation also states: “On his own initiative, while deliberately exposing himself to heavy enemy fire, he established a series of firing positions and attacked the enemy, forcing them to be destroyed in place or to move into an area where adjacent forces could engage them.”
Although wounded, he took the point for his platoon in a final assault on an enemy machine-gun position. Adlesperger charged into a courtyard, firing at insurgents at close range with his rifle and grenade launcher. He is credited with killing 11 insurgents.
Later, on Dec. 9 after he received a meritorious promotion to Lance Corporal, Adlesperger was killed in action while leading his fire team.
“He was the greatest Marine I ever met,” said Corporal Carlos Batista, who arrived in 3/5 with Adlesperger.
First Lieutenant Michael Cragholm, the platoon leader, now a series commander at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, told reporters that he makes sure every graduation series knows the name and story of LCpl Adlesperger. “He is the warrior that the Marine Corps will remember.”
– Taken from the Leatherneck, July 2007.