Clifford Wooldridge: Marine killed enemy combatant in hand-to-hand combat

In the world of Marines, the name of Clifford Wooldridge refers to the story and extraordinary things that occurred on June 18, 2010, when young

Eric Sof

The Crazy Story Of A Marine Locked In Hand-To-Hand Combat 3

In the world of Marines, the name of Clifford Wooldridge refers to the story and extraordinary things that occurred on June 18, 2010, when young Marine Wooldridge was part of the convoy which came under heavy fire. Wooldridge was with his Marines in Humvee, when suddenly approximately 15 enemy combatants tried to ambush the convoy. What happened next was astounding.

Deadly ambush

Clifford Wooldridge from United States Marine Corps served as Vehicle Commander in the rank of Corporal at the time of the attack. He was part of US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom. When his vehicle approached the ambush location, Wooldridge ordered his squad to dismount and maneuver to the suspected enemy location, soon they spotted a group of approx. 15 enemy combatants.

Clifford Wooldridge led his fire team across open ground in order to flank the enemy and that action resulted in killing or wounding at least 8 combatants and forced the rest of the ambush squad to retreat. As he held security alone to cover his fire team’s withdrawal, he heard voices from behind an adjacent wall. Boldly rushing around the corner, he came face-to-face with two enemy militants at a very close range.

He killed both of them with his M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon. But, when he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty M249 and seized the machine gun barrel.

Clifford Wooldridge, US Marines, received Navy Cross Medal
Sgt. Clifford Wooldridge, combat weapons instructor, Marine Corps Security Forces Regiment, Chesapeake, Va., stands at parade rest after receiving the Navy Cross Medal, May 18, at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray Field. He earned the medal for combat actions in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while attached to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, in 2010.

Hand-to-hand combat

He disarmed the enemy combatant in hand-to-hand combat after they grappled for control of the weapon. He killed him with his own weapon, giving him several blows to the head. But, just before that, combatant reached for one of his hand grenades in a desperate attempt to kill himself and then Corporal Clifford Wooldridge, but he didn’t succeed to pull the pin on the hand grenade. Wooldridge’s brave and fearless actions thwarted the attack on his platoon, which saved many lives.

Shortly after, the remaining members of his team came around the corner and witnessed the three dead enemy fighters and Corporal Wooldridge standing over one fighter holding the machine gun. That was enough for Clifford M. Wooldridge to be awarded the Navy Cross medal and to give him the status of legend in USMC.

Post-military career

Staff Sgt. Wooldridge left the United States Marine Corps in 2016, after spending nine years in the service.

“I enjoyed my time in the Marine Corps,” Wooldridge told Marine Corps Times. “It’s had a huge impact on my life. I’m going to miss the men I’ve served with and miss being in the fight with them.”

Eric Sof

Eric Sof holds a master's degree in Political Science, specializing in International Peacekeeping Studies. He has over a decade of experience as a former member of an elite counterterrorism unit. Additionally, he is a firearms instructor and currently serves as a member of the SWAT unit.


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