The Marines from the 1st Tank Battalion were all brought in close together so they could share in the honors being bestowed upon their brothers.
Major General Larry D. Nicholsen addressed the assembled group at the Air Ground Combat Center at the Twentynine Palms Marine Base.
"Nobody wears a medal, a personal declaration. that is earned by themselves," Nicholson said.
The four men being honored for their acts of heroism and service stood front and center.
Captain Christopher Ashinhurst was presented a bronze star medal for his efforts in Afghanistan.
From January 2, 2013 through July 20, 2013 Capt. Ashinhurst, "displayed extraordinary leadership and courageously led his company in direct combat against enemy forces ... His decisive leadership under enemy fire and personal violence of action in directing fires of his force resulted in the death of 60 insurgents and broke the enemy's ability to continue organized resistance."
The Captain took no glory for himself, turning to address the Delta Company Marines he serves with.
"I'm truly humbled to be serving with you guys to this day," Ashinhurst told his fellow Marines. "I truly thank you for being at your best when the situation was at its worst."
The Marine families were also part of the ceremony. Sergeant Fredy Esquivel thanked his family for supporting him in the tough times, including his recovery from an IED blast. Esquivel received a Purple Heart.
"That support from our family members really allows us to do what we do every day," Esquivel said.
Lance Corporal Matthew Gonzales and Corporal Arturo Zavala Jr. received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. The loader and gunner, respectively, saved the life of their tank commander when the tank was almost fully submerged under water.
"We went down there and pulled him out. We kept pulling him and pulling him," Gonzales said. "After like eight pulls we finally got him out. We were able to recover the tank and get back to the base safely."
Their time at the base in Twentynine Palms is what prepares thes Marines to respond to the moments when they earn their medal. In battle, they never know what's next, but they'll be ready.
"What will our footprint look like in Afghanistan after 2014?" Major General Nicholson asked. "We just don't know. That's why it's so important that we stay ready and stay focused."