Brent Goldsmith's hero is his son.
"He's always been a person that takes care of other people before he takes care of himself," Brent Goldsmith said. "That's Collin. He's done it his whole life."
Brent Goldsmith, 52, of Seven Valleys said he had goosebumps as he watched his hero son, U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Collin Goldsmith, 25, receive the Bronze Star Medal with a combat distinguishing device.
The younger Goldsmith received the medal during an Aug. 3 award ceremony at Combat Center's Sunset Cinema in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where he is stationed.
Lance Cpl. Goldsmith was awarded the medal for protecting a fellow soldier from a grenade thrown at their unit in a village in the Helmand Province area in Afghanistan on June 17, 2011, according to the news report by Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS) at
Goldsmith is a rifleman in Company 1, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. He could not be reached for comment.
"It was just another day when I found out I was getting the award," he said in a statement to DVIDS. "I was just happy to see my dad out here. It's always nice to have family support."
On patrol: Goldsmith's unit had been on patrol and were on their way to detain a Taliban facilitator. He led the way while sweeping South Gavinishi village for improvised explosive devices when an insurgent threw a fragmentation grenade over a wall and into the group's path, according to DVIDS.
The grenade landed two meters from the patrol. Goldsmith warned the unit of the danger and then tackled a Marine who was exposed to the blast, DVIDS reports.
"He shielded (the Marine) with his body and took the whole brunt of the blast," Brent Goldsmith said of his son. "He had a concussion, and he was unconscious for over a minute."
He served in Afghanistan for about eight months, returning to the U.S. in October 2011, said his mother, Eileen Goldsmith, 50.
She said she was nervous, scared and relieved after learning about her son's act of bravery.
"We're so proud of him," she said. "It's just exciting for him to get this medal. He works so hard. They (soldiers) all do and they deserve recognition."
Dad at ceremony: Eileen Goldsmith said only her husband could attend the award ceremony, as they learned about the medal less than 24 hours prior to the event. Brent Goldsmith immediately took a plane to California, arriving a half-hour before the ceremony.
Eileen Goldsmith said she is not surprised by her son's willingness to sacrifice himself for his fellow soldiers. He also looks out for their well-being by noting which soldiers need care packages of snacks and camping items.
Eileen Goldsmith said he informs her of their needs, and she sends weekly packages to them.
The Goldsmiths said their son graduated from Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore in 2005 and attended Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I., before becoming a Marine three years ago.
They said he is scheduled to return to Afghanistan in either February or March next year.
"I'm scared," Brent Goldsmith said. "But I'm amazed by him. It's amazing how these kids are so strong and ready to serve. Unbelievable."
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.