Secretary of Navy presents high-level awards at Virginia Beach ceremony

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. РSecretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presented high-level awards to several active-duty and former members of the East and West Coast Naval Special Warfare Commands.

160204-N-ZZ999-110 WASHINGTON (Feb. 4, 2016) The Silver Star medal is the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States armed forces. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Released)

160204-N-ZZ999-110
WASHINGTON (Feb. 4, 2016) The Silver Star medal is the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States armed forces. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Released)

Mabus awarded eight Navy Crosses and eight Silver stars to members at a ceremony in Virginia Beach on Friday.

One Navy Cross and one Silver Star were presented posthumously.

“Today we honor some of our nation’s finest heroes, not just for their individual acts of courage and bravery in the face of danger, but for the everyday selflessness that they and their peers demonstrate,” said Mabus. “This generation of Sailors, and particularly those serving as part of our Naval Special Warfare team, is an extraordinary group of men and women who have given so much to our country. Although today we recognize these individuals for their heroism and valor in combat, we are also honoring the Sailors and Marines who fought beside them and those who are still in the fight.”

The Navy Cross is the U.S. Navy’s second highest decoration. It is awarded for heroism while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.

The Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations with a friendly force. It is the fourth highest military honor awarded to a U.S. Armed Forces member and the third highest award for valor.

The awards were upgrades to previously awarded medals for valor in combat. The Department of Navy’s Post 9/11 Valor Awards Review Panel reviewed award nominations to make sure members were appropriately recognized for acts of valor.¬†More than 300 awards were reviewed.