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Crucible Section Renamed for Fallen Marine

Front gate Camp Pendleton

CAMP PENDLETON -- One small piece of Marine Corps basic training was renamed Thursday to honor a San Diego County Marine corporal killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

The Crucible is where Marine recruits go during the 11th week of boot camp to test all the skills they have learned. The ordeal lasts 54 hours and is the final step before graduation. It includes combat exercises, more than 45 miles of marching and periods of sleep and food deprivation.

Camp Pendleton is the Crucible testing site for recruits going through the Corps' boot camp in San Diego. There's another one attached to the Marine recruit deport at Parris Island, S.C.

One obstacle in the Crucible is related to improvised bombs. At Camp Pendleton, that portion was renamed for Cpl. Larry D. Harris Jr., who was awarded the Silver Star medal posthumously for saving a fellow Marine.

Harris, 25, of Thornton, Colo., was killed July 1, 2010, while trying to help a Marine who had been wounded in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.

When his squad's machine gunner was shot in the leg, Harris and others left their covered positions to reach the injured Marine and carry him to a protected location -- despite facing heavy fire.

When the decision was made to evacuate the machine gunner, Harris "unhesitatingly picked up the wounded Marine and carried him to the medical evacuation site, once again exposing himself to effective enemy fire from multiple directions," according to the Silver Star citation.

As Harris carried the Marine, his foot triggered a hidden bomb. Harris was mortally wounded, but the machine gunner lived.

A Navy medical corpsman who received serious wounds to his face and neck while helping Harris carry the machine gunner also received a Silver Star in a 2011 ceremony at Camp Pendleton. Harris' widow accepted the medal on her husband's behalf.

A Marine Corps official said one of Harris' brothers in arms submitted a request to rename the Crucible's bomb training section for the fallen corporal.

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