Local hero gets award

A tribute to his bravery during battle

Monday, November 29, 2010 - 5:18pm

DENHAM SPRINGS, La (WGMB) -- Sgt. Walter Lee Osteen never expected to his face plastered on a billboard in his hometown of Denham Springs, but just days ago, there it was.

"All I did was help a bunch of Marines get to safety," says Osteen.

The sign is just one of several ways that Osteen was honored for his actions during combat. During his second tour in Iraq, Osteen's unit came under fire. "We were getting shot at the whole time," he says. "Unselfishness goes through your head, honestly. It's all you can think about is getting these marines to safety. They're hurt."

Osteen saved the lives of several men injured during the attack. "Honestly, it was just a natural reaction,"he says. "The things we do as Marines, it's because of our fellow brother to our left and to our right because we're concerned about their safety."

Osteen's courage didn't go unnoticed. He was awarded the Naval and Marine Corps Combination Medal with Valor in front of thousands of people at the Saints-Seahawks game on November 21st. "I've never been to a Saints game. I've never been to the Superdome whatsoever, so being able to walk out at ground level and see all of it was by far the coolest thing."

Osteen says that day continued to get better and better. "Heath Evans, number 44, actually walked up to us and shook our hands, told us thank you and that was pretty cool."

Osteen's wife, Lindsay, couldn't be prouder. "A lot of people forget what's going on overseas," she says. "We're not in the thick of fighting as we were before and for a lot of people, it just goes out of their minds and they don't remember."

Osteen, however, will always remember. The award is a constant reminder of the sacrifices made for America.

"That's what gets me. I'm getting honored, but I always want you to never forget the ones who have died, so that we can be free."

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