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GROTON - The military has awarded its third-highest combat decoration to a Marine from Massachusetts who was killed after saving colleagues in battle in Afghanistan.

Sergeant William Woitowicz of Groton was killed June 7 after opening fire on Taliban fighters to enable fellow Marines and Afghan commandos move to safety in a village controlled by insurgents.

Nearly 100 relatives, friends, and Marines were at the National Museum of Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., to witness the Silver Star presentation to the Woitowicz family.

The 23-year-old was previously given a Purple Heart and promoted posthumously to sergeant.

Woitowicz was assigned to the 2d Marine Special Operations Battalion, Marine Special Operations Regiment at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

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