Three cheers for a local Marine honored for his heroic action in Afghanistan.

Lance Cpl. Sean J. Harrigan, 20, of Methuen was on patrol in Afghanistan when an roadside bomb exploded. Harrigan, a 2008 graduate of Central Catholic High School in Lawrence who has aspired to a life in military service since childhood — responded quickly to save the life of his squad leader, Cpl. Todd Nicely.

The improvised explosive device, or IED, had blown off both of Nicely's arms and his legs. He was bleeding profusely and needed immediate medical attention and evacuation to survive.

According to military reports of the incident, Harrigan delivered a combat metal detector to another Marine to clear a path to Nicely, while he gathered his medical supplies. When the way was clear, Harrigan sprinted to Nicely and applied tourniquets to his damaged limbs.

The report commended Harrigan for "heroic achievement."

"By remaining calm under an extremely chaotic situation, he single-handedly saved the life of his squad leader ... all the while ignoring the significant secondary enemy threat to himself," the report noted.

Harrigan earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and received a handwritten "thank you" letter from Stanley A. McChrystal, a four-star general and then-commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The letter expressed McChrystal's appreciation of Harrigan's courage and professionalism.

"It is an honor to serve with you. Semper Fi," McChrystal wrote.

Harrigan's parents, Mark and Sheryle Harrigan of Andover, told reporter Mark E. Vogler it was several weeks before they learned of their son's heroics. Harrigan has been very "low key" about the incident, his father said.

Harrigan's courage and professionalism saved a fellow Marine's life. His heroism is a shining example to all.

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