Story by Cpl. Marcin Platek
A Silver Star Medal was presented to Sgt. Miguelange G. Madrigal of 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, at a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Jan. 31st.
Lt. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, the commander of MARFORRES and Marine Forces North, presented the medal and later expressed the boldness of Madrigal’s actions.
“I want to thank Sgt. Madrigal for his gallant service and bravery, and selfless sacrifice to his family and the Marine Corps,” Hummer said. “We have some tremendous men and women in the Marine Corps, and this is just another demonstration of what I call our next great generation. To have these kinds of young Americans and young Marines doing what they do, it’s just an honor to serve with them day after day. “
As a radio chief for a Supporting Arms Liaison Team G, 1st ANGLICO, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, Madrigal’s team and other Marine teams on patrol were attacked by insurgents, Feb. 15, 2008. After fiercely fighting back the enemy attack, that injured a nearby Marine, Madrigal dashed out onto the battlefield to snatch the downed Marine who had been shot in the thigh. Without regard for safety, Madrigal dragged his fellow Marine to covered area and applied a tourniquet to the Marine’s bleeding wound.
“The biggest thing that was going through my head was not to let this guy down and to get him taken care of and patched up,” said Madrigal, a Bakersfield, Calif., native.
After the swift actions to save his fellow leatherneck’s life, Madrigal advanced to call in three successive close-air-support missions by a section of AH-1 helicopters onto the enemy positions.
Madrigal discovered some of the insurgents had remained after he called in a casualty evacuation; then realized that the incoming helicopter started to receive enemy fire. With concern for the Marines onboard, Madrigal got on the radio once again and guided the aircraft away from the hot zone to come back and pick up the wounded when it was safe.
“He took charge – that leadership that we espouse in our (noncommissioned officers) and it’s a tremendous tribute to him and to the Marine Corps,” Hummer said. “We train our Marines incredibly well and to be a part of an elite unit. ANGLICO works in small teams and everybody is highly trained. So when he found himself in a jam, he applied his training, which is contributed to him and the Marine Corps training program, and took charge.”
Madrigal credits the Marine Corps training to his quick actions. During preparation for deployment an emphasis is put on small teams and cross-training, so each member knows everyone’s role and job.
For this heroism and rapid engagement, he was bestowed the nation’s third highest medal, the 122nd since the beginning of the global war on terror.
“It’s very humbling and it almost seems undeserving as everybody else’s actions on the team would have been the same as mine,” said Madrigal, who is now a student and a civilian maintenance and safety coordinator.
Another Silver Star-recipient, Sgt. Maj. James E. Booker, sergeant major of MARFORRES and MARFORNORTH, was alongside Hummer when Madrigal received his award. He said that is a remarkable thing when someone is presented an award for combat, as it is the most violent event known to man.
“Sgt. Madrigal’s experience was incredible, not many fights have that many layers to them,” Booker said.
The ceremony took place in front of a building named after Madrigal’s senior drill instructor, Staff Sgt. Allan K. Walker, who was killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2004. Having this personal connection made the pinning that much more important to Madrigal.
“To witness a young guy like that to get up in front of his family, in front of the recruits, it’s an emotional thing and that is some history here,” Booker said. “My hat’s off to him.”