Hometown Hero--Sgt. Aubrey McDade, Jr.
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    Thumbs up Hometown Hero--Sgt. Aubrey McDade, Jr.

    Hometown Hero--Sgt. Aubrey McDade, Jr.

    All our military friends and neighbors deserve our thanks for their contributions to our country, but very few receive the Navy Cross Medal, the second highest in the Marine Corps.

    Sgt. Aubrey McDade, Jr., is currently a drill instructor at Parris Island, but Friday during a recruit graduation ceremony, he was honored with the Navy Cross for his courageous acts as a machine gun squad leader during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    "We encountered an ambush in the alley way in Falujah," said McDade. "They were pinned down and we were immobile. I talked with my gunner and told him I would go out of there. I went out there with the best of my ability and did what I could do. I got three Marines out of an ambush, one had a severed left leg."

    While his acts are heroic in most of our minds, Sgt McDade says it was just part of his duty.

    "No time to think, you have a mission and you need to get it done," said McDade. "If you think about getting shot, that is more than likely what will happen."

    McDade remains humble about receiving the second highest award in the Marine Corps.

    "It was an award for me but it was on behalf of all the Marines," said McDade. "Like I said, the Marines who have fallen, the new Marines today and the Marines that deserve recognition that have not been recognized yet, so I feel good, but if I could give it back, though, I would for the Marine's life to come back."

    For his love for our country and the Corps, Sgt. Aubrey McDade, Jr., is this week's WTOC Hometown Hero.

    Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

    If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email us.


  2. #2
    Local drill sergeant awarded Navy Cross
    Marine's second-highest honor given for daring rescue in Iraq
    Published Saturday January 20 2007
    The Beaufort Gazette

    When Sgt. Aubrey McDade Jr. found out that he had been chosen to receive the Marine Corps' second-highest award for darting into enemy fire to rescue wounded Marines, he didn't want it.

    "Everybody told me congratulations, but I thought they should not congratulate me if other Marines were hurt," McDade, now a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, said after he was awarded the Navy Cross during a graduation ceremony at the base Friday. "But I'm at ease with what happened over there."

    McDade, 25, was serving in Fallujah, Iraq, as a machine gun squad leader with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment on Nov. 11, 2004, when his platoon was ambushed by insurgent machine gunfire in an alleyway. Within seconds, three Marines were seriously wounded, many others were pinned down by the firing and most were unaware of the dire condition of the wounded, he said.

    According to the official award citation, McDade ordered a machine gun team into the alley to suppress enemy fire and then McDade himself "showed total disregard for his own safety" and dashed out into the machine gun fire several times to pull the three Marines to safer ground.

    One Marine died as soon as he had been shot, but the other two received medical treatment and survived, McDade said.

    "You don't got time to feel, 'What if I'm going to get shot?'" said McDade, a husband and father of three. "I didn't think about being shot."

    Besides family, more than 30 members of his platoon, now mostly based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., drove to Parris Island to see McDade receive the Navy Cross.

    Sgt. Justin Rose, now stationed in Quantico, Va., was on a rooftop over the alley that day in Fallujah.

    The quickness and confusion of the events prevented him from knowing of McDade's actions until later, but Rose said he is proud of McDade and glad commanders decided to upgrade the award from the Silver Star, for which McDade was originally cited.

    "We're so tightly knit -- like brothers," Rose said. "I wanted to show support and spend the weekend with him."

    Although he has been training recruits at Parris Island since July, McDade said he remains close to his comrades in "1-8."

    "In the Marine Corps, we are a family -- a big family," said McDade, a Houston native who grew up in a small family. "No one does no harm to no one else."

    He didn't talk to his recruits, who graduated in Friday's ceremony, about his award until the last few weeks of their 13-week training because he wanted to make sure they recognized him as a drill instructor and not for actions in combat.

    And McDade said he isn't concerned about returning to Iraq at the moment.

    "I don't know what the current situation is," he said. "I'm just worried about making good quality Marines."

    McDade is the third Marine to receive a Navy Cross while stationed on Parris Island for previous actions in Iraq. Staff Sgt. Anthony Viggiani was awarded one in February 2006 and Sgt. Jeremiah Workman received his in May 2006.

    Workman, who now works at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, returned Friday to see a good friend graduate from training but made sure to congratulate the newest Navy Cross recipient.

    "I told him, 'When you wear the medal, wear it for those who can't be here with us,'" Workman said.

    Bob Sofaly/Gazette
    Sgt. Aubrey McDade Jr. of Houston, right, is awarded the Navy Cross by Brig. Gen. Paul E. Lefebvre, commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on Friday morning during the recruit graduation ceremony. McDade was awarded the Marine Corps' second-highest award for his courageous acts during Operation Iraqi Freedom.


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