Project Hero: 1SG John E. Mangels, Silver Star Posted by: McQ
on Saturday, May 19, 2007
Any company commander who has ever served knows that a good First Sergeant is worth his weight in gold. He, or she, is the top NCO in your company, and it is the "first shirt" who mentors and provides leadership to the company's other NCOs.
Normally, however, the 1SG, like the company's Executive Officer, are involved in the "beans and bullets" part of the company's business, while the CO and the platoons conduct the combat operations. However, as you'll see in the case of 1SG John Mangles of C Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th (Mountain) Division, that's not only the case. And, it comes at no surprise to me that 1SG Mangles stepped up when it was necessary and demonstrated a level of valor that deserved the award of the Silver Star:
FORWARD OPERATING BASE FENTY, Afghanistan — A leader is an individual that embodies strength of character, resiliency and presence of mind during battle.
On April 22, one such leader was awarded for valor under fire when he was presented with a Silver Star by the Central Command commander, Navy Adm. William Fallon, on his vehicle patrol base along the Pech River road.
1st Sgt. John E. Mangels of "Combat" Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment first sergeant, was awarded the Silver Star for his courage and determination in the face of an intense fire fight and even after serious injury.
On the night of Oct. 6, 2006, the vehicle patrol base Combat Main, located on the Pech River Road in Kunar province, came under enemy fire from multiple locations on both sides of the river. Mangels led retaliation fire from the M240B mounted on his vehicle, designating enemy firing positions for his Soldiers.
Due to his accurate aim and the threat he personally posed to the enemy, lethal and direct fire was aimed at Mangels. During this onslaught, Mangels received a shrapnel wound to his head which knocked him out for several minutes. Once Mangels regained consciousness, he continued to move between fighting positions to rally his men and provide guidance.
"He actually still had shrapnel in his head, but he wouldn't even let me look at him until he knew all his Soldiers were fine," said Army Staff Sgt. Guy Lamb, a fire support noncommissioned officer with Combat Company, 1-32 Infantry. "He's always been like that. It's like he has no fear in a fire fight."
Only when the last wounded Soldier was evacuated from the fight did Mangels allow himself to be treated and eventually evacuated.
The Korengal and Pech Valley regions were among the most contentious regions of Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom VII. Mangels and his men's courage stand as a strong example of what it takes to prevail in the ongoing war on terror.
The example set by 1SG Mangles will forever be remembered by his NCOs and soldiers. And someday, when faced with a similar situation, they too will rise to the occasion as did 1SG Mangles. It is to this caliber of leadership and valor the Non Commissioned Officers of the US Army aspire. 1SG Mangles, and others like him, set the example for our young leaders to emulate. They are truly leaders of which to be proud.
PROJECT HERO is an ongoing attempt to highlight the valor of our military as they fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We constantly hear the negative and far to little of the positive and inspiring stories coming out of those countries. This is one small attempt to rectify that. If you know of a story of valor you'd like to see highlighted here (published on Saturday), please contact us. And we'd appreciate your link so we can spread the word.
Sir, Thank you for your kind comments and you are right we are helping the Afghan people get back on their feet while at the same time killing the bad guys. My company has done a great job at both. Sir I have soldiers in my company that would amaze you at the courage they display day in and day out.What I did is very small compared to what these young man are doing as evident as the soldiers have been put in for 40 ARCOMs with V, 8 Purple Hearts, 2 posthumously, 4 BSMs with V and 4 Silver Stars, sir these are the true heroes. Sir again thank you for your support. Chosins Best