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Project Hero: SSG Chad Malmberg, Silver Star
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, April 05, 2008

This is the story of a young National Guard staff sergeant who was a convoy commander in charge of getting all the vehicles and the 15 soldiers back to his base in Iraq safely. Naturally about 30 insurgents decided they'd ambush him and the convoy with the idea of killing or capturing them all.

As you'll see, SSG Chad Malmberg had a completely different outcome in mind and he took charge and made his outcome the final one.
Outnumbered by almost two to one, an ambush closing in like a vice, more than a thousand rounds raining down for 50 minutes – the chances of success, much less survival, might seem impossible. But for Staff Sgt. Chad Malmberg of the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division, the day he and his men faced those odds was also the day they managed to repel a large coordinated attack – without suffering a single casualty. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,” he later said in an interview, “but it’s the size of the fight in the dog. That day, we had a lot of fight in us.” For his gallantry in battle, Malmberg became the first Minnesota Guardsman in his division – known as the “Red Bulls” – to receive the Silver Star since World War II.

On January 27, 2007, Malmberg’s convoy, which included more than 20 gun trucks and logistical vehicles, was traveling from Baghdad International Airport late at night when an IED exploded. The convoy stopped to assess the situation; it soon became clear, however, that the IED was only the beginning of the attack – the largest ambush during Malmberg’s 16-month deployment. Hostile forces melted out of the night and fired rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms. In the darkness, it was difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the fire. Malmberg knew he had to get closer, so he moved forward and engaged several enemy positions. He then exited his vehicle and attempted to direct the other trucks out of the kill zone. The concentration of enemy fire made this maneuver too difficult – which meant that Malmberg and the rest of the team would have to stand their ground and fight to the end.

Malmberg saw fire from behind and moved to support the rear elements. He dealt the attackers a blow with an AT-4 anti-tank shot – before calling in air support.

The enemy fire continued relentlessly, and in such close quarters, the aircraft did not have a clear shot. For the next half hour, Malmberg’s team of 15 soldiers continued to fight an enemy force that outnumbered them. The hostile forces eventually drew to within 20 meters. Malmberg, recognizing that the convoy could be overrun, again entered the kill zone and threw a hand grenade into a nearby ditch, killing several insurgents. That action neutralized the offensive, and prevented the convoy from being taken over.

Despite the long odds and the fierce fighting, Malmberg’s leadership as a Convoy Escort Team commander prevented his 35-member team of soldiers and civilians from taking casualties. The St. Paul native is currently enrolled at Minnesota State University as a full-time student, and plans to pursue a career in law enforcement after graduation.
SSG Chad Malmberg, awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action and, more importantly to him, ensuring all 15 of his guys made it out of that ambush alive.


Previously featured in "Project Hero":

1LT Brian Chontosh: Navy Cross
PFC Daniel McClenney: Silver Star
PVT Dwayne Turner: Silver Star
MSG Robert Collins & SFC Danny Hall: Silver Star
SSG William Thomas Payne: Silver Star
CPT Christoper J. Bronzi: Silver Star
SSG Charles Good: Silver Star
SR AMN Jason D. Cunningham: Air Force Cross
PFC Jeremy Church: Silver Star
SGT Leigh Ann Hester: Silver Star
CSM Ron Riling: Silver Star
CPL Jason L. Dunham: Medal of Honor
PFC Joseph Perez: Navy Cross
COL James Coffman, Jr: Distinguished Service Cross
1LT Karl Gregory: Silver Star
1LT Brian Stann: Silver Star
MSG Anthony Pryor: Silver Star
TSGT John Chapman: Air Force Cross
MSG Sarun Sar: Silver Star
1LT Jeffery Lee: Silver Star
SGT James Witkowski: Silver Star
SGT Timothy Connors: Silver Star
PO2 Juan Rubio: Silver Star
SFC David Lowe: Silver Star
SGT Leandro Baptista: Silver Star
SPC Gerrit Kobes: Silver Star
SSG Anthony Viggiani: Navy Cross
LCPL Carlos Gomez-Perez: Silver Star
MSG Donald R. Hollenbaugh: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Jarred L. Adams: Silver Star
1LT Thomas E Cogan: Silver Star
MAJ Mark E. Mitchell: Distinguished Service Cross
CPL Robert Mitchell Jr: Navy Cross
SGT David Neil Wimberg: Silver Star
CWO3 Christopher Palumbo: Silver Star
SGT Tommy Rieman: Silver Star
SCPO Britt Slabinski: Navy Cross
LT David Halderman: FDNY - 9/11/01
1LT Stephen Boada: Silver Star
1LT Neil Prakash: Silver Star
SFC Gerald Wolford: Silver Star
SSG Matthew Zedwick: Silver Star
LCPL Christopher Adlesperger: Navy Cross
SGT Joshua Szott: Silver Star
SPC Richard Ghent: Silver Star
CPL Mark Camp: Silver Star
The Veteran
CW3 Lori Hill: Distinguished Flying Cross
SGT Paul R. Smith: Medal of Honor
PFC Ross A. McGinnis: Silver Star
SGT Joseph E. Proctor: Silver Star
PFC Christopher Fernandez: Silver Star
MAJ James Gant: Silver Star
1SG John E. Mangels: Silver Star
Staff Sgt Michael Shropshire: Silver Star
Staff Sgt Stephen Achey: Silver Star
SFC Frederick Allen: Silver Star
PO2 (SEAL) Marc A. Lee: Silver Star
PFC Stephan C. Sanders, Distinguished Service Cross
CPT Joshua Glover: Silver Star
CPT Brennan Goltry: Silver Star
Cpl. Dale A. Burger: Silver Star
CPL Clinton Warrick: Silver Star
LT (SEAL) Michael P Murphy: Medal of Honor
CW4 Keith Yoakum: Distinguished Service Cross
1LT Walter Bryan Jackson: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Rafael Peralta, USMC: nominee, Medal of Honor
SSG Timothy Nein: Distinguished Service Cross
SGT Willie Copeland III: Navy Cross
SPC Monica Lin Brown: Silver Star
1LT David Tiedeman: Silver Star
SSG Raymond Bittinger: Silver Star


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.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

and plans to pursue a career in law enforcement after graduation
All I can say is you will NOT want to screw with this cop...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Thanks for this story, McQ. I’m amazed that I haven’t seen this story of a heroic Minnesotan reported in the Minneapolis StarTribune. /sarcasm off.

I’ll have to see if that can change.
Written By: Sharon
Hi Sharon - great to hear from you again. I think the St. Paul Pioneer Press is as close as it got. The Mankato Free Press and WCCO-TV also ran it.
Written By: McQ
Actually, I did a little research this morning, and the StarTribune did run a short story about it. So, good for them.

They also mentioned Staff Sgt. Malberg’s medal in a story they published about another Minnesota Silver Star recipient, Paul Walsh, whose grandfather also received the Silver Star.

Hope all is well with you, Bruce.
Written By: Sharon
Linked, as always.
Written By: Bithead

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