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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.


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
SGT Joshua Szott: 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
SGT Tommy Rieman: Silver Star
SSG Matthew Zedwick: Silver Star
LCPL Christopher Adlesperger: nominee Medal of Honor
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


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 

Any company commander who has ever served knows that a good First Sergeant is worth his weight in gold.
Jesus, what an understatement.
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
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
Written By: John Mangels
URL: http://

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