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Training & Education Command (TECOM)

United States Marine Corps

Drill instructor awarded Navy Cross

By Lance Cpl. Heather Golden | | January 19, 2007

Throughout history, Marines have been recognized and remembered for their selfless acts on and off the battlefield. On Jan. 19, one more Marine was added to a distinguished list.
Sergeant Aubrey McDade, a drill instructor with Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, received the Navy Cross, the Marine Corps second highest award. He received the award during a recruit graduation ceremony at the All-Weather Training Facility Jan. 19 for actions during combat while deployed to Iraq in 2004.
According to McDade's Navy Cross citation, he was awarded for "extraordinary heroism" while serving as a machine gun squad leader attached to 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 8th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
McDade, exemplifying the old adage "no man left behind," repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to retrieve three wounded Marines caught in a kill zone after encountering a heavy volume of small arms and machine gun fire in an alleyway.
Upon contact, McDade charged from the rear of his platoon and immediately laid down suppressive fire from his machine gun. All attempts to reach the wounded Marines were met with enemy fire, and he ran into the heart of the kill zone three times to successfully extract all three Marines. 
After his selfless act, McDade assisted in treating and medically evacuating the three Marines, stated his citation.  
McDade's actions were crucial to saving two of the three Marines who were wounded in the alleyway that day.
"This has taught me to be a better man," said McDade. "It also teaches the recruits how grateful the Marine Corps is [for what Marines do], and hopefully I will be an inspiration to other Marines."
The Navy Cross may be awarded to any person who, while serving with the Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard during a time of war, distinguishes himself in action by extraordinary heroism.
According to SECNAVINST 1650.1 G, the action had to occur "while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing force in which the United States is not a belligerent party."
The directive also states that the action had to take place "in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and must be performed in such a manner that sets the individual apart from his or her shipmates or fellow Marines."
While McDade's citation states he "reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps," he does not take all the glory as one of the Corps' few Navy Cross recipients for himself.
"I felt honored when I got [the Navy Cross]," explained McDade. "I got it for the Marines who have fallen and for all the Marines who have done great things and never been recognized."  
McDade, who is continuing his work as a Parris Island drill instructor, said this award will not change how he trains recruits because he has always trained to the best of his abilities.
"I take a lot of pride and joy in what I do," concluded McDade. "I would give one-hundred and ten percent with or without this award."