Marine awarded Bronze Star
March 6, 2008
RODRIGUEZ RANGE, South Korea — Marines participating in live-fire training at Rodriguez Range momentarily broke from training Tuesday to watch as one of their snipers received a Bronze Star medal for his work in a recent deployment to Iraq.
Sgt. Andrew Maddox, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division received the award for serving as a translator and cultural adviser to his company commander during rebuilding efforts in Ramadi between April and November 2007.
Maddox said he taught himself Arabic during a previous deployment by reading books on the subject and talking to Ramadi residents.
Without any formal language training, he said, he learned it “little by little, one word at a time.”
With the language skills he gained during his first deployment to Iraq, he was able to help his company find information about improvised explosive devices and “bad guys,” Maddox said.
During the 2007 deployment, those language skills became important, because without much fighting in the area, his unit turned its efforts to rebuilding the city’s infrastructure.
Maddox’s company commander, Capt. Douglas Cullins, said the sniper helped negotiate more than 30 contracts with local businesses and government authorities for rebuilding schools, repairing an ailing sewer system and other projects.
Maddox said the work he did was about establishing friendships.
“It’s just like the mantra that says we can be your best friend or your worst enemy. [The Iraqis have] seen we have the capacity to be friends,” Maddox said.
Maddox said he didn’t know he would receive the Bronze Star until regimental commander Col. Bryan McCoy read the citation in front of a formation at the range and pinned the medal to his chest.