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Marines to honor fallen squad leader who continued to direct his squad after being severely wounded in IED blast

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OuelletteMarine officials will be dedicating a new facility today at Camp Geiger, North Carolina in honor of a 28-year-old infantry squad leader and Navy Cross recipient.

Cpl. Michael Ouellete of Manchester, NH died during a March 22, 2009 battle, while he was deployed to Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines.

According to Marine Corps Times, Ouellette was “leading his squad on a combat patrol in Helmand province’s Now Zad district when an improvised explosive device detonated under his feet.”

Ouellette’s left leg was severed in the blast and his right upper thigh and groin area were ‘sprayed with shrapnel’. While another corpsman tried to stop the massive loss of blood by applying tourniquets, Ouellette continued to call out orders and direct his squad to defend against incoming enemy fire.

Hospitalman 3rd Class Matthew Nolan told Marine Corps Times in 2010: “He’s still telling the radio operator what to call in for helos, what to call in for mortars … making sure that his assistant team leader … has everything under control.”

Nolan said Ouellette was still breathing and conscious when he was evacuated, but later died from his injuries. The squad leader did not allow himself to be evacuated until all of his Marines were able to move out of the area, his fellow corpsmen said. Nolan says the last thing he heard Ouellette say was: “I’m proud of my Marines.”

Today’s building dedication will honor the fallen NCO. His family is expected to be in attendance for the ceremony at the Marine Corps’ Advanced Infantry Training Battalion Headquarters building.

The facility is part of the School of Infantry-East, where combat instructors “train, mentor and evaluate Marines recently assigned to combat-arms MOS’s”.

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