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Marine Cpl. Michael W. Ouellette

Died March 22, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

28, of Manchester, N.H.; assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died March 22 in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed was Cpl. Anthony L. Williams.

Lejeune Marines killed in Afghanistan, Corps says

Staff report

Two North Carolina-based Marines died March 22 while supporting combat operations in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department.

Cpls. Anthony L. Williams, 21, of Oxford, Pa., and Michael W. Ouellette, 28, of Manchester, N.H., died in Helmand province. They were assigned to Camp Lejeune’s 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines. Both Marines were veterans of the Iraq war, according to a 2nd Marine Division release.

Williams, a combat engineer, joined the Corps on June 12, 2006, fulfilling a lifelong dream, according to his high school principal.

“What stuck for me was that [the Corps] seemed to be a passion for him,” David Madden, Oxford High principal, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He knew this is what he wanted to do. Nothing he ever said stays in my mind; it was what he did. I see kids say they will join the Marines and don’t do it. He said he was going to join, and he did. He followed through with his plan.”

Williams was a “hardworking small-town guy who carried himself in a dignified manner. … I find it difficult to accept the fact that he’s gone. It’s a tough thing,” Madden said.

Ouellette, an infantryman, made an appearance at his old high school before joining the Corps on June 15, 2005. During his visit, he told classmates, teachers and administrators he was going to join, Memorial High School principal Arthur Adamakos told New Hampshire television station WMUR.

“He was a great person, Mike. He’ll be missed by all his friends and the teachers he had here at Memorial,” Adamakos said, adding that Ouellette was a jovial student who talked to everyone.

Flags flown at half-staff for Manchester Marine

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — Flags have been lowered to half-staff around New Hampshire in honor of a Marine from Manchester who was killed in Afghanistan and is being buried at the State Veteran’s Cemetery in Boscawen.

Marine Cpl. Michael Ouellette, 28, was killed March 22 while supporting combat operations in the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. His mother said he was killed by an improvised explosive device.

Ouellette, a 1999 graduate of Memorial High School in Manchester, joined the Marines in 2005. He was deployed to Afghanistan in November after two deployments to Iraq.

More than 400 people paid their respects to Ouelette Sunday night at a Manchester funeral home.

Fallen NH Marine laid to rest

The Associated Press

BOSCAWEN, N.H. — Hundreds of people turned out to pay their final respects to a Manchester Marine killed in combat in Afghanistan.

Cpl. Michael Ouellette, 28, was killed March 22 in an explosion. He was buried March 30 at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Boscawen.

It was gray and rainy, but Ouellette’s family said it was the kind of weather he loved. Ouellette was serving his third tour of duty since 2006 when he was killed.

A 1999 graduate of Manchester Memorial High School, Ouellette started a culinary career, but he found his calling to serve while visiting New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit, friends and family say.

Silvio Rodriguez, a fellow Marine who served in Ouellette’s unit overseas, described him as articulate, rough when he needed to be, and helpful.

Fallen Marine was ‘always a role model’

The Associated Press

Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Escher watched as Cpl. Michael W. Ouellette became a team leader and then a squad leader.

“He was always a leader, even as a junior guy,” Escher said, adding that his friend didn’t even have to go on his last deployment, but “the guys under him didn’t have combat experience.” Ouellette, he said, wanted to make sure they were taken care of.

Ouellette, 28, of Manchester, N.H., died March 22 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province. He was a 1999 high school graduate and was assigned to Camp Lejeune.

He had gone to culinary school in California after graduating.

He deployed twice to Iraq: first from March 2006 to September of that year and then from July 2007 to January 2008.

Alan Ouellette said that his brother “was always a role model for myself and others,” and that he hoped that “we can make his legacy as big as his life.”

“He was one of the few kids that would actually come and talk to us and have a conversation with us,” said Arthur Adamakos, his former principal. Most kids don’t.”

He is survived by his parents, Leonard and Donna.

Mother starts fund in son’s memory

The Associated Press

MANCHESTER, N.H. — The mother of a Marine who was killed in Afghanistan has started a fund to benefit veterans.

The fund is named in honor of Michael Ouellette, a 1999 graduate of Memorial High School in Manchester. He was serving his third tour of duty since 2006 when he was killed in combat in March.

Donna Ouellette created the fund to benefit the Veterans Service program of Easter Seals New Hampshire. The program has helped more than 600 veterans and their families and is managing more than 200 cases. Services may include setting up counseling and financial assistance.

Ouellette’s family accepts Navy Cross on his behalf

By Gina Cavallaro

Staff writer

Cpl. Michael W. Ouellette posthumously received the Navy Cross on Nov. 10 for displaying exceptional valor in combat by leading his Marines in a gun battle in Afghanistan, even after suffering a mortal wound.

Ouellette’s family accepted the award on his behalf from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in a ceremony at the Marine Reserve Support Center in Londonderry, N.H.

Ouellette, 28, was a squad leader in 1st Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, from Camp Lejeune, N.C. On March 22, 2009, his unit was in its fifth month on the ground in the Now Zad district in northern Helmand province.

Almost two hours into a foot patrol, which began in the morning at Forward Operating Base A.P. Hill, Ouellette was wounded by the blast of an improvised explosive device that detonated under his feet.

As the dust settled, the gunfire began from enemy positions a few meters away, and Ouellette lay bleeding in a crater.

Gaining their bearings, the Marines of 1st Platoon scrambled to lay down suppressing fire and Cpl. Jesse Raper, a squad automatic machine gunner, pulled Ouellete, who was conscious and breathing, out of the crater. Together they began to apply tourniquets and Ouellette stayed in charge, said Hospitalman 3rd Class Matthew Nolan, who ran to Ouellette’s side within moments.

With the lower half of his left leg gone and his right upper thigh and groin area ripped through with shrapnel, Ouellette knew there was no time to waste. He calmly took charge of his squad’s response to the enemy ambush.

“When I get there, he’s still calling out orders, he’s still telling the radio operator what to call in for helos, what to call in for mortars, calling his evac nine-line in and making sure that his assistant team leader, Lance Cpl. Rupert, has everything under control,” Noland said.

But Ouellette’s time was slipping away. As a quick-reaction force sped toward the ambush site, having been hampered by additional IEDs along the route, he was taken by ground ambulance to a casualty evacuation landing zone about two kilometers away. And, according to Nolan, Oullete was still breathing and conscious when the bird took off.

“I’m proud of my Marines,” were the last words Nolan heard Ouellete say as he waited for that bird.

The Navy Cross is the highest medal for valor awarded by the Navy and is second only to the Medal of Honor.

Including Ouellette’s, 26 Navy Crosses have been awarded to Marines for heroism in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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