Monday, June 27, 2011

Marine Cpl. Michael C. Nolen

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wis.

Cpl Nolen was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died June 27, 2011 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.

Those who knew Cpl. Michael C. Nolen are feeling a sense of shock, loss and helplessness following the news of his death, said the principal at his former high school.

Nolen, a 22-year-old Marine from Spring Valley, Wis., died Monday of wounds he suffered while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province, according to the 2nd Marine Division.

Nolen was a "nice, nice guy" who was "very well-liked by students and staff," said Gretchen Cipriano, principal at Spring Valley High School.

Nolen spent only his senior year at the school but returned after graduating in 2007.

"He would come back to school in uniform when he was on leave," Cipriano said Wednesday. "He was very proud to be a Marine."

While at Spring Valley High School, Nolen was involved in cross country and a school play - playing the role of a sheriff in "Honeymoon at Graveside Manor," Cipriano said.

Nolen's family could not be reached Thursday, but family friend Jean Cunningham said they are "coping as well as can be expected."

"It's been very difficult on them," Cunningham said, adding that the family is "very appreciative of people's concerns and sympathy."

"It makes them feel very good that there are so many people who have expressed condolences," she said.

Cunningham said her son Sam was very good friends with Nolen and the two discussed going into the military. Sam Cunningham is stationed in Hawaii with the Army.

"This is the first close friend he's lost to the war," Cunningham said of her son.

She added Nolen was "just a really good kid."

"This is what he wanted to do with his life - he wanted to be a Marine," Cunningham said.

Nolen joined the Marine Corps in November 2007. He was an infantryman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force and was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

In December 2009, he was promoted to corporal. He was deployed to Afghanistan in March.

Nolen's awards from the military include the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

"Wisconsin is extraordinarily grateful for the service and sacrifice of Cpl. Michael Nolen," Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement this week. "As our nation heads into a holiday weekend, Cpl. Nolen's death is a reminder of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us, who won't be with their friends and family. We are honored by the service of those in uniform, particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice."

Marine Cpl. Michael C. Nolen was killed in action on 6/27/11.

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