Nicholas Aaron Madrazo
First Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 763-08
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
First Lieutenant Nicholas A. Madrazo, 25, of Bothell, Washington, died September 9, 2008, while supporting combat operations in Parwan province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment - 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
For additional background information on this
Marine, news media representatives may contact the Okinawa public affairs
office at 011-81-611-745-0790 or OkinawaPAO@usmc.mil.
BOTHELL, Washington - Nicholas A. Madrazo used to dress up as a solider for Halloween.
As a boy, he drafted his younger brothers and cousins to play war.
In 2002, he put on a uniform for real and became a U.S. Marine.
While returning from a patrol in Parwan province, Afghanistan, on Tuesday, Madrazo, 25, was killed when Taliban fighters detonated a roadside bomb. Another Marine (Captain Jesse Melton III), a Navy corpsman and a Afghan translator also perished in the attack.
"Nic loved what he was doing," his uncle, Oliver Feeback, said Thursday. "He believed in what he was doing, and Nic gave the ultimate sacrifice for his family, friends and his country."
As a tribute, fellow Marines and others in his military family lined the streets of Bagram Air Base as Madrazo's body was taken to a transport plane for the long flight back to the States.
Madrazo's commanding officer told his mother by phone that Marines stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghan troops, French soldiers and local Afghans who had come to know the Bothell man. The hymn "Amazing Grace" was played.
"It was a very powerful send-off," said Jenny Madrazo, his mother.
Madrazo, a first lieutenant, was assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force based in Okinawa, Japan.
On Thursday, his brothers, sister, cousins and many friends joined his parents in the living room of their Bothell home to share stories.
"This whole community loved Nic," Jenny Madrazo said.
He played soccer at Bothell High School and received a degree in business from Seattle Pacific University.
Madrazo volunteered to go to Afghanistan as part of his conviction that Marines help their comrades, his mother said.
"He wanted to go. He wanted to serve that way," she said.
He arrived in Afghanistan in March and his work included training Afghan troops, said his father, Joel Madrazo. In addition to patrolling villages looking for Taliban insurgents, Madrazo also worked on development projects, building roads and helping villagers.
"He saw the other side of being a soldier," Joel Madrazo said.
He told his family about the joy he found in giving candy to Afghan children. Later, after learning about the lack of dental care, he worried about the children getting cavities and started giving them pens, pencils and paper.
"He cared about the people there," his mom said. "The kids were really excited to see Nic."
At home, Nic was the oldest of four siblings and 17 cousins who all live in the Bothell area. Extended relatives and more cousins span the globe.
He lived to tell jokes, impersonate movie stars and bring smiles to the faces of the people he loved.
"There was never a sullen moment with him around," his aunt, Jocelyn d'Ahmed, said.
Madrazo was a driven competitor.
Jared Madrazo said he was afraid to beat his older brother at the video game "Halo," fearing his reward for winning would be a solid, but loving, punch in the arm.
"Losing was unacceptable to him," Jared Madrazo, 20, said.
Sheena Bredice, 25, begged her 10th-grade English teacher to allow her to sit next to Madrazo. She had a huge crush on him, she said.
They became close friends, and he took her to the senior prom.
"He's truly going to be missed," Bredice said.
Madrazo was a great listener and a good friend, said Beth Flansburg, 25, who grew up near the family and went on to college with Madrazo.
"He wanted to make things better for people," she said.
The family learned Tuesday of the death. On Thursday, their emotions were still raw, Joel Madrazo said. "Like many parents losing a loved one, it's up and down."
A memorial service is being planned for later this month. A burial is being scheduled at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
"We think he'd be honored to be buried there," Jared Madrazo said.
Defense Department officials have told the family that Madrazo will receive a Purple Heart.
For now, his family is taking comfort in their faith in Jesus and their belief that Madrazo is in a better place.
"He's in Heaven," Feeback, his uncle, said. "We will see him again there."
Marine Reached Beyond His Mission
1st Lieutenant Wanted to Improve Lives of Afghans
By Mark Berman
Courtesy Of The Washington Post
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Marine First Lieuetnant Nicholas A. Madrazo volunteered to go to Afghanistan because he wanted to serve and make a difference, his family said. He immersed himself in the country's culture, delighting in bringing smiles to Afghan children's faces with trinkets he asked his parents to send him from home.
Madrazo, 25, of Bothell, Washington, was killed September 9, 2008, by a roadside bomb in Parwan province, according to the Defense Department.
He was laid to rest yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery. More than 60 friends and family members attended the service.
"Nic loved what he was doing," his uncle, Oliver Feeback, told the Daily Herald of Everett, Washington "He believed in what he was doing, and Nic gave the ultimate sacrifice for his family, friends and his country."
A Marine Corps band playing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" guided mourners along the north side of Section 60 at the cemetery to Madrazo's gravesite, near a wreath rimmed with flowers representing the Marine colors of scarlet and gold.
A flag was presented to Madrazo's parents, Joel and Jenny Madrazo, by Captain Michael McTeague, who shook the hands of family members seated in the front row.
Madrazo was assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Okinawa, Japan.
"The command is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Nicholas Madrazo," Colonel Thomas A. Gorry, the regiment's commanding officer, said in a statement. "He was both well respected and admired by his fellow Marines. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Madrazo joined the Marine Corps in 2005 and arrived in Okinawa in July 2007. A communications officer, he was promoted to 1st lieutenant in May 2007 and deployed to Afghanistan in March. Among the awards he received were the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.
"When he got to Afghanistan, he immersed himself in the culture," Madrazo's father told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "His job was to go to villages and meet with tribal leaders to find out what their needs were -- one was paving the surrounding of a mosque. He loved working, having that kind of responsibility."
Madrazo asked his parents to send him paper, pencils and pens as gifts for children he met. His father said he wanted to send the message that soldiers had other jobs to do, such as "trying to improve the lives of the local people."
Madrazo was the 504th member of the military killed in Iraq or Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington Cemetery. He was killed in the same incident that killed Capt. Jesse Melton III, a Maryland Marine buried last week at Arlington.
Melton's mother, Janice Chance, attended Madrazo's funeral. She stood behind Madrazo's parents, placing her hands on their shoulders. After the burial, they walked together to Melton's grave, cemetery officials said.
A neighbor who had known Madrazo since they were 7, Beth Flansburg, created a Facebook page, according to the Bothell Reporter. "In Memory of Nic Madrazo" had nearly 700 members. "He was loved by many," Flansburg wrote. "He was a good son, brother, cousin, friend,neighbor and Marine. His smile and laugh were contagious."
MADRAZO, NICHOLAS AARON
Posted: 24 September 2008 Updated: 25 September 2008 Updated: 26 February 2009 Updated: 19 April 2009
Photos By Holly, April 2009
Photos By Holly, February 2009