Marine Security Guard Battalion's Sgt. Manual G. Matos
the Bronze Star medal with combat “V” Tuesday at the
Matos, an administration clerk, was awarded for his
during his tour in Saudi Arabia at the U.S. consulate in the city of
On Dec. 6, 2004, Matos was the Marine security guard on
duty at Post
1, in charge of internal security. Five heavily armed al-Qaeda
terrorists attacked the consulate at 11:17 a.m., with the intent of
taking American lives. Matos instantly activated the building's
magnetic door security system after hearing the main gate's alarm and
the sounds of weapons firing.
Matos was able to observe the compound through security
order to locate the terrorists. The attackers then attempted to break
into the building through the front and rear doors by spraying the
doors with AK-47 gunfire. Matos' quick actions denied them entry and
saved the lives of the nearly 150 U.S. employees inside the consulate.
“This sergeant's performance tells me something
important about the
way we prepare MSG students here,” said Col. David Head, MSG Bn.
commander. “It is good to know how confidently he reacted when
in harm's way, as he was. It tells me the security training we are
doing back here, as far as preparing these Marines for there jobs, is
“I have told others who have asked this
before,” Matos said. “The
thing that kept me focused and kept me calm was repeating to myself,
am a Marine, I can handle this.' It is what it really boils down to.
After I locked the compound down, the terrorists made it back to the
front door but still couldn't open it. I was able to engage the tear
gas canisters at the front door, which kept them away from the hatches
and prevented them from detonating an explosive device.”
Matos said the Americans were safe and secure. He
consoled some of
the startled employees by telling them not to worry, because they would
have to get through the Marines first. “It calmed a lot of them
“I truly believe in the Marine Corps and the
spirit of the Corps,”
Matos said. “That switch that allowed me to handle the situation
flipped in Parris Island. It was instilled from the first days in boot
camp. As far as the MSG training, we definitely got it right here at
Matos said he was totally confident that the other
Marines who were
involved with countering the attack had his life in their hands and
that their lives were equally in his.
“Being in the MSG program is an awesome
responsibility,” Matos said.
“Especially knowing we are keeping Americans safe on the front