Historical Item

Sgt. Manual G. Matos
Clerk Awarded Bronze Star for Valor

For Latest Updates
on this site!
What's New

MEGA Main Page

Posts: USEMB Jeddah,  Saudi Arabia Author: Cpl Justin P. Lago
Marine Security Guard Battalion
Source:  Marine Security Guard Bn Website

Marine Master Sgt. Christobal D. Cowan, operations chief for 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, received this 8-foot-by-5-foot flag during his tour as a Marine security guard at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile. He has taken his flag on every deployment since receiving it. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

Marine Security Guard Battalion's Sgt. Manual G. Matos was awarded the Bronze Star medal with combat “V” Tuesday at the battalion headquarters building.

Matos, an administration clerk, was awarded for his brave actions during his tour in Saudi Arabia at the U.S. consulate in the city of Jeddah.

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 cameras in 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 placed 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 adequate.”

“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, ‘I 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 down.”

“I truly believe in the Marine Corps and the spirit of the Corps,” Matos said. “That switch that allowed me to handle the situation was 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 the school.”

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 lines.”


Sgt Manual G. Matos  Bronze Star - USEMB Jeddah Saudi Arabia
Item Type
Historical Item
Item Number
Location of Master
MSG Bn Website

  MSG Detachments

Historical Committee
HI_Template.html V2.0