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Cpl. Ethan Nagel, a Prior Lake, Minn. native, receives the Silver Star from Brigadier General James S. Hartsell, commanding general of the 4th Marine Division, Dec. 17, for his actions in Afghanistan.

Photo by Cpl. Martin Egnash

Prior Lake, Minn. native receives Silver Star

20 Dec 2013 | Cpl. Martin Egnash 9th Marine Corps District

Prior Lake, Minn. native Cpl. Ethan Nagel, was awarded the Silver Star, Dec. 17, for his actions in Afghanistan.

Nagel was awarded the Silver Star for bravery in actions against an opposing armed force in Afghanistan in July, 2009. 

“It’s an honor to be nominated for the Silver Star, and even more so to receive it,” said Nagel. “Honestly, the men who were there fighting with me deserve this just as much as I do. They did an amazing job.”

At the time, Nagel served as a military advisor to the Afghanistan National Army, while in 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. During a humanitarian mission, he, U.S. Special Forces and trained Afghani soldiers were ambushed by a superior enemy force. 

During a prolonged firefight where Nagel was wounded by shrapnel, Special Forces soldier Doug Vose was shot in the chest. Nagel gave up his position to initially provide aid to Vose and then defended him from Taliban fighters trying to capture him.

At one point in the fighting Nagel was witnessed applying pressure to Vose’s chest while simultaneously defending him with his pistol. 

When the medical evacuation came, Nagel defended the helicopter during its descent and takeoff. Vose was airlifted out of the battlefield, but later died of his wounds.

For his heroism on the battlefield, Nagel was awarded the Silver Star.

“You don’t strive to receive the Silver Star, because it is due to such harsh circumstances,” said Nagel. “I would trade it all in for the friends that I’ve lost.”

Brig. Gen. James S. Hartsell, commanding general of the 4th Marine Division, presented the award to Nagel.

“He (Nagel) was not going to let the Taliban capture Vose,” said Hartsell. “And that’s exactly what they were trying to do.”

Nagel was discharged from the Marine Corps in November 2009 and has since joined the Minnesota National Guard.

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