Flags lowered to half-staff in Wisconsin for U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Michael C. Nolen
Date: July 8, 2011
Flags at Wisconsin National Guard armories, air bases and other facilities across the state will fly at half-staff Saturday (July 9) in honor of U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Michael C. Nolen of Spring Valley, Wis., who lost his life while serving his country in Afghanistan. The Guard will render these honors in accordance with an executive order issued by Gov. Scott Walker.
UPDATED Wednesday, June 29, 2011 — 6:50 a.m.
SPRING VALLEY, Wis. (AP) — A Marine from western Wisconsin has been killed in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Department of Defense says 22-year-old Cpl. Michael Nolen of Spring Valley died Monday while conducting combat operations in Helmand Province.
Nolen was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
No other details were immediately released. Nolen’s mother, Judith, says his family does not wish to comment at this time.
“He changed anyone and everyone’s life around him in Spring Valley. He did so much and just probably wasn’t even aware of it,” Sarah Friberg remembered.
Friends and community members remember Cpl. Michael C. Nolen after he was recently killed during combat operations in Afghanistan.
There’s no doubt Mike Nolen will be missed.
“I don’t know if anyone really disliked him. He wasn’t fake. He was someone who was who he was and you got what you got with him, but it worked for everyone,” Friberg said.
Sarah Friberg will never forget her good friend Cpl. Michael Nolen.
“He could mesh anywhere. He could be with anyone. He could hang out with anyone,” she said.
It seems no one else who knew him will forget either.
“He would come back here when he was home on leave. He’d come in in uniform to visit with his teachers, visit with his friends who were still here,” High School Principal at Spring Valley High School Gretchen Cipriano said.
In this tight-knit community, people say they’re thankful for his service.
“It’s just obviously a tragedy whenever you lose anybody in a small town,” Matt Huepfel of Spring Valley said.
Cpl. Nolen died Monday in Afghanistan where he was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
“He had always said he wanted to do something and he wanted to make a difference for people and I guess that was the way he felt he could do it best,” Friberg said.
Friends say he was proud of his decision to be a marine and serve our country.
“He definitely changed lives around here. He changed lives around people he met and did the ultimate sacrifice,” she added.
Mike Nolen graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2007.
He is the third Wisconsin member of the military to die this month in Afghanistan.
NEWS RELEASE — The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wis., died June 27 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
GOVERNOR WALKER’S STATEMENT:
Madison – Governor Walker issued the following statement today on the death of Cpl. Michael Nolen of Spring Valley.
“Wisconsin is extraordinarily grateful for the service and sacrifice of Cpl. Michael Nolen. 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.”
Enrolling just for his senior year in fall 2006 after getting his previous schooling elsewhere, Michael C. Nolen was the new kid at Spring Valley High School.
That’s often a daunting prospect for a student, but Principal Gretchen Cipriano said it didn’t bother Nolen and he quickly took to his classmates and teachers.
“It was, in his words, no problem,” the high school principal recalled of a conversation she had with Nolen about taking classes for the first time at the 211-student high school.
In just one year, Nolen, who had been a Spring Valley student for a few years of elementary school, became well liked by fellow students and the staff.
“Everybody would just describe him as nice,” Cipriano said.
He even occasionally returned to school after his 2007 graduation to visit teachers, wearing his neatly pressed U.S. Marine Corps uniform.
“He was very proud to be a Marine,” Cipriano said.
A couple of months after graduating in a class of 52 students, Nolen enlisted in the Marines. By December 2009, he had worked his way up to the rank of corporal.
Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, died Monday from wounds received in battle in Helmand province, Afghanistan, according to a news release from the Second Marine Division.
The division’s media office declined to release other details of Nolen’s injuries or tour of service because of operational security.
He began his first deployment in March in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Nolen served as an infantryman in the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, which is based out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Nolen was doing what he wanted to do, being a soldier, said Jean Cunningham, whose own son was friends with Nolen. In 2007 Nolen also worked for Cunningham, who owns Crystal Cave in Spring Valley.
“Mike was a great kid,” Cunningham said. “It’s just incredibly tragic for his family and friends.”
On Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker issued a statement thanking Nolen for his service and acknowledging all others serving abroad.
“Wisconsin is extraordinarily grateful for the service and sacrifice of Cpl. Michael Nolen,” the governor said.
Nolen’s family declined comment following his death.
Though Cipriano only knew Nolen for a year, she said the small school feels his loss and offers condolences to his family.
The Spring Valley High School yearbook shows Nolen running cross country and also playing a part in the school play, “Honeymoon at Graveside Manor.”
His role in the play: the sheriff.
HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN — Corporal Michael Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wisconsin died Monday, June 27, 2011 from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. Nolen was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Nolen graduated from Spring Valley High School in 2007. His parents are Timothy and Judith Nolen of Spring Valley.
Memorial services will be on Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Teens For Christ, 538 Old Highway 35, Hudson.