Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Jean P. Medlin dies of 'wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle'

A 27-year-old soldier from Trussville was one of six U.S. soldiers killed Saturday in a roadside bombing in Baghdad, according to the Department of Defense.

Sgt. Jean Paul Medlin joined the Army after having served as a Marine.

Tommy Tyler met Medlin in the second grade and the two later served together as Marines.

After they left the service, Medlin moved to Pelham and enrolled in Jefferson State Community College, Tyler said. But when the United States invaded Iraq, Medlin felt compelled to rejoin the military.

"He just couldn't take it anymore; he had to go," Tyler said. "He wanted to fight for his country on the front lines."

Medlin's father, Ronnie Medlin, said his son tried to rejoin the Marines, but chose the Army to serve in combat.

Sgt. Medlin, who had been a Marine sniper, was a skilled soldier and would have survived the bombing, his father says, had he not been in a vehicle.

"If he had been on foot it never would have happened; he was smart tactically," his father said.

Jeff Hendrix, a former teammate of Medlin's, said Medlin seemed to prefer military service to civilian life. "He seemed happy being around his family and all, but he didn't seem as happy," Hendrix said.

He put all of his heart into his military service, Medlin's sister, Silvia Medlin, said.

During his military career, Medlin obtained several medals, including the Kosovo Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Global War on Terror (Service) Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the NATO Medal.

Medlin went to Iraq in October with members of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas.

Others who died in the roadside bombing: Staff Sgt. Christopher Moore, 28, of Alpaugh, Calif.; Spc. David W. Behrle, 20, of Tipton, Iowa; Spc. Joseph A. Gilmore, 26, of Webster, Fla.; Pfc. Travis F. Haslip, 20, of Ooltewah, Tenn.; and Pfc. Alexander R. Varela, 19, of Fernley, Nev.

Funeral arrangements had not been made as of Tuesday, Tyler said, but Medlin will likely receive a Marine send-off.

"He died as an Army soldier, but he always said he wanted to be remembered as a Marine," Tyler said.

From the Birmingham News