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"If something goes bad in Iraq, the press focuses on it and everybody sees it. But sometimes they don't see all the good things that are getting better." (Video Interview, 21:25)

   Joseph Valentino Medina
Collection image
Joseph Medina [2007]
War: Peacekeeping forces--Bosnia and Hercegovina; Operation Joint Guardian, 1999-; Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Marine Corps; Marine Corps; Marine Corps
Unit: 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment; Headquarters, US European Command (EUCOM); Headquarters, US European Command (EUCOM); 3rd Marine Regiment; Expeditionary Strike Group Three (ESG 3); Task Force 58; Task Force 79; 3rd Marine Division
Service Location: California; Hawaii; Virginia; North Carolina; Okinawa, Japan; Italy; Germany; Bosnia; also: Germany; Kosovo; also: Persian Gulf; Iraq
Rank: Colonel; Brigadier General
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Following in the military tradition of his family dating to the 15th century in Spain and later in Mexico, Joseph Medina entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1972. He worked his way through the ranks, starting out as a platoon commander in charge of forty Marines. By 1995, he was a battalion commander, deploying with his Marines to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for Operation Sea Signal, housing and caring for 15,000 refugees. During the Bosnia and Kosovo conflicts, he acted as the chief planning officer for the U.S. European Command. In 2003, Medina was promoted to Brigadier General, one of the first Hispanics to hold the rank in the U.S. Marine Corps. More recently, he commanded the Expeditionary Strike Group Three during Operation Iraqi Freedom, during which he was responsible for developing the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force. This experience and others allowed him to see first hand not only the deterioration of the Iraqi infrastructure under Saddam's regime, but also the challenges faced due to our cultural differences. In contrast, he also saw the many positive changes being made around the country due to the Marines' efforts.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (30 min.)
More like this
»Hispanics in Service
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Learning to command more and more people as he rose up the ranks. (02:59) Area of responsibility; dealing with incursions on oil platforms; Battle of Najaf and reconstruction efforts there; responsibility for Tomahawk Land Attack Missile strike missions. (01:41) Developing the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force and the difficulties encountered due to cultural differences. (01:45)
Deterioration of the Iraqi oil infrastructure due to government neglect and greed. (01:17) Negative media coverage of the U.S. effort in Iraq, despite improvements being made. (01:32) 

Home » Joseph Valentino Medina
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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