EAST CHICAGO| Staff Sgt. Mindo D. Estrella, platoon commander, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, was recently honored for his dedication to his country by retired Col. Jay R. Vargas, after he received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal during an award ceremony at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Feb. 21.
Vargas, who earned distinction while serving with 2nd Bn., 4th Marines in Vietnam, also congratulated Estrella for receiving the prestigious Sergeant Major Joseph J. Ellis Leadership Award. Estrella, a 31-year-old native of East Chicago, Indiana, recently completed an eight-month deployment to Okinawa, Japan, as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
During his time in Japan, Estrella trained his Marines rigorously in martial arts and leadership. He received greater responsibilities than usual for his rank, and his current position is typically filled by a commissioned officer. During his career, Estrella deployed three times to Iraq, twice to Okinawa and once to Afghanistan. He is a recipient of the Purple Heart, Navy Commendation Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals with combat V for valor, and three Good Conduct Medals.