After Iwo Jima, Admiral Nimitz described the heroism exhibited by the Marines in his famous quote, “where uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
That virtue still exists in today’s Marines. As evidence, let me take you to Fallujah in 2004, when a dozen insurgents ambushed a squad of Marines during house clearing operations, injuring four of them. Sgt. Maj. Kasal (at the time a 1st Sgt) and several others ran toward the firefight and entered the building amid the confusion. Kasal grabbed one of the wounded to pull him out of the line of fire, and was hit several times. Because they were pinned down and both men now had life-threatening wounds, Kasal gave his medical supplies to the other Marine to save his life. In his words, â€œIt made more sense to use all of the bandages on one of us than to split the supplies and have us both bleed to death.â€ (Defend America)
Then came the grenade. Kasal rolled on top of the other Marine, shielding him with his own body and taking approximately 40 shrapnel wounds in the process.
Eventually, the two Marines were pulled out, and the insurgents eliminated. One Marine died and a dozen more were injured in the fight. Kasal had been shot seven times, absorbed a grenade, and lost 60 percent of his blood – but he survived. He received a Navy Cross for his actions.
Fallujah is better now. It is safer and more prosperous thanks to the day-to-day heroism and sacrifices of Sgt. Maj. Kasal and countless others like him.
“It is good to be reminded that there are such men, that there always have been and always will be. We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line.” (quote by Sgt. John Ellery in “D-Day” by Stephen Ambrose)
Sgt. Maj. Kasal is one of those men. He is our hero of the week.
See the article in Defenselink for the complete story.
A fascinating audio interview with Sgt. Maj. Kasal can be heard here.