If you ever get down, here is an instant pick-me-up. Go to the DOD website called “DefenseLink“, and click on the heroes section. Once there you will find yourself surrounded by stories of inspiration and hope. You will read about ordinary Americans who have done extraordinary things in defense of our country.
You will read tales that provide the rest of the world with a glimpse of what makes us unique. Our troops are brutally effective in battle, but in an instant can show compassion to those who need it. That’s what makes them different.
Case in point: SFC Ed Malone. In 2005, “the 3rd Platoon, Grim Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, was conducting a joint combat patrol with the Iraqi Army in the extremely hostile Surai district of Talâ€™Afar, Iraq, when Maloneâ€™s dismounted patrol came under withering enemy machine gun fire, RPG fire and hand grenades.” (DefenseLink)
Malone organized his men into a defensive posture and began fighting back. He exposed himself to enemy fire several times during the fight – to retrieve equipment that had been dropped, to drag a wounded Soldier to safety, and to evacuate women and children caught in the crossfire.
Not only did his troops hold, they began to take the offensive. He and two of his men attacked a house from which small arms fire had originated. They cleared the courtyard with a grenade, and in the process wounded one of the insurgents.
This is where we are different. SFC Malone could have left him there – fighting still raged around them. But he didn’t. He stopped to apply life-saving first aid to the man who had been trying to kill him just minutes before. Then, while bullets flew, he evacuated the wounded man – and in the process Sergeant Malone was shot in the foot.
He later told DefenseLink, “As per the laws of warfare outlined in the Geneva Conventions, once an enemy combatant is captured, it is our responsibility to provide care and protection as we would like the same treatment if the roles were reversed.â€
Don’t count on it, Sergeant Malone. There is a saying that character is when you do the right thing when no one is looking. That’s what you displayed when you didn’t have to – character. And that’s how Americans are different. Theodore Roosevelt perhaps said it more clearly: “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”
Sergeant First Class Malone is our hero of the week.
For the complete DefenseLink article and some on-air interviews, click here.