Sunday, November 18, 2007

Book Review ~ My Men Are My Heroes

My Men Are My Heroes

The Brad Kasal Story

-as told to Nathaniel R Helms

When Brad Kasal was carried out of the 'house of hell' in Fallujah by LCpl Chris Marquez and LCpl Dan Shaffer, on Novemver 13, 2004, he had lost approximately 60 percent of his blood from more that 40 shrapnel wounds and seven 7.62mm AK-47 gunshots. The men had to put down their weapons to carry Kasal out, but Kasal came out armed, ready to protect them if need be. Lucian M Reed, an AP photographer, took the above photo which has become a symbol of the perservetance, heroism, valor, honor and fortitude of the United States Marine Corps and the rest of our military troops.

This book is a journey through Brad Kasal's life and through the streets of Fallujah, into the 'house of hell' to rescue his pinned down Marines. It is also an insight into the mind of a leader of men, a warrior, a Marine. The section dealing with the assault on Fallujah and the time in the 'house of hell' gave me sweaty palms with the intensity of the situation. The book does a remarkable job explaining who the enemy is and how they fight - and, how we fight.

Brad Kasal, while leading from the front, a position he is most comfortable in, led an assault on a house where Marines were pinned down. During the fight, Kasal was hit by direct fire and used his body to absorb the blast of a grenade, shielding a wounded Marine. He later won a Navy Cross for his actions (Hero to Remember: Sgt Maj Brad Kasal).

This is a moving description of the "tip of the spear" - a place most of us would never want to be, but thankfully, we have men like SGT Major Brad Kasal there keeping the rest of us safe and free. This book is graphic and hard to read in some places, but I have no doubt that it is honest to the reality. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about the battle for Fallujah.

Sgt Major Brad Kasal wrote a remarkable Epilogue to the book. He tells us that he wrote the book to counter the lack of information in the news.

The biased media have made an impression on the American citezens and the terrorists themselves. Every time the media give airtime to a protestor, it gives another victory to the terrorists rather than to the protestors. And people believe what they read in the paper because it is all the information they have to go on. One time while I was at dinner with a few friends a lady approached me and asked what happened to my leg. At that point, I looked like something out of horror movie and was in a wheelchair. At first she was very conderned. But as soon as I told her I was in the military and injured overseas, she began to go into a long antimilitary tirade about how we don't need a military, and how there's never a reason for a war, and all the service members are dying unnecessarily. Biting back my anger for all the fine men who gave the ultimate sacrifice that she just dishonored, I simply replied with "Ma'am, you're very welcome; I'm sure what you meant to say was 'thank you' to myself and all the other service members who have made sacrifices to give you the freedom to openly make whatever statement you desire."

I'll be the first to say, as I've seen it numerous times firsthand, that war is an ugly thing. But sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in. We are facing a worldwide enemy who has only one agenda: the complete annihilation of the American way of life. and that enemy will stop at nothing short of that goal.

Freedom has never come free. Whatever your beliefs or political stance, our young service members of all branches are performing remarkably and making a difference. In Iraq combat was only a small part of our overall role. Military service members performed countless humanitarian projects ranging from large-scale items -- such as building new schools, hospitals, and community services -- to everyday things as small as handing out candy and pencils to children or helping a farmer with a flat tire.

These valiant young men are helping to bring freedom to a country that was previously without it. They are constantly facing the dangers of IEDs, suicide bombers, and ambushes while they capture or kill terrorists who have no regard for human life.

Many people are amazed that I whis to return overseas as soon as I'm healthy again. But serving my country is where my heart is. It is my wish that the American media would show the true and complete story of what is really going on overseas and tell the story of how our service members are performing selfless acts of heroism and helping to bring freedom and a better way of life to a country.

Sgt Major Brad Kasal dedicated the book "to the memory of the members of 3d Battalion, 1st Marines who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the fight for Fallujah." I am listing their names here ~ may we honor them all.

Headquarters and Service Company

SSgt Russell L Slay
SSgt Trevor L Spink
Sgt Krisna Nachampassak
Cpl Bradley T Arms
Cpl Nicanor A Alverez
Cpl Terry Holmes
LCpl Louis W Qualls
LCpl James E Swain
PFC Christopher J Reed

Weapons- George Company

Sgt Byron W Norwood
Cpl Brian Oliveira
Cpl Steven Rintamaki
LCpl Joshua W Dickinson
LCpl Abraham Simpson

Kilo Company

Sgt Christoper T Heflin
Sgr Morgan W Strader
LCpl Jeramy A Ailes
LCpl Juan E Segura

India Company

Cpl Dale A Burger, Jr
LCpl Justin D McLeese
LCpl andres H Perez
LCpl Phillip G West
PFC Fernando B Hannon
PFC Geoffrey Perez

Lima Company

Sgt Juan Calderon, Jr
Sgt William C James
Cpl Theodore A Bowling
LCpl Benjamin S Bryan
LCpl Lusi A Figueroa
LCpl Michael W Hanks
LCpl Nicholas D Larson
LCpl Nathan R Wood


Sarge Charlie said...

That is my kind of soldier, fight to the very end, hooyea

Buck said...

Thanks for this, FG. Your links are SO very useful, not to mention informative. And I appreciate both.

Ron Simpson said...

Sgt Major Brad Kasal says war is an ugly thing. And he is right. The only thing I can think of that would be uglier is losing that war. A life without the freedoms we hold dear would not be much of a life at all. It angers me to no end that the liberals of this country want us to lose this war.

Flag Gazer said...

Ron - I believe that it angers men like Brad Kasal and Marcus Luttrell, as well...