In 2003, Sgt. Popaditch, along with 1st Tank Battalion, rolled into Baghdad from Kuwait at the start of the Iraq War. They had just taken the city and the tank that Sgt. Popaditch was in had rolled up to a 40-ft statue of Saddam. I think we all remember that statue. Popaditch was given a cigar by a fellow Marine and as he smoked it an AP photographer snapped a picture of him.
Fast forward to April 7, 2004. Sgt. Popaditch's wife was vacationing with their son when she received a phone call informing her that her husband had been injured in an attack. The turret of his tank, that he was situated in, had taken two direct hits from RPG's. He fell through the hatch to the floor of the tank. As he struggled to his feet, he began to shout orders to his men but go no response. He then realized that the attack had caused him to go deaf in both ears. But that was only temporary. He then reached up and felt that his head was wet and knew it wasn't good.
In the aftermath of the attack, Gunnery Sgt. Nick Popaditch had lost his right eye. And because of that he now proudly wears a prosthetic eye with the Marine Corps. logo embossed on it. On November 10, 2005 Gunnery Sgt. Nick Popaditch was awarded the Silver Star, the nation's third-highest award for heroism in combat. He also has a book out titled Once A Marine.
The Gunny has a website here: http://cigarmarine.com/
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives
so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday.
For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
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