Monday, May 29, 2006

It's a day for heroes

MKH linked last week to the story of US Marine Brian Chontosh, winner of the US Navy Cross for his actions on March 25, 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom:

While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalitions tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone.

He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advanced directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.

He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack.

When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers.

When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.

I remember reading about this upon his first receiving the award and being amazed that one man with some determination and smarts could accomplish such a thing while so outnumbered. I wished then--and still now--that more of these stories were being told.

As a culture we can't forget our heroes. Heroes show us the best of ourselves.

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