Courage Under Fire
I’ve got a remarkable story of bravery and heroism in Fallujah for you today.
“We were moving down the street, clearing buildings,” [Marine First Sergeant Brad] Kasal recounted. “A Marine came out wounded from a building and said there were three more wounded Marines trapped in there with a bunch of bad guys (insurgents). As we entered, we noticed several dead Iraqis on the floor and one of our wounded.”
Kasal said there was no question of what to do. “If I was a general I would still think my job was to get the wounded Marines out of there,” he said. “So we went in to get them.”
As soon as he entered the two-story stucco and brick building, Kasal found himself in mortal combat…
While Kasal and a young Pfc. Alexander Nicoll were taking out the insurgent behind the wall, another one with an AK hiding on the stairs to the second floor began firing at the Marines on full automatic. “That’s when I went down, along with one of my Marines (Nicoll). Then I noticed the hand grenade.”
Sgt. Kasal shielded the wounded Nicoll from the grenade’s blast with his own body — and then, stunned and wounded on the ground, took out his sidearm and laid by Pfc. Nicoll for forty minutes, exchanging fire with insurgents (and getting shot again in the process), to protect him until a rescue team arrived.
When Kasal got to Landstuhl hospital in Germany, they found he had taken seven gunshot wounds (five in the right leg, which he may lose, one in the foot and one in the butt) and up to 40 pieces of shrapnel from the exploding grenade. He’s at Bethesda Naval Hospital now, recovering.
And Pfc. Nicoll? He lost his leg – but he survived.
Sgt. Kasal has been nominated for the Medal of Honor — the highest honor a soldier can receive. He’d be the first Marine to win one since Vietnam. I’d say he deserves it.