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A Marine Major, Running Fool, and All-Around Smart-Ass.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Must Have Missed This On CNN



Brad Kasal, 39, grew up near Afton, in Union County. Kasal has been a Marine for 20 years, including two tours in Iraq. Kasal was wounded Nov. 13, 2004, during a multiple-day military assault on insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq.During the battle, Kasal learned that three fellow Marines were wounded inside an enemy-controlled house. Kasal was shot seven times after leading his men into the house in an attempt to rescue the wounded Marines.He also suffered more than 40 shrapnel wounds when he used his body to shield a wounded Marine from a grenade explosion.



Receiving honors: Marine 1st Sgt. Brad Kasal, who grew up near Afton, gets a bit choked up after thanking the Legislature for approving resolutions in his honor. His father, Gerald, and mother, Myrna, watch their son at the Statehouse in Des Moines State lawmakers approve resolutions honoring Iowa native severely hurt rescuing fellow troops in Iraq

WILLIAM PETROSKI REGISTER STAFF WRITER
February 14, 2006

Brad Kasal, an Iowa native regarded as a hero for rescuing fellow Marines in Iraq, was choked with emotion Monday as he was honored by the Iowa Legislature.

"A lot of people ask why I did what I did. I'm a Marine. That's what I'm expected to do," Kasal told lawmakers.

Marine 1st Sgt. Kasal, 39, who grew up on a farm near Afton in southern Iowa, stood in his dress blues as resolutions were approved in the Iowa House and Senate that cited him for courage in combat and patriotic service. Watching proudly as lawmakers stood and applauded were about 20 friends and relatives, including his father, Gerald, and mother, Myrna.

Kasal, who joined the Marines after graduating from East Union High School in 1984, was shot seven times on Nov. 13, 2004, while leading a mission to rescue three wounded Marines in an insurgent-held house in Fallujah, Iraq. Also, he suffered more than 40 shrapnel wounds after he bear-hugged a fellow Marine to protect him from a grenade explosion. He killed one enemy fighter in an exchange of fire at point-blank range.

Kasal has spent the past months recuperating from his injuries, including bullet wounds that nearly required the amputation of his leg. He walked with a cane Monday afternoon at the Statehouse, and he admitted to still being in pain. But he added he's made progress toward recovery and recently ran about 50 feet for the first time since his injury. He exercises for six or seven hours a day, including physical therapy, 14-mile bicycle rides, stretching exercises and workouts with weights.

He is still on active duty with the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and has been selected for promotion to sergeant major. He said he hopes to remain in the Marines for several more years before retiring in Iowa.

Kasal's bravery in Iraq and gritty determination to recover from his wounds had already received national attention. A photo of the bloodied Kasal, still clutching his 9 mm handgun as he was helped by two fellow Marines from the Fallujah house, has been displayed on dozens of Internet sites. There has been repeated speculation that he is a candidate for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award, but Marine Corps officials have declined to comment.
Kasal's recognition on Monday was arranged by state Sen. Charles Larson Jr., a Cedar Rapids Republican who served a one-year tour in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserve. Larson is the founder of an organization known as Families United for Our Troops and Their Mission. He called Kasal one of Iowa's greatest heroes in the war on terrorism.

"This is a very humbling experience," Kasal said after Monday's honors. "I'm not used to standing ovations."


Thank you: Rep. Ro Foege, D-Mount Vernon, shakes hands with Kasal after the passing of a resolution in his honor. Kasal was wounded in Iraq while helping to rescue fellow Marines inside an insurgent-controlled house.

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13 Comments:

  • At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "A lot of people ask why I did what I did. I'm a Marine. That's what I'm expected to do"

    says it all.

    Semper Fi!
    Pam

     
  • At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Lily said…

    Okay -- in my (some might say exhaustive) reading about this war, I have come across that, and the photo is HOT in every sense of the word -- should become one of the signature photos we remember this war by, because there's nothing like it. The incredible thing is, heroism like his, as you know, is only symptomatic of what MANY have given in this war. It's incredible on every level. And he is just ONE of MANY amazing guys who have given their all like this. That photo is like none other. If you've read another great book like Fick's ;-) and that would be, "The Gift of Valor," by Michael M. Phillips, an embedded Wall Street Journal reporter, he tells the story of a Marine who was similiarly heroic, and who unfortunately also died in the process. Photos like this truly do tell the story, and humble us all as they should. Amazing.

     
  • At 7:28 PM, Blogger Jessica said…

    Thank God for our Marines. We love you guys! (And this is coming from a Coastie! ) :)

     
  • At 8:01 PM, Blogger Viper said…

    Humbling. Just friggin' humbling.

     
  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger O! said…

    That's amazing. Thank God we are protected by people like that.

     
  • At 5:07 AM, Blogger Killjoy said…

    Oh yeah, this battle is also featured in that book about Fallujah we were talking about "No True Glory." I just finished it. Holy. Crap.

     
  • At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Karla said…

    And I want to know why this picture isn't as well know as the one of the flag raising at the World Trades and the fireman holding the baby after OKC. The mainstream media only wants the bad stuff, not heros.

     
  • At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It was covered in the mainstream media, in March of 2005. At least NPR covered it fully, because here is the link to it, and it's a multipart series where they focused on what he did, and then his recovery from the wounds he sustained, and the guy he saved, etc.: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4525928

     
  • At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Karla said…

    Dear Anon, that's good, somehow I missed the coverage. I just get so tired of hearing about all the bad stuff (and admittedly, there's a LOT of bad stuff) and no so much about our heros and the rebuilding.

     
  • At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Homebody said…

    I missed this too. The NPR reporting is very impressive. Thanks for bringing this into the Blogosphere for all to see!

     
  • At 6:54 PM, Blogger GoldenBear said…

    I would like to reiterate how humbling it is reading about Sgt. Kasal. He defines the American spirit, honor and bravery. I know Sgt. Kasal simply believes he did what he was expected to do, however, few could have done what he did, or have the courage to do so.

    At a time when some lawmakers are criticizing our progress in Iraq, and seem to do everything they can to dispel any successes, I believe there are countless, heroic stories like that of Sgt. Kasal.

    I hope the critics take the time to learn of these heroes. These men embody the American soldier and what one man can do. Sgt. Kasal is just one man, but multiply his actions by the entire coalition force plus the Iraqi security forces, and the terrorist Iraqi insurgents simply do not stand a chance.

     
  • At 11:01 AM, Blogger Lola said…

    Thanks for the link to this story and the NPR link - I plan to forward to my friends and family who I'm sure missed this amazing story. I continue to search the net for these types of encouraging stories because so much on the media is negative on the War in Iraq. Mr. Kasal is truly an American hero and I am appreciative for all he and the other troops are doing to complete their mission in Iraq.

     
  • At 6:32 PM, Blogger andyw38 said…

    "That's what I'm expected to do" That really does explain it all. This Marine deserves all the honor and respect that this country can afford to give him.

    These types of stories rarely get reported anymore by the media. All we hear is the horrible tragedies going, I think we need to hear more of these heroic stories.

     

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