In the finest tradition "No greater friend, no worse enemy."
now famous 2nd Flag Raising, Iwo Jima, Japan, February 23, 1945.
The first place an invader's flag ever flew over Japanese home territory.
Keeping up with its finest traditions, U.S. Marine Corps
Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt salutes the enemy in Iraq.
Points To Ponder
of us wonder if our lives made any difference.
Marines don't have that problem." -- Ronald
true leader emerges only when their consciousness evolves to the
point where the individual 'me' becomes the collective 'we'."
-- Hari Singh
the fight in Iraq is U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt, known
as 'Iron Mike' or just 'Gunny'. He is on his third tour in Iraq. He
has become a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze
Star for disabling 64 IED's, Improvised Explosive Devices, and destroying
1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour.
Then, on September 19, he got blown up. He had arrived at a chaotic
scene after a bomb had killed four U.S. Marines. He chose not to wear
the bulky bomb protection suit. 'You can't react to any sniper fire
and you get tunnel-vision,' he explains. So, protected by just a helmet
and standard-issue flak jacket, he began what bomb disposal officers
term 'the longest walk', stepping gingerly into a 5 foot deep and
8 foot wide crater.
The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senao base station with a
wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his 7 inch knife to
probe the ground. 'I found a piece of red detonating cord between
my legs,' he says. 'That's when I knew I was screwed.' Realizing he
had been sucked into a trap, Sgt. Burghardt, 35, yelled at everyone
to stay back.
that moment, an insurgent, probably watching through binoculars, pressed
a button on his mobile phone to detonate the secondary device below
the sergeant's feet. 'A chill went up the back of my neck and then
the bomb exploded,' he recalls. 'As I was in the air I remember thinking,
'I don't believe they got me...' I was just ticked off they were able
to do it. Then I was lying on the road, not able to feel anything
from the waist down.'
His fellow Marines cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt.
None could believe his legs were still there 'My dad's a Vietnam vet
who's paralyzed from the waist down,' says Sgt. Burghardt. 'I was
lying there thinking I didn't want to be in a wheelchair next to my
dad and for him to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants
and I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled
my toes and I thought, 'Good, I'm in business.'
a stretcher was brought over, adrenaline and anger kicked in. 'I decided
to walk to the helicopter. I wasn't going to let my team-mates see
me being carried away on a stretcher.'
stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up a one-fingered
salute. 'I flipped them one. It was like, 'OK, I lost that round but
I'll be back next week.'
Copies of a photograph depicting his defiance, taken by Jeff Bundy
for the Omaha World-Herald, adorn the walls of homes across America
and that of Colonel John Gronski, the brigade commander in Ramadi,
who has hailed the image as exemplary of the warrior spirit.
Sgt. Burghardt's injuries - burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks
- kept him off duty for nearly a month and could have earned him a
ticket home. But, like his father - who was awarded a Bronze Star
and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam - he
stayed in Ramadi to engage in the battle against insurgents who are
forever coming up with more ingenious ways of killing Americans. Oorah!
Marine Corps Hero
Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller June
26, 1898 - October 11, 1971
personal decorations for combat, five Navy Crosses
(the nation's second highest award for valor), one Army Distinguished
Service Cross plus a long list of campaign medals, unit citation
and other awards. These achievements sum up the exemplary 37-year
career of one of the greatest Marine legends of all time: Lieutenant
General "Chesty" Puller. He began his Marine Corps career
"Horse Soldiers" in China, then on to four World War II
the Korean War, and expeditionary service in China, Nicaragua,
and Haiti. True to himself and the Corps, General Puller never was
one to mince words. "We're surrounded," he said during
"That simplifies the problem."
Semper Fi For all those who dared.
The Marine Corps Hymn
The most recognizable military hymn and the oldest official song in the U.S. Armed Forces, The Marines' Hymn is a reminder of the sacrifice and courage that Marines have shown on the battlefield. It is an important part of Marine Corps culture—every Marine can recite its three stanzas by heart.
From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean:
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.
Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By The United States Marines.
The Marine Corps Standard Lexicon
Sick Bay: Medical Office
Mess: Dining Area
Scuttlebutt: Water Fountain
The Marine Rifleman's Creed
This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
My rifle, without me, is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will…
My rifle and myself know that what counts in this war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit...
My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my rifle clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...
Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!