DesertExile: If you don't know the Culture, You would not understand

13 February 2006

If you don't know the Culture, You would not understand

The Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant in the picture is Michael Burghard, part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team that is supporting 2nd Brigade 28th Infantry Division (Pennsylvania Army National Guard).

Leading the fight is Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as "Iron Mike" or just "Gunny". He is on his third tour in Iraq. He had become a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs 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 US soldiers. 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 5ft deep and 8ft 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 7in 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. At 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 colleagues 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.' As 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." He 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 Col John Gronski, the brigade commander in Ramadi, who has hailed the image as an exemplar 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.

While Sgt. Burghardt spent over three weeks recuperating at his unit's headquarters — days he described as "among the most difficult of his career" — he proclaimed that despite his injuries, he was not looking for a ticket out of the country — the incident occurred during his third deployment to Iraq, and he stated that he planned to see plenty more action: "I don't want a ticket out. I want to stay here so we can take as many people home as possible. I'll do 30 years, as long as I'm having fun. Unless I die."

If you are into this culture, you do not let things stop you. You have the mindset that you can keep going. Go to

As it says there:" Everyone gets knocked down but the tough get up. Marines know that victory comes not from being the strongest or fastest, but from THE REFUSAL TO FAIL"

Every day, when you go out, it is a mind thing. Yes you put on your gear and your uniform. But you also put on your mental shield. You set your mind so that a injury like a blister or a stomachache is blocked out. You set your mind so that you KNOW that anything that comes your way , you can KICK ITS ASS, or if need be, KILL IT.
You WILL NOT settle for Second Best. Domination or victory is the only option.


At February 13, 2006 10:09 PM, Blogger dyzgoneby said...

I saw this awhile back. I love it. This says everything about the Marine.....Sniper is just like that Marine, he's already back on duty, ran a mission today and gimping along at the same time.


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