American Valor Quarterly Issue 3 - Summer 2008 - Page 24

I wondered what our enemy could have been thinking. They weren’t going to do anything to us with this small-arms fire. I knew we were going over to secure this bridge in five or ten minutes and nothing could stop us. Then the rest of the First Marine Division could push forward to Baghdad. Unfortunately it didn’t play out like that. As soon as the first RPG hit, we heard mortar rounds coming in at us and heavy machine guns. Artillery was striking down on us. We were getting hit for the left, the right, from behind, from the front and from above. About five minutes after the fight started, my platoon sergeant called over the intercom system: One of our ‘tracs got hit, number 211, the one right in front of me. Marines dodge sniper fire during the epic 2003 Battle of An Nasiriyah, There were hurt Marines, and instinctively I knew it was my job the toughest fight in the initial march toward Baghdad. The battle is to go out there and help them. In the three years before this chronicled in the book Marines in the Garden of Eden: The True Story of moment, I had never done what I considered to be my real job. Seven Bloody Days in Iraq by Richard S. Lowry. This was my time to show my guys that I knew what I was By March 23, 2003 in An Nasiriyah, I’d been in Iraq for just two doing. or three days. It started off pretty much like any day. We woke up in the morning, cleaned ourselves up, and prepared to push My platoon sergeant told me he was going to open up the back forward. We knew what our mission was and that we would be hatch for just a second. I thought about my family and something securing a bridge later that day. It was the Saddam Canal Bridge along the lines of Lord, help me. In the time it takes you to turn a over the Euphrates River near An Nasiriyah, about two hundred doorknob and step out of your house, that’s how long I thought miles southeast of Baghdad. I don’t think anyone in their wildest about all that. Then my mind went blank, and all I thought about dreams really thought it was going to get as bad as it did. was that I had to get to my guys. We pulled up and stopped on the southern part of the town. I remember seeing all these Iraqi tanks on fire, so we knew that our air support had been there and pretty much demolished all of their mobilized units. We stopped and crept forward a little bit. That was the same time and place where Jessica Lynch and her convoy got ambushed, so one of our tanks and one of our amtracs got diverted to go help them. U.S. Marine Corps Photo I ran about thirty-five to forty meters north towards the amtrac. When I got there, I saw that it was engulfed in flames. There were five wounded, and I helped get them out of the amtrac. Two of them had partial lower limb amputations; three had shrapnel or flash burns. One had a broken leg. Once we got them out, we set them on the deck and I did basic first aid, stopped the bleeding, and put splints on. We had to move the men, though, because their amtrac was on fire and it was going to blow up due to Word came over the radio that we were still supposed to push secondary explosion from their own ammunition going off inside. forward to help secure the northern bridge. A lot of question marks went up in the air. We didn’t have tanks. We didn’t all have Right before we moved them, I heard a crackling from above. I armor plating. My platoon sergeant got on the horn to verify the looked up and saw scatter bombs. Once the bombs went off, I command. He verified that we were still supposed to push gave the order to move the casualties into my amtrac. When we forward. He gave the order. got there, I reassessed and redressed the wounds. I flushed out people’s eyes who had flash burns. I decided to give them sedation, When we got to the southern bridge, all the locals were smiling and the two that had partial lower leg amputations, I went ahead and waving at us, saying “hi” and giving us the thumbs-up. Real and gave them morphine for the pain. Using a black permanent