Thursday, July 12, 2007

Heroes: Some People You Should Know

Here are a couple of Heroes you should really have the privilege of knowing but, unfortunately, I have not quite yet mastered the art Adobe! They are in .pdf files, and here are the files: Defense Link: Heroes, 7/11/07. This link covers only two heroes. I hope this link works, because I could not find any links to match this article except DefenseLink: Heroes, which is the beginning of the search.

I hope you enjoy them. Both of these men deserve every ounce of the medals they were awarded.

Former Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell

Surrounded and severely outnumbered in combat, you can either give up or fight to the death. Petty Officer Luttrell and three other SEALs faced that decision in the hills of Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. A SEAL never gives up.

The team, which included Lt. Michael Murphy and Petty Officers Matt Axelson and Danny Dietz, had been sent on a covert mission to find and kill a Taliban leader. As the SEALs scoured the area, they encountered three civilians who Luttrell believes alerted Taliban fighters. About an hour later, approximately 80-100 Taliban fighters appeared and began a ferocious assault. As the small team fought back, a Chinook helicopter arrived in support – but was shot down by the enemy, killing all 16 men on board.

The SEALs realized that their odds of survival were slim – but their training and sense of honor told them to take out as many enemies as they could. By the end of a two-hour gunfight that careened through the hills and over cliffs, Murphy, Axelson, and Dietz had fallen. An estimated 35 Taliban were also dead. Luttrell managed to escape the carnage – badly injured – and slowly crawl away down the side of a cliff.

Dehydrated, with a bullet wound to one leg, shrapnel embedded in both legs, three vertebrae cracked; the situation for Luttrell was grim. Rescue helicopters were sent in, but he was too weak and injured to make contact. Traveling seven miles on foot, he eventually reached a village where he was put under “lokhay warkawal,” Afghan for the protection of the villagers, who fed him and cleaned his wounds. In short order, one of the villagers made his way to a Marine outpost with a note from Luttrell, and U.S. forces launched a massive rescue operation that pulled him from enemy territory. To this day, Luttrell remains indebted to the villagers who risked their lives in his defense. As he told The Washington Post, “In the middle of everything evil, in an evil place, you can find goodness. Goodness. I’d even call it godliness.”

Luttrell was the “Lone Survivor” of the events of June 28, 2005. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his actions.

Wahington Post.
Army Times.
Houston Chronicle.

Okay. So I wanted you to be able to read about them without me messing it up. He is such a remarkable man, although I doubt he will say that about himself. That's one of things that makes him a Hero to me. Just one, though.

Next, we have another brave young man. Here is his story:

Army Reserve Maj. Christopher Matson

One of the most vital missions of the U.S. forces in Iraq is to train and support the Iraqi security forces so that they can defend their own country. Matson was sent to Mosul in April 2006 to work with Iraqi soldiers, most of whom were former “peshmerga,” indigenous Kurdish guerilla fighters. He was part of a specialized task force of ten U.S. soldiers, each with a unique skill set. These training groups, also known as Military Transition Teams (MiTTs), are located throughout Iraq. In Mosul alone, there were 10-15 MiTTs while Matson was there.

Matson served as the operations officer for his team. He knew he needed to develop personal relationships with the Iraqi forces, so he spent a great deal of time in informal settings talking and joking with his Iraqi counterparts. The Kurdish soldiers eventually embraced the training team: not only did they train and work together, but the Kurds came to think of the Americans as family.

Matson and his team lived in a beat-up, bombed-out building in the middle of Mosul, where they and the Iraqis lived together, ate together, and trained together. It was a dangerous setting for sure, but the Iraqis and the Americans faced the danger together. And the constant interaction fostered strong bonds between the two forces – part of a comprehensive strategy to develop and ensure greater leadership on the ground.

Ten days before Major Matson was to return to the U.S., a truck bomb exploded outside of the compound, blowing in the wall of Matson’s room and seriously injuring him. He was knocked unconscious with severe trauma injuries to his head and neck, but his Iraqi counterparts responded swiftly and took him to the nearest medical unit for treatment. Matson attributes his survival to their quick response.

Matson’s injuries were so severe he was unable to return to his unit, which led to his greatest regret: being unable to say goodbye to the Iraqis he had come to call “his brothers.” For his leadership and work in Iraq, Matson received the Bronze Star upon his return from Iraq in May 2007.

Here is a link for you to find who the heroes are in your own neighborhood. This covers all 50 states. Heroes in the War on Terror: 50 States. If you happen to see them, please walk up to them, shake their hand, and thank them for our freedom and their sacrifices. God bless them and you.

Linkfest Haven, the Blogger's Oasis

These are unrelated trackbacks, but they are very bright. Check out some of their sites! Outside the Beltway, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, The Virtuous Republic, Perri Nelson's Website, Rosemary's Thoughts, DeMediacratic Nation, Jeanette's Celebrity Corner, Big Dog's Weblog, Stuck On Stupid, Cao's Blog, The Amboy Times, Leaning Straight Up, Conservative Cat, Conservative Thoughts, Diary of the Mad Pigeon, The Crazy Rants of Samantha Burns, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, Public Eye, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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