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This may be a repost but I didn't see it...


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."

The Omaha World-Herald photograph of Sgt. Burghardt displayed above — taken in the aftermath of the bomb blast and showing him "standing on his own two feet, pants cut off, legs bandaged and directing a single-digit salute of defiance at his attackers" — appeared in that newspaper five days later and quickly became one of the most popular iconic images of the Iraq War. As the World-Herald noted of its origins and impact:
... with two new young Marines in his ordnance disposal unit — and the insurgent attackers undoubtedly looking on — "I didn't want them to see the team leader carried away on a stretcher," [Burghardt] said.

So after the Nebraskans tended to wounds that reached from his boot tops to the small of his back, Burghardt rose to his feet and reached back with a one-finger salute for his attackers.

"I was angry," Burghardt said.

The photo appeared on numerous Marine-related Internet web logs. Burghardt received more than 100 e-mails within days of the picture's publication. It has become a screensaver on soldiers' and Marines' computers across Iraq.

"I don't know how my anger turned into a motivational picture," Burghardt said.
 

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exmarinegrunt said:
Marine Jiggly, a real Marine, we don't like to be grouped in with soldiers. :cheers

I apologize, you all are under the department of the Navy right? But you are ground troops but you dont like being called soldiers or sailers, I never got that!!!

Well than he is a damn fine marine!!!!
 

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When I entered the Air Force, my Drill Instructor was a former ordinance disposal inspector...he's the one who went in AFTER the guy who made the mistake. I still remember the stories of human flesh hanging between the wood plank floors and that being the defining moment he got out of that line of work.

God bless and that's the type of Marine I see every day when I drive on to Camp Pendleton. Those guys and gals make me proud everyday, and I often think of them when I put on my silly AF flight suit to fly satellites (don't ask).

LT
 

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Great story, but they should have not been referring to him as Sgt. He is a Gunnery Sergeant. They demoted him 2 pay grades.

I love the picture.
 

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Great Story! Thanks for Sharing!!
 

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OOOOOOOORRRRRRAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!
Awsome story about a true Devil Dog!!!!!!!!!!
Everytime I think about my time in the Marines and hear the stories of the dogs out there now I get goose bumps and it make me proud to be one.
:cheers :bowdown
 
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