Thursday, March 09, 2006

We Should Be Making Movies About Michael Burghardt!!!

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 of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He is on his third tour in Iraq and has already been awarded the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour.

On September 19, 2005 he was called upon again to disable a IED. He arrived at the 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."

He then yelled to everyone telling them to stay back as an insurgent who was probably watching from binoculars detonated the bomb that was below Mike'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 pulled him out of the hole and began to cut away his pants. 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'."

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. Instead he stayed in Ramadi to engage in the battle against terrorists who are determined to destroy our way of life and dominate the world.

What a great story... In fact hollywood should be making movies about brave men like this for our boys and young men to look up too. Of course they won't, they couldn't even give a thank you to the troops at the Academy Awards.

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