A True Hero – Sgt Kasal Part III


Got a few updates on this story. First off Senor Lechero (a friend of his) has a post up about the injuries Sgt Kasal sustained and his recovery:

The injuries to 1st Sgt Kasal's right leg were severe. 5 or 6 rounds from an AK-47 completely shattered (read destroyed, obliterated, disintegrated) both bones about 6" below his knee. The doctor's at Bethesda were able to save his leg and set him on a course for recovery. That course consists of an incredibly painful devise ("far more painful than being shot") which is "transporting" his leg bone. In a previous update I said his leg was being "stretched", but that is not entirely correct. What is happening is this…… 1st Sgt Kasal's leg bones were sawed in half, in two locations (above and below the injury). The two sections of leg bone are being transported by an "Excursion" devise which has screws that actually move the bones inside Brad's leg. The device consists of 4 halos, and 16 pins, some 1/4" thick, protruding through his skin and muscle into his bones. The transporting which is taking place is closing the gap from the original injury while widening the gap from the doctor created injuries, which are filling in with naturally regenerating bone. This is being done to get his leg ready for a bone graft surgery. He still has a little over an inch to go, which will take a month or more to accomplish. The doctors expect Brad to walk again, but not run. Brad says……"If I can walk, I'll run:" I for one believe Brad. The doctor's can diagnose a body's condition, but not a man's will. 1st Sgt Kasal is a man of extremely strong willpower, and I'm betting on him being able to run again someday, and pass the Corp's PFT (physical fitness test) The story of how 1st Sgt. Kasal was injured is very interesting, and someday it will be told in it's entirety. Brad told me that he went into that building "because his marines were in there". One of "his marines" was Sgt. Norwood, whom President Bush honored at the State of the Union Address. Sgt. Norwood was killed in that building where such incredible damage was done to 1st. Sgt Kasal, PFC Nicoll, and 6 other brave US marines.

Also, NPR has some audio interviews with the photographer of the famous picture and more. And finally Lisa Hoffman wrote a excellent article entitled "Roster of American Combat Heroes in Iraq is Rich" which detailes a bit about Sgt Kasal and Sgt Peralta, whom I have blogged about extensively:

Though most have won little note outside their own units and hometowns, dozens of GIs – many brand-new to adulthood – have distinguished themselves with extraordinary valor in what for many were their last moments of life.

One was Sgt. Rafael Peralta, 25, of San Diego, a Mexican immigrant who joined the Marines the day after he got his "green card." A platoon scout who didn't have to go on the dangerous Nov. 15 mission, Peralta volunteered to join a "stack" of five Marines hunting insurgents house-to-house in Fallujah.

Three enemy fighters waited behind a closed door. When Peralta opened it, he was hit in the head and chest by a close-up fusillade of AK-47 fire.

His Marine mates fought on, until one of the insurgents rolled a grenade toward Peralta, who lay bleeding on the floor. To save his nearby comrades, Peralta reached for the explosive and tucked it under his stomach, where it exploded. He was the only Marine to die.

"This champion of men made the split-second decision to sacrifice his life for his men," Julie Snyder, a Snohomish, Wash., mother of a Marine saved that day, wrote in an online tribute to Peralta. "The words don't exist to describe what's in my heart for this man."

So did 1st Sgt. Brad Kasal, 38, who led a half-dozen Marines into an insurgent-held house in Fallujah in November last year to rescue three wounded leathernecks trapped inside. When the mission was over, Kasal had been shot seven times and punctured by 40 pieces of shrapnel, which he absorbed when he used his body to shelter an injured comrade from an enemy grenade. Kasal survived, as did all but one of the other Marines.

Previously: A True Hero – First Sgt Kasal A True Hero – First Sgt Kasal Part II

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