Friday, September 11, 2009

Real American Heroes
Corporal Brady Gustafson, USMC - Navy Cross

For those who may not know this -- The Navy Cross is the 2d highest award a Marine can recieve. The only decoration for personal valor in a combat situation that's senior, is the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Here's the entire story from The North Shore Journal; (Emphasis mine)

Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson Awarded Navy Cross

Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson, a machine gunner with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, stands in from of the battalion at perfect parade rest, despite the amputation of his right leg below the knee. Gustafson received the Navy Cross and a meritorious promotion to corporal during a ceremony March 27 at Lance Cpl. Torrey Grey Field. Photo by Pfc. Michael T. Gams

Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson’s parents describe him as “reserved, loyal, stubborn and determined.” This was proven in action July 21, 2008.

His loyalty to his fellow Marines, his stubborn nature when he refused medical treatment and his determination under enemy fire as a machine gunner with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment earned him the Navy Cross, and a place among the ranks of such Marine Corps legends as Lewis ‘Chesty’ Puller, Daniel ‘Dan’ Daly and John Basilone.

He received this medal, the highest awarded by the Navy [technically incorrect, but I'll let that go], for his deployment to Afghanistan is support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Navy Cross was pinned on his chest by Lt. Col. John M. Reed, the commanding officer of 2/7, and meritorious corporal chevrons to his collar by Maj. Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser and Sgt. Maj. Randall Carter, the commanding general and sergeant major of 1st Marine Division, at a ceremony held March 27 at Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Grey Field. The ceremony included speeches from his former and current commanding officers.

Gustafson accepted his medal at a perfect position of attention, despite missing his right leg below the knee. His entire battalion was in attendance as well as Marines from across the nation, former service members, family and friends.

According to eyewitness accounts, Gustafson’s actions that fateful day in July 2008 met and exceeded the requirements for a Navy Cross. On July 21 Gustafson was manning the turret of the lead vehicle, a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, during a four-vehicle mounted patrol riding through the streets of Shewan, Afghanistan.

That’s when things got ugly.

The patrol came under heavy fire from machine guns as well as rocket-propelled grenades from hidden insurgent positions. One of the RPGs hit Gustafson’s MRAP, piercing its armor, rendering the driver unconscious and partially amputating Gustafson’s right leg.

Despite his injuries, Gustafson remained vigilant on his M240B machine gun, locating and accurately firing on several insurgent positions, some as close as 20 meters from the vehicle. He remained in the turret, reloading twice and firing over 600 rounds, while Lance Cpl. Cody Comstock, an Anderson, Ind. native, applied a tourniquet to his leg.

After regaining consciousness, the driver, Cpl. Geoffrey Kamp, an Indianapolis native, put the vehicle in reverse and pushed the disabled vehicle behind them out of the kill zone.

Not until both vehicles were safe from the heavy insurgent fire and all the Marines had evacuated the burning vehicle did he allow himself to be removed from the turret for medical treatment.

“I knew I was hit,” he said. “I guess the adrenaline kept me going.” Gustafson humbly stressed that he was only doing his job, nothing more. “Anyone I served with would have done the same,” said the Eagan, IL native. “Heck, if it wasn’t for everyone else out there, I wouldn’t have made it.”

After being treated by corpsmen at the scene, he was transported to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and then to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Upon regaining consciousness after surgery, Gustafson called his parents to tell them what happened, said the 21 year-old. “We were worried about him,” said his mother, Kim Gustafson. “But we knew everything would work out, God does have a plan after all.”

During 2/7’s deployment to Afghanistan, “the extraordinary became ordinary,” said Lt. Col Richard Hall, 2/7’s commanding officer during the deployment. “I underestimated my Marines and I’m in awe of what they accomplished.”

Known as the hardest hit battalion in the Marine Corps during 2008, 2/7 lost over 20 Marines and sailors and sent over 80 home with serious injuries during their eight month deployment to Afghanistan.

“I took a lot of photos in Afghanistan,” said Gustafson. “I’m going to go to college in the fall and try and make a career out of it.” Cpl. Brady Gustafson never faltered during the ambush and his heroism helped save the lives of all the Marines involved.

The valor and courage displayed on the streets of Shewan that July day embodied the core values of the Marine Corps and sets an example for all to emulate and be proud of. “I’m proud of all the Marines,” said Kim. “There are so many heroes, I’m so lucky to count my son among one of them.”
Keep in mind, Cpl. Gustafson was a mere 20 years old when this happened. Legally "not mature enough" to even buy himself a beer. But old enough to win the Navy Cross.


Blogger Billiam said...

Thanks man. The sychophant media ignores so many of these. Semper Fi.

11:10 AM  
Blogger tuleesh said...

I am humbled. I am grateful.

This young man is proof that there are those who know how to enjoy freedom and then there are those, like Cpl. Gustafson, who know how to defend freedom.

G-d bless the defenders.

1:23 PM  
Blogger A. Sinner said...

Not to pick nits, but Cpl. Gustafson didn't "win" that Navy Cross; he earned it. Pax

3:48 PM  
Blogger Vir Speluncae Catholicus said...

I thought the same thing, but that's the word we used during my time in... but I know what you mean.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

May be win is used because not everyone who earns one gets one, i.e., wins one. There are a lot of heroes out there starting with those who have Purple Hearts, Combat Action Ribbons, and Combat Infantryman Badges, and even mere survivors of the experience.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Old Bob said...

Three cheers for Cpl. Gustafson and three more for the USMC!

7:53 PM  
Blogger TCN said...

Buy that man a beer, for heaven's sake.

Nothing we could do could pay him back for his valor and service, but at least he should have a cold one on us.

11:30 PM  

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