Nearly everyone has seen the photo of two Marines carrying a bloodied peer out of a house during the heart of the Iraq War, but only a few know of what really transpired that horrific day 13 years ago.
The bloodied man was Marine 1st Sgt. Brad Kasal, who on Nov. 13 of 2004 had been a part of a contingent of Marines traveling from door to door in Fallujah in search of insurgents, according to a Los Angeles Times report published two years later.
Upon learning that a group of his peers had become trapped in one of the homes, Kasal decided to charge into it to save their lives. What happened next turned him into a folk hero.
“Once inside the house, Kasal barked orders to younger Marines to cover vantage spots where insurgents might be hiding,” reported the Times. “He turned into one room and immediately ran into an insurgent who cried out in Arabic. The two exchanged gunfire; the insurgent missed and Kasal killed him.”
But the insurgent had not been alone. Others who were still present in the home began firing at Kasal, injuring him and a few others. One also reportedly threw a grenade at him, but instead of trying to protect himself he “rolled on top of his fellow Marine and absorbed the shrapnel with his own body,” according to a Navy Cross citation he later received.
What followed was a nearly one-hour long battle in which 10 Marines were critically injured and one killed. Yet even when other Marines arrived to save Kasal and were seen carrying him out of the home, he could still be seen firmly gripping his pistol, ready for anything.
Take a look here, though please be aware that the photo is highly graphic and does depict blood.
The guy is a legend, which is why — not surprisingly — he was later immortalized in a “No Man Left Behind” statue unveiled outside the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East Hope and Care Center at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in 2013:
A second one was later erected in front of the Wounded Warrior Complex of the Wound Warrior Battalion-West at Camp Pendleton, California.
Both depict him being carried out of what was later dubbed “Hell House” after having sustained life-threatening injuries while protecting his brothers.
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