we are free men. we will not be subjugated. we have the guns to prove it!
sent to me via email. Can't vouch for accuracy, but sounds reasonable..----------The Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant in the picture is Michael Burghard,part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team that is supporting2nd Brigade 28th Infantry Division (Pennsylvania Army National Guard).I think it demonstrates the true spirit of most of our troops on theground.Leading the fight is Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as "IronMike" or just "Gunny". He is on his third tour in Iraq. He had becomea legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star fordisabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during hissecond tour. Then, on September 19, he got blown up. He had arrived ata chaotic scene after a bomb had killed four US soldiers. He chose notto wear the bulky bomb protection suit. "You can't react to any sniperfire and you get tunnel-vision," he explains. So, protected by just ahelmet and standard-issue flak jacket, he began what bomb disposalofficers term "the longest walk", stepping gingerly into a 5ft deepand 8ft wide crater. The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senaobase station with a wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his7in knife to probe the ground. "I found a piece of red detonating cordbetween my legs," he says. "That's when I knew I was screwed." Realizing he had been sucked into a trap, Sgt Burghardt, 35, yelled ateveryone to stay back. At that moment, an insurgent, probably watchingthrough binoculars, pressed a button on his mobile phone to detonatethe secondary device below the sergeant's feet. "A chill went up theback of my neck and then the bomb exploded," he recalls. "As I was inthe air I remember thinking, 'I don't believe they got me.' I was justticked off they were able to do it. Then I was lying on the road, notable to feel anything from the waist down." His colleagues cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt. Nonecould believe his legs were still there. "My dad's a Vietnam vet who'sparalyzed from the waist down," says Sgt Burghardt. "I was lying therethinking I didn't want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad and forhim to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants and I felta real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled my toes andI 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 astretcher." He stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up aone-fingered salute. "I flipped them one. It was like, 'OK, I lostthat round but I'll be back next week'." Copies of a photograph depicting his defiance, taken by Jeff Bundy forthe Omaha World-Herald, adorn the walls of homes across America andthat of Col John Gronski, the brigade commander in Ramadi, who hashailed the image as an exemplar of the warrior spirit. Sgt Burghardt'sinjuries - burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks - kept him offduty for nearly a month and could have earned him a ticket home. But,like his father - who was awarded a Bronze Star and three PurpleHearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam - he stayed in Ramadi toengage in the battle against insurgents who are forever coming up withmore ingenious ways of killing Americans.
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