Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Injured Marine Defies Attackers

Injured Marine defies attackers




RAMADI, Iraq - Once Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt realized he could wiggle his toes and fingers, he had one message for the insurgents who wounded him - defiance.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt signals defiance at his Iraqi attackers after being injured by an improvised explosive device near Ramadi. Attending to the Marine were Nebraska 167th Cavalry members Spc. John Adams (far left, in front) of Hastings, Neb., and Pfc. Darin Nelson of Fremont, Neb.

Burghardt, of Huntington Beach, Calif., started his third tour in Iraq trying to beat the insurgents to the IEDs - improvised explosive devices - and disarm them before the insurgents could set them off.

As is often the case, Burghardt and his Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were accompanied to a bomb site Monday by the First Platoon, 167th Cavalry of the Nebraska National Guard.

One IED had blown up a Bradley fighting vehicle and killed a U.S. soldier. As often happens, the insurgents left behind more IEDs. Burghardt disarmed two bombs that were found - quick action that probably saved the lives of several Nebraska soldiers.

But he couldn't get to a third.

When word spread that the third device had been found, 167th Capt. Jeff Searcey of Kearney, 1st Lt. Matthew Misfeldt of Omaha and their men hit the ground as a blast exploded skyward.

Burghardt was wounded.

But with two new young Marines in his ordnance disposal unit - and the insurgent attackers undoubtedly looking on - "I didn't want them to see the team leader carried away on a stretcher," he said.

So after the Nebraskans tended to wounds that reached from his boot tops to the small of his back, Burghardt rose to his feet and reached back with a one-finger salute for his attackers.

"I was angry," Burghardt said.



Previous List Random Join Next Grunt's Military Site