This particular hero is a contemporary of mine. He and I both served in the First Gulf War. He stayed in the Corps, and in 2004, in Fallujah, Iraq, earned the Navy Cross. Although severely wounded, he recovered and is still on active duty.
By the time he was carried out of the house by Lance Cpl. Chris Marquez and Lance Cpl. Dan Shaffer as Lucian M. Reed, an Associated Press photographer snapped the iconic photo displayed at Marine Corps installations all over the globe, Kasal had lost approximately 60 percent of his blood from more than 40 shrapnel wounds and seven 7.62 mm AK-47 gunshots.
“It’s been a very emotional week,” Kasal said. “I am blessed to recover from my injuries, which the doctors thought would never happen, and regain my place in the Marine Corps. I would take the pain of surgeries any day over the pain of being away from my Marines.”
What compels you to continue serving?
Marines. Gotta love Marines. Where else can you get paid to be around such great Americans?
Was there anything you had to tell yourself to help you walk into the “House of Hell”?
Yes, there were three Marines down and wounded and they needed help. Pretty simple.
As he lay on the floor in what has become"The House of Death", severely wounded and bleeding out because he had used all of his bandages on his fellow Marine, Kasal was hit again. He said:
“That’s when I got shot in the butt,” Kasal recalled. “It was the shootout at the OK Corral – point-blank range. I was lying there shooting and somebody shot me through both cheeks. It smarted a bit.”
Smarted a bit. To me, that sounds like a tough man.
The President of the United States
Takes Pleasure in Presenting The Navy Cross ToBradley A. Kasal
First Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
For Services as Set Forth in the Following Citation:For extraordinary heroism while serving as First Sergeant, Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 13 November 2004. First Sergeant Kasal was assisting 1st Section, Combined Anti-Armor Platoon as they provided a traveling over watch for 3d Platoon when he heard a large volume of fire erupt to his immediate front, shortly followed by Marines rapidly exiting a structure. When First Sergeant Kasal learned that Marines were pinned down inside the house by an unknown number of enemy personnel, he joined a squad making entry to clear the structure and rescue the Marines inside. He made entry into the first room, immediately encountering and eliminating an enemy insurgent, as he spotted a wounded Marine in the next room. While moving towards the wounded Marine, First Sergeant Kasal and another Marine came under heavy rifle fire from an elevated enemy firing position and were both severely wounded in the legs, immobilizing them. When insurgents threw grenades in an attempt to eliminate the wounded Marines, he rolled on top of his fellow Marine and absorbed the shrapnel with his own body. When First Sergeant Kasal was offered medical attention and extraction, he refused until the other Marines were given medical attention. Although severely wounded himself, he shouted encouragement to his fellow Marines as they continued to clear the structure. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, First Sergeant Kasal reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.