Thursday, March 2, 2006

Up Yours

Reader John K sent this story to me. I would have posted it yesterday as my Wednesday Hero but I had already made the post when I read this story.
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The man in the picture is USMC Gunny Sergeant "Iron Mike" Burghardt after a failed attempt by terrorist in Iraq to kill him. Here's the story.

24 February 2006: The U.S.M.C. gunnery sergeant in the picture is Michael Burghardt, part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team that is supporting 2nd Brigade 28th Infantry Division (Pennsylvania Army National Guard). On his third tour in Iraq, "Iron Mike" become a legend in the bomb disposal world after being awarded the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour. On September 19, 2005, "Iron Mike" was seriously wounded in a dramatic rescue of U.S. soldiers wounded from a bomb blast.

A media ally in the war on terrorism, Pat Campbell, radio talk show host at 540 WFLA AM in Orlando, Florida interviewed "Iron Mike" Burghardt from Iraq this morning. His story is amazing and the interview is riveting.


"Iron Mike" arrived at a chaotic scene after a bomb had killed four US soldiers. He chose not to wear the bulky bomb protection suit. "You can't react to any sniper fire and you get tunnel-vision," he explains. So, protected by just a helmet and standard-issue flak jacket, he began what bomb disposal officers term "the longest walk", stepping gingerly into a 5ft deep and 8ft wide crater. The earth shifted slightly and he saw a Senao base station with a wire leading from it. He cut the wire and used his knife to probe the ground. "I found a piece of red detonating cord between my legs," he says. "That's when I knew I was screwed."

Realizing he had been sucked into a trap, Sgt Burghardt, 35, yelled at everyone to stay back. At that moment, an insurgent, probably watching through binoculars, pressed a button on his mobile phone to detonate the secondary device below the sergeant's feet. "A chill went up the back of my neck and then the bomb exploded," he recalls. "As I was in the air I remember thinking, 'I don't believe they got me.' I was just ticked off they were able to do it. Then I was lying on the road, not able to feel anything from the waist down."

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