Topic: Extraordinary Heroism

Hooah, Leroy!

What do heroes look like?

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Where do we find such men?

Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, U.S. Army, will receive the Medal of Honor early next month for heroism in Afghanistan in 2008. Hooah, Ranger Petry!

President Bush presented U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy's posthumous Medal of Honor to his family moments ago. The text of the citation reads as follows:

murphy2.jpgFor conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005. While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan.


On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy's team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men.

When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team.

In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

More on LT Murphy:
My previous post
Summary of Action, OPERATION REDWING
A memorial by Murphy's friends at Engine 53, Ladder 43, FDNY



Please, when you discuss this good news with friends and family, remember the following:

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  1. LT Murphy received the medal; he did not "win" it. Recipients consider it disrespectful to be called "winners."

  2. Even though the President awards the medal in the name of Congress, it's not the "Congressional Medal of Honor" or the "CMH." It's simply the Medal of Honor. Much of the confusion probably stems from the name of The Congressional Medal of Honor Society; it's a Congressionally-chartered society for medal recipients, not a society for recipients of a Congressional medal. The official name of the award is the Medal of Honor.

  3. Try not to confuse the Medal of Honor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Congressional Gold Medal, neither of which are military awards for valor.

  4. Take time to learn about other Medal of Honor recipients, as well as recipients of the next-highest award for valor in combat: the Navy Cross (includes Marine Corps and Coast Guard recipients), the Air Force Cross, or the Distinguished Service Cross. Click on the "Uncommon Valor" logo at the top of the rightmost column of this page and familiarize yourself with other heroes of this war (especially LT Murphy's teammates, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, and lone survivor Marcus Luttrell ... who wrote one of the NY Times bestsellers below and appeared in the other two).

  5. Look over the order of precedence for American military decorations, and compare them with their counterparts in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada

Medal of Honor: LT Michael Murphy, USN

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Medal of Honor


10/22/07 UPDATE: Full citation posted!

A Navy SEAL will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor on October 22. Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy is the third man to receive America's highest military award for valor in the War on Terror.

U.S. Navy press release:

murphy.jpgMurphy was the officer-in-charge of the SEAL element, which was tasked with locating a high- level Taliban militia leader to provide intelligence for a follow-on mission to capture or destroy the local leadership and disrupt enemy activity. However local Taliban sympathizers discovered the SEAL unit and immediately revealed their position to Taliban fighters. The element was besieged on a mountaintop by scores of enemy fighters. The firefight that ensued pushed the element farther into enemy territory and left all four SEALs wounded.


The SEALs fought the enemy fearlessly despite being at a tactical disadvantage and outnumbered more than four to one. Understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his men, Murphy, already wounded, deliberately and unhesitatingly moved from cover into the open where he took and returned fire while transmitting a call for help for his beleaguered teammates. Shot through the back while radioing for help, Murphy completed his transmission while returning fire. The call ultimately led to the rescue of one severely wounded team member, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, and the recovery of the remains of Murphy and Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (SEAL) Danny Dietz and Sonar Technician 2nd Class (SEAL) Matthew Axelson.

Eight more SEALs and eight Army "Nightstalker" special operations personnel comprising the initial reinforcement also lost their lives when their helicopter was shot down before they could engage the enemy. The entire battle, the culmination of Operation Redwing, resulted in the worst single day loss of life for Naval Special Warfare personnel since World War II.

The sole surviving SEAL, Marcus Luttrell, wrote a book about the battle after he departed the Navy this summer. In his book Luttrell credited all three of his teammates for their heroism, including Murphy's sacrificial act that eventually led to his rescue.

Please, when you discuss this good news with friends and family, remember the following:


  1. LT Murphy will receive the medal, not "win" it. Recipients consider it disrespectful to be called "winners."

  2. Even though the President awards the medal in the name of Congress, it's not the "Congressional Medal of Honor" or the "CMH." It's simply the Medal of Honor. Much of the confusion probably stems from the name of The Congressional Medal of Honor Society; it's a Congressionally-chartered society, not a society for recipients of a Congressional medal. The official name of the award is the Medal of Honor.

  3. Try not to confuse the Medal of Honor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom or the Congressional Gold Medal, neither of which are military awards for valor.

  4. Take time to learn about recipients of the next-highest award for valor in combat. Click on the "Uncommon Valor" logo in the upper right corner of this page and familiarize yourself with other heroes of this war (especially LT Murphy's teammates, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, and lone survivor Marcus Luttrell).

Thank you, Lieutenant Murphy, for your valor and sacrifice.

Honor the fallen

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Click the image below and read the citations with asterisks.

Uncommon Valor

Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal

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Here's another fine American who's been recommended for the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Battle of Fallujah. The wounded man in the middle is Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal. Remember his name, because before long he's probably going to be mentioned in the same breath as Rafael Peralta.

1st Sergeant Kasal

How can we lose, with men like these?

SFC Paul Smith to receive Medal of Honor

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Sergeant 1st Class Paul Smith will receive the Medal of Honor (posthumously) next month. For all Medal of Honor citations, see the incongruously-named Congressional Medal of Honor Society. There's more general info at Wikipedia.

I'll bet President Bush mentions Segreant Smith in his State of the Union address tonight.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

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UPDATE: Can anybody tell me what the Medal of Honor Flag looks like?

UPDATE 2: A study in contrasts.

Rafael Peralta: a good Marine

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By all rights, we should know Rafael Peralta's name. The man died a bona fide hero during the Battle of Fallujah. Here's an excerpt from Rich Lowry's column on the sergeant:

Sgt. Peralta, 25, was a Mexican American. He joined the Marines the day after he got his green card and earned his citizenship while in uniform. He was fiercely loyal to the ethos of the Corps. While in Kuwait, waiting to go into Iraq, he had his camouflage uniform sent out to be pressed. He constantly looked for opportunities to help his Marine brothers, which is why he ended up where he was on Nov. 15. A week into the battle for Fallujah, the Marines were still doing the deadly work of clearing the city, house by house. As a platoon scout, Peralta didn't have to go out with the assault team that day. He volunteered to go.

Eagle, globe and anchorAccording to Kaemmerer, the Marines entered a house and kicked in the doors of two rooms that proved empty. But there was another closed door to an adjoining room. It was unlocked, and Peralta, in the lead, opened it. He was immediately hit with AK-47 fire in his face and upper torso by three insurgents. He fell out of the way into one of the cleared rooms to give his fellow Marines a clear shot at the enemy. During the firefight, a yellow fragmentation grenade flew out of the room, landing near Peralta and several fellow Marines. The uninjured Marines tried to scatter out of the way, two of them trying to escape the room, but were blocked by a locked door. At that point, barely alive, Peralta grabbed the grenade and cradled it to his body.

His body took most of the blast. One Marine was seriously injured, but the rest sustained only minor shrapnel wounds. Cpl. Brannon Dyer told a reporter from the Army Times, "He saved half my fire team."

Semper Fi, Sergeant Peralta. You were a good Marine.

Semper Fi, Sergeant Armstrong

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A third Marine, a third Navy Cross

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Marine Pfc. Joseph B. Perez received the Navy Cross for heroism in battle during the march on Baghdad. He also came away with a Purple Heart for being shot twice during the battle.

Semper Fi, Pfc. Perez!

Another Marine, another Navy Cross

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Marine Sgt. Marcos A. Martinez received the Navy Cross for single-handedly taking out a building full of ambushing Iraqis.

Semper Fi, Sgt. Martinez!

Marine awarded Navy Cross in Iraq

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BlackFive relays some good news you haven't heard about: Captain Brian Chontosh, USMC, Navy Cross recipient.

It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.

And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them.

Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.

And he ran down the trench.

With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers.

And he killed them all.

He fought with the M16 until he was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.

At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.

When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.

And people wonder why I'm fond of the Corps. Semper Fi, Captain Chontosh!

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