My Men are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal Story

Naval Institute Press
38
Free sample

My Men Are My Heroes introduces its readers to a living standard of Marine Corps esprit de corps and military decorum. Sergeant Major Bradley Kasal, the pride of Iowa, is a small town boy who wanted to be a United States Marine even before a poster perfect Marine recruiter marched into his high school gym and offered him a challenge Kasal couldn’t resist. Two decades later Kasal stood stiffly at attention, one leg literally shot in half, while the Navy Cross was pinned to his chest. Kasal is currently the Sergeant Major of the Infantry School at Camp Pendleton, CA until he retires in May, 2012.

After a brief visit to his childhood Kasal’s story quickly gathers steam, introducing the reader to his early Marine career; adventure filled years that earned him the name “Robo-Grunt” from men who don’t offer accolades easily. Kasal uses his experience climbing the ranks to illustrate how Marines grow, and how they are shaped by the uncompromising attitudes of the officers and non-coms charged with turning young Marines into tigers.

Kasal’s adventures culminate in Iraq. By now he is 1st Sergeant Kasal, ramrodding Kilo Company, 3/1, a rifle company in 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, the mighty “Thunder Third” that would cover itself with glory in 2004. Two days into Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 Kilo is ordered to hold open a critical road between two bridges that Saddam’s fierce Fedayeen Saddam were just as determined to take away. Kasal makes in his stand on that road, literally standing tall amidst fierce gunfire, demonstrating the kind of leadership Kilo Company needed to get the job done. Kilo’s fight was part of the first big test of Marine Corps combat capabilities in the second Iraqi War and the only major engagement the Marine Corps fought during the heady days of the “Drive Up” to Baghdad. When it was over the so-called “Ninjas” of the Fedayeen Saddam were smashed. A week later Kasal was in Baghdad, welcomed with open arms by the exuberant population.

A year later 3/1 was back to Iraq, in Anbar Province, the epicenter of the brutal war now raging in the former tribal stronghold of Saddam and his henchmen. The smiling faces that had greeted 3/1 the year before were gone. Kasal is the 1st Sergeant of Weapons Company, 3/1, the armored fist of a light infantry battalion. After four months of ambushes, IEDs, and deadly skirmishes 3/1 is ordered into Fallujah, to take the ancient city back from Al Qaeda and the foreign fighters who had turned the ancient “City of Mosques” into a fortress. It is there, in November, 2004 that the “Thundering Third” entered into Marine Corps legend and Kasal into the Pantheon of Heroes for his actions during the most savage battle the Marines fought in the Iraq War.

At a non-descript house in a walled neighborhood in Fallujah Kasal, at the time accompanying a squad of Kilo’s riflemen into a contested house, becomes involved in a close-quarter duel with fanatical Chechen fighters. The fight rages throughout the house, at times Marines and the foreign fighters were exchanging rifle fire and grenades at ranges of less than 10 feet. For almost two hours the squad is trapped inside the house. During the brawl Kasal is shot seven times, almost loses his leg when it is nearly severed from his body, and sustains 47shrapnel wounds when he used his body to shield a wounded Marine laying next to him from an enemy grenade. In the skirmish, forever known as the “Hell House” fight, Kasal was awarded the Navy Cross, the nation’s second highest award for heroism.
Read more
Collapse

More by Nathaniel R. Helms

See more
4.5
38 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Naval Institute Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Nov 15, 2012
Read more
Collapse
Pages
288
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781612511375
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
History / Military / Iraq War (2003-2011)
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
March 23, 2003: U.S. Marines from the Task Force Tarawa are caught up in one of the most unexpected battles of the Iraq War. What started off as a routine maneuver to secure two key bridges in the town of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq degenerated into a nightmarish twenty-four-hour urban clash in which eighteen young Marines lost their lives and more than thirty-five others were wounded. It was the single heaviest loss suffered by the U.S. military during the initial combat phase of the war.

On that fateful day, Marines came across the burned-out remains of a U.S. Army convoy that had been ambushed by Saddam Hussein’s forces outside Nasiriyah. In an attempt to rescue the missing soldiers and seize the bridges before the Iraqis could destroy them, the Marines decided to advance their attack on the city by twenty-four hours. What happened next is a gripping and gruesome tale of military blunders, tragedy, and heroism.

Huge M1 tanks leading the attack were rendered ineffective when they became mired in an open sewer. Then a company of Marines took a wrong turn and ended up on a deadly stretch of road where their armored personal carriers were hit by devastating rocket-propelled grenade fire. USAF planes called in for fire support play their own part in the unfolding cataclysm when they accidentally strafed the vehicles. The attempt to rescue the dead and dying stranded in “ambush alley” only drew more Marines into the slaughter.

This was not a battle of modern technology, but a brutal close-quarter urban knife fight that tested the Marines’ resolve and training to the limit. At the heart of the drama were the fifty or so young Marines, most of whom had never been to war, who were embroiled in a battle of epic proportions from which neither their commanders nor the technological might of the U.S. military could save them.

With a novelist’s gift for pace and tension, Tim Pritchard brilliantly captures the chaos, panic, and courage of the fight for Nasiriyah, bringing back in full force the day that a perfunctory task turned into a battle for survival.

"Ambush Alley" is a gut-wrenching account of unadulterated terror that's hard to read yet impossible to put down. London-based journalist and filmmaker Tim Pritchard, who was embedded with US troops during the initial stages of the American-led invasion of Iraq, paints a compelling picture of one of the costliest battles of the Iraq war that will at turns anger, horrify, and sadden, regardless of one's political views."
--The Boston Globe
This is a true story of war, the story of one man’s transformation as he retraces the mine-strewn roads of a land itself transformed by mankind’s most shockingly inhuman practice. It is the firsthand account of a member of one of the United States Army’s three-man Tactical Psychological Operations Teams, groups of men tasked with winning the hearts and minds of Iraq’s civilian population through leaflets, loudspeakers, conversation, and bribery. Transcribed from and inspired by the author’s personal wartime journal, it is a story of introspection. It relates how the feelings of eagerness and uncertainty in a young man unfamiliar with war were replaced with the dread knowledge that, buried within his soul, beneath a facade of goodwill and morality, lurked the capacity to kill his fellow men.

There are scenes of battle retold within the pages of Hearts and Mines. There are descriptions of the feelings of seeing once-familiar human bodies destroyed beyond recognition. Some days are described as being full of hope and appreciation for the beauty of the world, others with despair for the omnipresent cruelty and destruction which has a habit of consuming men when they feel unaccountable for their actions. It captures the sensory experience of living in a singular environment full of strange plants and animals, friends true and false, and determined enemies, encapsulating the existential fear of mortar and rocket attacks, and the ever-present threat of IEDs, as well as the ridiculousness of military bureaucracy, such as was demonstrated by a sergeant major’s decision to punish graffiti artists by removing the doors of all the camp’s toilets.

In late 2001 Russell Snyder joined the United States Army as a psychological operations specialist. As a member of the 9th PSYOP Battalion, the army’s only active-duty, tactical psychological operations unit he deployed to Iraq, the experience that inspired him to write Hearts and Mines. Subsequently he was deployed twice more to Iraq. He is a recipient of various military awards including the Bronze Star medal. Now a civilian, he lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.