Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal (in the middle). This photo is from the most recent major offensive in Fallujah. 1stSgt Kasal sacrificed his own safety to save a room full of fellow Marines. He ended up taking several AK rounds in the leg. Most of his lower leg was blown away but you can't tell it from this pic. He took rounds in the back which his armor saved him from. He took one round through his butt which passed through both cheeks leaving 4 holes in him. And he also took the brunt of a grenade blast. He jumped on top of a younger Marine to cover him from the fire. He killed the enemy who did most of the damage to him and his men, and despite a massive loss of blood he never stopped fighting. Notice that he's still holding his pistol. He has been put in for the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day. He already has several Purple Hearts for previous battles throughout his career and he has turned some down so that he could stay with his unit.
"I took seven rounds from a 'bad guy' firing a fully-automatic AK 47," he said Wednesday during a phone interview from his bed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. "Five in my right leg, one in my foot and one to the buttocks area. Then a grenade went off about four feet from me and I got 30 to 40 pieces of shrapnel in my back.
Brad described what happened when he was wounded.
"We were moving down the street, clearing buildings," he began. "A Marine came out wounded from a building and said there were three more wounded Marines trapped in there with a bunch of bad guys (insurgents). As we entered, we noticed several dead Iraqis on the floor and one of our wounded.
"An Iraqi pointed an AK47 at me and I shot and killed him, but there was another one on the stairs behind me that began firing at me with a fully-automatic AK. That's when I went down, along with one of my young Marines. Then I noticed the hand grenade."
Brad said his first instinct was to protect his young Marine. He covered the young man with his body and took the full brunt of shrapnel to his back when the grenade exploded.
Brad's injuries were severe. He was in and out of consciousness and lost 60 percent of his blood. He was first taken to a field hospital in Iraq, then flown to Germany, where he was hospitalized for a week before arriving in Bethesda.