Thursday, February 09, 2006

Michael Burghardt


The Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant in the picture is Michael Burghard, part of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team that is supporting 2nd Brigade 28th Infantry Division (Pennsylvania Army National Guard). I heard the below story first hand last Saturday during a video teleconference between his Brigade Commander and the 28th Infantry Division Commander. I thought that others should hear it as well, as I think it demonstrates the true spirit of most of our troops on the ground.

Leading the fight is Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as "Iron Mike" or just "Gunny". He is on his third tour in Iraq. He had become a legend in the bomb disposal world after winning the Bronze Star for disabling 64 IEDs and destroying 1,548 pieces of ordnance during his second tour. Then, on September 19, he got blown up. He had 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 7in 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."

His colleagues cut off his trousers to see how badly he was hurt. None could believe his legs were still there. "My dad's a Vietnam vet who's paralyzed from the waist down," says Sgt Burghardt. "I was lying there thinking I didn't want to be in a wheelchair next to my dad and for him to see me like that. They started to cut away my pants and I felt a real sharp pain and blood trickling down. Then I wiggled my toes and I thought, 'Good, I'm in business.' As a stretcher was brought over, adrenaline and anger kicked in. "I decided to walk to the helicopter. I wasn't going to let my team-mates see me being carried away on a stretcher." He stood and gave the insurgents who had blown him up a one-fingered salute. "I flipped them one. It was like, 'OK, I lost that round but I'll be back next week'."

Copies of a photograph depicting his defiance, taken by Jeff Bundy for the Omaha World-Herald, adorn the walls of homes across America and that of Col John Gronski, the brigade commander in Ramadi, who has hailed the image as an exemplar of the warrior spirit. Sgt Burghardt's injuries — burns and wounds to his legs and buttocks — kept him off duty for nearly a month and could have earned him a ticket home. But, like his father — who was awarded a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts for being wounded in action in Vietnam — he stayed in Ramadi to engage in the battle against insurgents who are forever coming up with more ingenious ways of killing Americans.

44 Comments:

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous bill tfa clinton said...

This is a true hero. Hollywood should be making movies about this guy for our boys and young men to emulate instead of making movies about queer cowboys.

 
At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Bill in Sanford said...

This guy is a true hero like my father that got three purple hearts in Vietnam. We just can't understand what these guys go through each day. We owe our tranquil daily lives to guys like Gunny.

 
At 7:29 AM, Blogger letty said...

Awesome story! Awesome Marine! All Americans should be proud of him and all the other men and women who put themselves in danger for our country. I loved that picture of him! It was classic!

 
At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Brenda in Marposa said...

Because of people like Gunny, a real HERO the USA will never be defeated.
We owe our freedoms to Men and Women like this.Those in Hollywood and else were around the US who complain
about the war and our Country can bite me and leave.

 
At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless the US Military. Give 'em hell, Gunny!

 
At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hats off and another finger raised in salute to reinforce his!

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger gary said...

BEWARE!!! Be prepared for Teddy Kennedy to call for a full scale congressional investigation and a courts martial of this fine becuase he might have offended a muslim.

 
At 9:56 AM, Anonymous Steve in Athens GA said...

Hoo-rah, Gunny!!!

This man is my new American hero! And save that salute for the leftist whiners who will inevitably cry and stomp on their hankies about offending the ragheads and putting forth an aggressive, disrespectful attitude! I hope the SOB that set this one off gets his chance at his 72 virgins soon, courtesy of a United States Marine!

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous DD in Can. said...

Now there's a man with a great attitude. I add my middle finger to that great salute of his & hope the Marines send many more of those cowards on to their reward.

 
At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Ann Deyton said...

Amen! I salute (and admire) this young man for his courage and honesty and his service to an ungrateful nation. He has my undying support and gratitude. God bless our troops & bring them home safely.

 
At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck Gunny..Hope you get better real soon...Most of us from the South really appreciate you..Also, screw Allah, Mohummed, and all those other dipshits in the middle east...Tell our boys over there to get real shitty with them assholes...Give 'em hell...We're behind our military all the way...Jorell

 
At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Dawn R said...

God Bless the U.S.A. and our troops! I'm so glad that he showed the insurgents they couldn't defeat him, in a way, they could not defeat democracy and the U.S. I am in awe of this soldier and are praying for all of our troops. Way to go Gunny and the best of luck to you. You are a truly remarkable man.

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Joyce Bauer said...

God bless you & keep you safe Gunny. We all owe you for keeping us safe.
Joyce
Gresham, OR

 
At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Bill in Atlanta said...

Being a Navy guy who served with Marines in Iraq, this is typical warrior spirit! These sorts of things happen every day and never make the news. All of them are the courageous heroes that the Marines are legendary for.

 
At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Debra C. said...

I couldn't be any more proud of this man if he were my own son! It makes me feel very secure knowing that there are men like him defending us. It takes a special person with a divine calling to do what he does! God bless him and all the troops everywhere!

 
At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A REAL salute to Gunny, and I join his salute to his attacker!

Semper Fi!!

 
At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burghardt, you are a hero. Your salute to the insurgents who tried to blow you up just kicks ass!

But guess what, right wing retards. Burghardt's heroism has nothing to do with the colossal failure of George Bush and the other neocon losers who are responsible for the disaster in Iraq.

 
At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us liberals have no problem with warrior badasses like this guy. He's just doing what he was born to do and that is all there is to it.

You go gunny.

 
At 4:28 PM, Blogger why said...

Along with Pappy Boyington this guy is the ultimate example of the American fighting spirit, but because he is a Marine he does not measure up to our indoctrinated youth at places such as the University of Washington. http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48808

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Throwcopper said...

Sorry "bill tfa clinton",


While this Marine certainly respect for being exactly the kind of badass, brave warriors we need, I'll take a queer cowboy movie over another Hollywood crapfest about a military hero any day.

 
At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Albert Wilson said...

"Bama" from the piney woods of Alabama here. You go "Sarge", I remember guys like him from the II Inf Div in Korea. He is a sure nuff hero in my book and what if he did make some liberal mad, I am happy about that too!!!

 
At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Dave Bunker said...

As we raise our Michael Burghardts and men and women like him on our shoulders, colleges and High Schools around the U.S. protest their kind on their campuses. This is because they are too afraid of serving, and disrespecting the military is their way of avoiding enlistment.
Thanx Gunny, -Dave Bunker.

 
At 8:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOD BLESS YOU &THANKS from butch& deborah wilson hampton ga.

 
At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Gunny! A true hero in every sense of the word. Let Cindy Sheehan meet this fine American.

 
At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody in their right mind thinks the perverted terrorist-loving filth of Hollywood would make a movie depicting American heroes in Iraq. We must rememember that behind the phony tinsel of Hollywood ... there is REAL tinsel.

 
At 10:38 PM, Anonymous Dave Kight said...

Way to go gunny! An Air Force type salutes you with all five digits.

 
At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I to think that they should make a movie about our troops and not about queer cowbys.

 
At 12:46 AM, Blogger David Robinette said...

Thanks for posting this story. The man deserves the Medal of Honor. The post is making its way around the pro-military electronic community. Here's one police message board:

http://members.boardhost.com/KTL670/msg/1141045975.html

 
At 7:54 AM, Blogger Unknownprofessor said...

Gunny, I hope the Marines have custom-tailored pants for you, because you have big ones.

You made my day.

 
At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Chris in Virginia said...

Did someone mention 72 virgins? That's 72 Virginians!!

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger battle said...

This guy is what the army is about
Duty Honer and Country He is american hero god bless him and all the men and women in tha armed forces

Ret SSG Battle

 
At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gunny,

Thank you so much for serving our country!! You are the man and I wish more men like you would serve this country!

Thanks again,

SGT Beasley VA ARNG

 
At 12:56 PM, Blogger girlysmiles said...

Thank God for all our military men and women and Way To Go GUNNY! I don't care what anyone says it's our men and women with their hearts of gold (better then a purple heart)that's keeping America safe from another 9-11. God Bless you ALL and keep you safe until you return home. You are all are my heroe's!
Jeri

 
At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOD BLESS EM ALL! WE DON'T KNOW HOW LUCKY WE HAVE IT HERE IN AMERICA. THANKS TO ALL IN THE SERVICE.

 
At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that we don't see stories like THIS on CNN - only how badly things are going and the poor Iraqis. 3 cherrs for Gunny!!

 
At 7:56 PM, Anonymous pete peterson said...

as one old anker klanker
I say drop the big one on all of them it's a great spot for a parking lot!!!!!!!! Give em Hell
Gunny take that rag off their head and put it back on their ass where it belongs pete in anaheim

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story! They don't call them the Few and the Proud for nothing. Thanks "Gunny", to you and to the other members of your unit and to the rest of you awesome Marines out there! Well done!
elizabeth

 
At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Dennis McGreevy said...

He is not called "Iron Mike" for nothing. Good work Gunny! SEMPER FI!

 
At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Ryan, N.O. La. said...

Damn Right he is Tough! We as Americans need to remember why he is there, "It's so that I can sit here and write Freely at will!" "Great Soldiers, deserve Great Praise, ALL Soldiers deserve our Respect."

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gunny nailed it! As for those whining about the war in Iraq i find the majority of them have spent no time on the ground personally and only spout the garbage they are fed by the liberal media machine. Those of us who've been there most often share gunny's view! To those of you against the war who havent spent one day on the ground there that salute applies to you also.

 
At 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey gunny thanks for giving me a real hero to tell my kids about god bless you god bless our armed forces and god bless AMERICA, and one more thing I wonder if these cry babies in washington would have such a prob with a one finger salute if it was there butts on the line everyday.

 
At 2:34 PM, Blogger DWG said...

Spit in the vipers eyes and flip them one for the good ol US of A.

Can we get this in Bronze please.

 
At 2:36 PM, Blogger DWG said...

We need a Bronze statue of Gunney Iron Mike at our capital building with his finger held high in salute of all to see.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Msgt Lou USMC(Ret) said...

Gunny: As a retired Marine you made me proud. Wish I could have been with you to join in your "salute" Semper fi ! MSgt Lou. USMC(Ret)

 

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