I do not know if you have followed Kasal’s story since that fateful day in Fallujah, but if not, I thought I’d send an update. Kasal spent the following years recovering from a leg that had four iches shot off the front from enemy fire, multiple gun shot wounds as well as many shrapnel wounds resulting from a grenade blast from which he bore the brunt in order to save a fellow Marine.
Despite multiple recommendations for amputation of his leg, his fighting spirit won out over all. He “grew” his leg back with multiple surgeries and a long and terribly painful process that uses a technique called the “Ilizarov frame.” Amazingly, he has since passed the Marine Corps physical fitness test which includes a three-mile run. He has received the Navy Cross, been promoted to Sergeant Major, speaks often on leadership and is a mentor to many on leadership, fortitude, endurance and healing. Just this month, a book about Brad Kasal, the battle of Fallujah and Kasal’s recovery has been released. The book by Nathaniel Helms is My Men Are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal Story.
This book, which I read cover to cover immediately upon receipt, is a story of an amazing leader, who has a powerful message and sets a tremendous example for others. My father, Martin Kellogg, a former Marine, also read it cover to cover, and I know others have done the same.
In times like this, where Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are doubting and damaging our efforts here at home as well as in the war, I wish we could require that they read this book. They might understand better what needs there are in Iraq and why Marines like Sergeant Major Brad Kasal are indispensible to the success of our country’s objectives and foundation. At the very least, I know there are others who, less blindly misguided than these two Congressional leaders, may benefit from reading this story.
Kasal met President George Bush while recovering in the hospital in December 2004. One of Brad’s Marines, Byron Norwood, tragically died on that same day in Fallujah. It was Byron’s parents who were at the 2005 State of Union and it was Byron’s mother who hugged the Iraqi mother during that speech – creating that powerful moment which so captured the enduring love that our battle against evil requires. The President said:
One name we honor is Marine Corps Sergeant Byron Norwood of Pflugerville, Texas, who was killed during the assault on Fallujah. His mom, Janet, sent me a letter and told me how much Byron loved being a Marine, and how proud he was to be on the front line against terror. She wrote, “When Byron was home the last time, I said that I wanted to protect him like I had since he was born. He just hugged me and said, ‘You’ve done your job, Mom. Now it is my turn to protect you.'” Ladies and gentlemen, with grateful hearts, we honor freedom’s defenders, and our military families, represented here this evening by Sergeant Norwood’s mom and dad, Janet and Bill Norwood.”
It is leaders like Sergeant Major Brad Kasal who train and lead young men like Byron to be the powerful yet thoughtful serviceman they are. I, and many others, are deeply grateful to all of them.
Jeannine forwards the following links documenting Sergeant Major Kasal’s story:
About him (Wikipedia).
Kasal receiving the Navy Cross (television news story with video).
Kasal at the Iowa legistlature (television news story with video).
Kasal back again with the Marines (television news story with video).
An interview on the Michael Dressler show (click on 4/10/07 – hour 2).
San Diego Tribune (last week, speaking to Marines on leadership). The San Diego Tribune story concludes with Kasal’s comments:
Kasal said yesterday that his book’s main message is