Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as 'Iron Mike' or just 'Gunny'

Gunnery Sgt Michael Burghardt, known as 'Iron Mike' or just 'Gunny'

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 5 foot deep and 8 foot 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 7 inch 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.

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7 years 10 weeks ago, 2:51 PM

fordvg

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Very good story sam

Very good story sam about the Gunny. Glas to hear that he was not hurt badly.

"WAR IS A RACKET, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers." Major-General Smedley Darlington Butler USMC Ret. 2 time Medal of Honor winner.
7 years 10 weeks ago, 3:46 PM

Caber

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He is a true hero

He is a true hero

Caber
7 years 10 weeks ago, 1:34 PM

runawaygun762

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Mighty Mouse is a Hero. Hero is not a term to use for this guy. You want a term that shows the proper amount of awe and reverence? Try "Marine".

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
7 years 10 weeks ago, 1:50 PM

LittleDragon

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respect. however would like to respectfully disagree with you about the idea of a hero. people need heroes, especially young people. a hero is a role model to emulate and look up to. ryo would not look up to mighty mouse, but does look up to the heroes who have given their lives in service to our country. it is an emotional thing, but even so, without heroes, it very likely that recruiting would drop significantly. ryo and little brother look up to our own pops in this way and is one reason why ryu kun want to do well in high school and have grades good enough to get into west point and to go on to become a helicopter pilot in the army. am not saying that maybe too many people are awarded the term hero when most likely it is not deserved, but it seems that from time to time our country does produce real heroes and this is not such a bad thing. young people need heroes. we do. we need role models and of course role models do not have to be heroes, but those who are real heroes are a statement from our country that say to the world, we still got it. we're not going to just lay down and die. if the enemies of our country think they can overwhelm us with whatever, with terror, with arms, with bile and poison and false accusations and lies, then there will always be good people who will rise up and stop them and yes, some few of these people will be real heroes.

Your friend,

LittleDragon
PS there should be a distinction between somebody's personal hero and a national hero neh.

Moshi Moshi from LittleDragon
7 years 10 weeks ago, 1:52 PM

Caber

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Aren't hero and marine the same

Caber
7 years 10 weeks ago, 1:55 PM

LittleDragon

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the Marines, that ryo have known were all heroic type people. they are an elite and wonderful group. Like they say, the few, the proud, the Marines!

Your friend,

LittleDragon

Moshi Moshi from LittleDragon
7 years 10 weeks ago, 2:00 PM

Caber

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If I need help I'd rather have a marine with me than mighty mouse

Caber
7 years 10 weeks ago, 2:02 PM

LittleDragon

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Caber san:

somehow just can't see mighty mouse being much good in a fire fight neh. lol, but you are right, if ryo was in trouble would certainly rather trust US Marines to get me out of trouble than a cartoon character.

Your friend,

LittleDragon

Moshi Moshi from LittleDragon
7 years 10 weeks ago, 2:17 PM

runawaygun762

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My point is this

"Hero" is a term applied to all manner of people or characters. That term is thrown around too much. Michael Jordan is a hero to some young aspiring athletes. Barack Obama is a hero to some ethnic minorities. Bill Gates is a hero to young entrepeneurs. None of these people equal the sand on the boot of this Marine or the millions of others who have served honorably in wars they didn't start. You may use the term "Hero", but I'm sure I speak for the vast majority of us when I say the term Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine is much more of an honor.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
7 years 10 weeks ago, 2:32 PM

Caber

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You win, You're right

You win, You're right

Caber
7 years 10 weeks ago, 2:33 PM

runawaygun762

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Thanks, caber

Now if the rest of humanity would only learn that I am right, we'd all be better off.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
7 years 10 weeks ago, 2:57 PM

ivantank

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cause i'am watching a whole bunch of hero's on tv..."band of brothers" is on they playin the whole series today..gotta pee and grab another beer...not sure but i think there's a happy ending..

I have reasons for the things I do, just don't expect them to be reasonable
6 years 43 weeks ago, 8:22 PM

PBR Driver

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The best thing one could call the Gunney besides American is just, MARINE.

INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY NEVER GOES OUT OF STYLE. If you do not love the CONSTITUTION AS IT IS WRITTEN then you are free to leave MY COUNTRY at this time.
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