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I want to take a minute, this is outside the standard upload schedule, and it’s not even a true review because I have yet to read the book in question. I don’t have to though, I know this story like it was tattooed on me next to my moto tat. I got this the same way I got a lot of Marine Corps lore and history, via oral tradition and in this case from the best possible source. A man who was on the ground with the unit. It was an important part of boot camp these tales of valor and courage under fire, they taught us the example we had to live up to and not just how high the standards were but why they were so high and demanding.

I grew up with the stories up heroic Marines, Chesty Puller, John Basillone, Dan Daly, Carlos Hathcock they were my comic book heroes, stories passed on or stories gleaned from books I devoured. As I grew and when I enlisted these men became even more heroic and their feats of valor and courage even more astounding. Unlike superman they were only men, frail in the way of thing, short lived and fighting in conflicts that chewed up brave men like a meat grinder and still they persevered, still they never quit. Their dedication though, to a man of these super human individuals was to their men, to the guys around them.

SgtMaj Brad Kasal, United States Marine Corps is one of these heroes from the modern generation of Marines.

You might recognize him from this photo, it was all over the place for awhile and while I could tell you the story I think I’ll just show you all his Navy Cross citation instead.

 

 

 

 

 

The President of the United States
Takes Pleasure in Presenting The Navy Cross To

Bradley A. Kasal
First Sergeant, United States Marine Corps

For Services as Set Forth in the Following Citation:

Navycross.jpg

For extraordinary heroism while serving as First Sergeant, Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 13 November 2004. First Sergeant Kasal was assisting 1st Section, Combined Anti-Armor Platoon as they provided a traveling over watch for 3d Platoon when he heard a large volume of fire erupt to his immediate front, shortly followed by Marines rapidly exiting a structure. When First Sergeant Kasal learned that Marines were pinned down inside the house by an unknown number of enemy personnel, he joined a squad making entry to clear the structure and rescue the Marines inside. He made entry into the first room, immediately encountering and eliminating an enemy insurgent, as he spotted a wounded Marine in the next room. While moving towards the wounded Marine, First Sergeant Kasal and another Marine came under heavy rifle fire from an elevated enemy firing position and were both severely wounded in the legs, immobilizing them. When insurgents threw grenades in an attempt to eliminate the wounded Marines, he rolled on top of his fellow Marine and absorbed the shrapnel with his own body. When First Sergeant Kasal was offered medical attention and extraction, he refused until the other Marines were given medical attention. Although severely wounded himself, he shouted encouragement to his fellow Marines as they continued to clear the structure. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, First Sergeant Kasal reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Damn, what can you say about something like that, the details reveal that SgtMaj Kasal (he’s been promoted since this event and remains on active duty as of this writing) took seven 7.62x39mm rounds and when he shielded the young Lance Corporal he went in to the building with from the grenade took 43 pieces of shrapnel. Still he kept fighting, still he never surrendered. When he finally got aid, it was estimated that he had lost 60% of his blood. What kind of courage? what kind of untold valor must this man have? What kind of hero must he be? Well when he was called a hero SgtMaj Kasal simply said this “I’m just a Marine doing his job” that last bit right there, unselfish and unwavering devotion, with humility laced in to it that is what truly makes a man a hero, whether SgtMaj Kasal agrees with the description or not he’s becoming a Legend of the Corps, one of the names taught to junior Marines as an example of a warrior spirit and a lion heart.

Semper Fidelis.

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So it’s not secret I am a massive fanboy for the hopefully soon to be released video game Six Days in Fallujah. I’ve brought it up in a couple posts previously and it’s going to feature yet again in a post will be coming up shortly on this blog space focusing on story and history based/modern first person shooters. So while it was on my brain I clicked over to Atomic’s webpage (www.atomic.com) to see if they had an update and noticed they had a contact page. While there was no update on their main page I did send them the below email and received a very fast response from Peter Tamte the president of Atomic Games.

Email Chain: (portions redacted for privacy, etc)

To: press@atomic.com

Subj: Not a journalist, just a Marine

To the staff of Atomic Games,
You guys really didn’t have a “fan mail” or “general contact” email
listed on your web site so I guess I’ll just use the press contact email.
I want to take a minute to thank you for all of your work on 6 Days in
Fallujah, I hope that project finishes, I hope a publisher finds the
same kind of bravery you did in taking on this project.
It’s not pretty, it’s brutal and real, I have no doubt of that, the
Marines working with you on the project wouldn’t settle for anything
less. That reality is what would have made any number of
devs not take on this project, a story this powerful, this intense, this
real is an amazing challenge to tell. Thank you for taking that
challenge. I can only hope that this story gets to be told
and that this game does release sometime in the future, I’ll be first in
line with a lot of other Marines when it does.
Thank you again and Semper Fidelis,
The Response:
Frm: Tamte, Peter
Re: Not a journalist, just a Marine
Thank you for your very kind email.
It is the support of Marines like you that keeps us going. We greatly appreciate your kind words, and we also really appreciate your service to our nation. We truly hope that we will have the opportunity to let people all around the world experience for themselves the remarkable stories of this generation of Marines.
Semper Fi,
-Peter
Ok I was always a fanboy for this game, but I’m so far in their camp now it’s not even funny. Any company that cares enough about the subject of their game (Marines) that their president takes time out of a busy schedule and replies some random guy who just sent a “keep going guys!” email wins definite awesome points in my book. I mean I expected a response, but a boiler plate from a secretary. Jesus I’m so lame at thinking this is so awesome.

Some interviews with Mr. Tamte and his crew regarding Six Days in Fallujah just so this post isn’t all me being lame:

6 Days in Fallujah is a video game in development by Atomic studios that is rumored to have been picked up by an unknown developer. The project has been at the center of some controversy since the first run at it’s development sparked outrage that a game developer would produce a graphic and intense video game following the events of Marines during the 2nd Battle of Fallujah. Atomic had originally been contracted by the Marine Corps to develop military training aids and had been assigned Marines from 3rd Regiment, 1st Battalion (3/1). The Marines promptly deployed to Iraq and upon their return asked Atomic to develop a game that would tell their story and bring that story of one of the most vital battles in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reality of what Marines experienced there to the general public.

The reaction was swift and strong with many sides condemning the game as dishonoring the memory of those lost in the battle and saying it was too soon for the developer to create a game based on events like that. The producer originally slated to produce the game Konami US dropped the game under pressure from all the bad press.

The line comes down to what is appropriate for the video game medium to create and communicate to the masses, the popular movie The Hurt Locker covered some extremely sensitive and fresh subjects in relation to one of the most dangerous every day jobs in the Global War on Terror and instead of being condemned for it being “too soon” it received an academy award for best picture and rave reviews. Video games have the unique ability to put us directly in a character’s shoes far more so then a book or movie ever can, so why can’t a game touch a sensitive subject like the war? Especially with Marines or other US troops on board the project giving direct input and fact checking it could provide and experience and a window in to something that most people can’t really understand, a chance to better comprehend the types of things our deployed soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen face every day. Isn’t something like that worth a little risk?

Atomic bills the game not as an FPS but as a survival horror game where like real combat your goals are more focused on surviving as well as completing mission objectives. Atomic reports that the enemy insurgents adapt an d use real tactics straight from the battle and that survival as well as mission completion is going to be an intensely challenging and harrowing experience as closely related to what the Marines of 3/1 and other units faced during Operation Phantom Fury (aka the Second Battle of Fallujah).

In the end I hope this game gets published and if it does I will definitely play it, I don’t see it as disrespectful to my fallen brothers, especially with Marines on the staff helping the devteam. For those who are offended as with every other game in existence, no one’s making you play it