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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/20/2005 8:15:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2005 8:22:46 PM EDT by Special-K]
I had a conversation with one of our real heros today at the high school where I am currently the SRO.

The school was having a carreer fair in the gym, attended by mostly colleges and a few businesses. I noticed the Marine recruiter walking toward the front door of the school. I let him in and we chatted for a few minutes like normal. It pisses me off to have seen the Marine recruiter 4 times in 2 weeks of school and not a single Army guy (I'm an Army vet). As we talked we headed to the gym where he's setting up. In there is the recruiters CO, a Major. I introduced myself and we began talking. I noticed right off that he must be a hell of a commander - the kind I used to enjoy working for. One of those guys who you talk with for 30 seconds and leave feeling energized and motivated all over again - no matter how shitty the day.

We were talking about media coverage of the war and it came up that he had been in Iraq twice before getting assigned to recruiting. I mentioned what I've heard about the biased media coverage. He said the war on the ground and the war on TV are two different wars. As an example I mentioned the Captain (I couldn't remember his name at the time) who was from Chili (NY) who got hardly a mention, even in the LOCAL papers (I'm only about an hour and a half away). He smiled and said "You mean Brian Chontosh.". I said yeah, thats right. He nodded. I noticed that he called him Brian and asked him if he knew Capt. Chontosh. He told me that yes, he knew him. In fact, he was the one who wrote his award! He was Chontosh's CO!

That totally blew me away. He had alot of really great things to say about him, and told some war stories involving him. We talked for maybe another half hour before it sarted and the kids started showing up. I really wish we could have talked for another few hours. Hopefully Ill have the opportunity to buy him a few beers some time.

I learned a number of interesting things from him too. He told me about the battle of Falujah. How they fought (us and them), how some of them where basically fodder while some were actually pretty good. It found it very interesting how the buildings - being all solid cement type buildings - were all like bunkers that gave them alot of protection from our bombs, arty, and tanks. One of the tactics our Marines resorted to was burning them out - not unlike how they fought in while island hopping 60 years ago. I asked him about the equipment they had and he told me he was very happy with it. The air cover was incredible - apparently they prefer Air Farce over Marine air now because of the technology differences. Apparently it was easier to talk to the Air Farce pilots who carried 4 times the payload and had a much greater loiter time. Because of the laser guide units they were using the Marines could call in air strikes MUCH closer to themselves without fear of fratricide.

He said that the M1A1 tanks were incredible. The Iraqis had NO answer to them and tanks + infantry working together was an awesome combination ='ing many dead bad guys. He was also a big fan of the AC-130's.

For weapons, he told me that the M9 is a worthless piece of shit. We didn't talk much about the M-16's, but he told me that the 5.56mm does work, but shot placement really is key. He told me that his preferance was for 7.62mm because it hit harder and was more forgiving of shot placement. He told me that they had alot of M-14's and they were really great to have. The Amtracks also performed very well, other reports aside. The catch was that they had to use them within their limitations - they were not Army Bradleys. He also seemed to be a fan of the LAV (which has the same gun as the Brads).

I would have loved to get into more about the weapon and other equipment issues, as well as political topics. He did tell me that they were all celebrating Bush's reelection.

He is clearily one of our heros, and all that exempifies a Marine. CO's like him were the reason I still have fond memories of the Army, and still think about going back in. Just talking with him left me feeling motivated, reassured, and somehow less miserable about my (shitty) SRO position. I left with the feeling that he is a truly great leader - and humbled to think that there are hundreds - maybe thousands - in our military just like him, keeping us safe.

I ended up leaving them to recruit our next generation of warfighters with a hand shake and a thank you. I sincerely hope I get to speak with them both again soon and pick his brain some more - and share some beer.



Thought I'd share.


-K

Link Posted: 9/20/2005 8:24:09 PM EDT
Thanks for sharing! Hopefully you will get to chat with him again.
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 8:26:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 8:27:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 8:33:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2005 8:35:19 PM EDT by ZW17]
Not to tear your story apart but I am from Rochester NY, Chili is 10 min. from me and I can say that Brian Chontosh got the media support he deserved. The local paper didn't post it all that much but all 5 news stations covered his getting shot to his families reaction to him just coming home. His town had a big home homecoming at a local park and the news covered that as well.

He was hailed as a hero in this town, as he so deserves.
Link Posted: 9/20/2005 9:29:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/20/2005 9:29:44 PM EDT by Special-K]

Originally Posted By ZW17:
Not to tear your story apart but I am from Rochester NY, Chili is 10 min. from me and I can say that Brian Chontosh got the media support he deserved. The local paper didn't post it all that much but all 5 news stations covered his getting shot to his families reaction to him just coming home. His town had a big home homecoming at a local park and the news covered that as well.

He was hailed as a hero in this town, as he so deserves.



OUTSTANDING!

I from a bit south of Buffalo and he got almost no mention here.

-K
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