Here's an excerpt:
A guy came at me out of a doorway that was covered by a blanket. I couldn’t see who it was. I couldn’t tell whether he had a gun. I just started beating the crap out of him. I was hammer fisting him down. I wasn’t going to just shoot the blanket because it could have been a kid. I figured, nice time is over, and we need to get out of this and get some cover now because this is getting real crappy and it’s right out in the open. When the guy fell, we saw he was a man with an AK-47. Jimmy stitched him up and I went in the room. I thought Jimmy was right behind me. But his long gun went down and he was transitioning to his pistol. He was engaging a different threat. I went into the next room and ended up there alone. The enemies were sticking their guns out the window, trying to kill our other guys, who were entering the house like ducks in a row. I went down the line, from left to right, and started whacking them. There was so much going on outside they didn’t realize I’d come in. They didn’t have any electricity, no NVGs, and it was really dark. I shot those guys.
I was getting pretty deep into this magazine and I needed to change mags real quick. While I was doing that I could feel someone coming up behind me. I thought it was one of my guys, but it wasn’t. This enemy guy whopped me on the shoulder with something, maybe a wooden beam, and crumpled me down. I got hit so hard that I saw white lights, floaters. Bam, I got hit and went down to one knee. The guy jumped on my back and tore off my NVGs. He was kneeing me in the back and started to get his stinking little fingers clawing in my eyeballs. I reached up with my right hand – he was a pretty big boy with a beard and a ponytail – and I got him by the back of his head and flipped him over. When I did, my elbow hit the ground and put my dislocated shoulder back in its socket. Now we were face-to-face in the dark.
We were face-to-face and my left arm was raging and I thought, Man, it’s you or me, dude, and it ain’t gonna be me. I want it more than you do. You’re not going to kill me. I got a life at home. My comrades got a life at home. And we’re coming home. If this guy got past me, he could have shot my guys in the back...
I went to biting on him. I could smell his sour breath. He was pulling around all over my gear and I was worried about him pulling a grenade pin or pulling one of my breeching charges and blowing us both up. This had to end.
This is part of one of the 29 firsthand accounts of battle and valor in Afghanistan and Iraq. This book, Heroes Among Us by Major Chuck Larson, is more than just war stories. It's personal, going into the things that motivate our people in uniform. From Infantry to Corpsmen, to the Brazilian teenager who wanted to be with the best, so at 14 he managed to move to the US with the goal of becoming a United States Marine.
The people in the book are recipients of the Silver Star, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, and the Congressional Medal of Honor. Yet they are not boastful. Most actually sound embarrassed to talk about their decorations, choosing instead to focus the attention on those who fought beside them.
For all its faults, this nation still produces men we can be proud of. I highly recommend this book.
Bump for those who may have missed this last night.