05-15-2006, 04:16 PM #1Former Member
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
Giving the Terrorists the Bird
Giving the Bird to a Terrorist
January 17th, 2006 by Duncan Avatar
Seriously. This guy is hard core.
RAMADI, Iraq — For Marine Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt, the business of hunting down and defusing roadside bombs is something of a deadly chess game.
The day Burghardt found himself checkmated by a roadside bomber was Sept. 19. He was in Ramadi’s wild Tammim neighborhood as part of a team of bomb technicians responding to the scene of a chaotic ambush in which four U.S. personnel were killed.
Burghardt, who was looking to clear an evacuation route for the vehicles, hopped into what he thought was a recent bomb crater. He said he saw an interesting piece of shrapnel in the 4˝-foot- deep hole and wanted to investigate. As he took a closer look, the shattered gravel beneath his foot suddenly shifted, revealing a package wrapped in orange plastic and a cordless telephone base station.
Realizing that he had just stumbled onto a primed explosive, Burghardt stuck his knife in the dirt and dredged up a red detonating cord that led to a pair of 122 mm artillery shells. He cut the cord with scissors and told the rest of his team to stay back.
“I thought I had done good,” Burghardt said.
But what he didn’t realize was that a second detonating cord ran from the base station to a third artillery shell buried behind him. The triggerman, figuring perhaps that he wouldn’t lure anyone else into the trap that day, placed a telephone call to the base station.
“That’s when I heard the distinct crack of that artillery shell,” Burghardt said.
The explosion sent Burghardt 10 feet into the air and dropped him in a heap on the road as his team watched in horror.
“All I remember is opening my eyes and hearing a ringing in my ears,” he said. “They all thought I was dead, but when I started to move I could hear them yell, ‘He’s alive!’”
Burghardt could not feel his legs. Trying not to look below his waist — afraid of what he might see — he was struck by an image of his father. The retired Marine spent three tours in Vietnam, earning three Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts by the time he was shot by a sniper and paralyzed from the waist down.
“I didn’t want my dad to see me in a wheelchair next to him,” Burghardt said.
But relief came quickly. Burghardt was able to wiggle his toes.
Medics cut away his bloody pants to reveal that the backs of his legs had been studded with shrapnel and bruised from the top of his boots to his waist. As they prepared to place him in a stretcher, Burghardt shouted, “No.” He didn’t want his teammates or the insurgents to see him carried from the scene. He was going to walk.
As he was helped to his feet, Burghardt said, he felt a wave of anger and adrenaline flow through his system. He had just extended his Iraq tour that morning and he was livid that he had been bested by the bomber.
“I was really pissed off that they got me, that after all this time, they got me,” Burghardt said. “I figured the triggerman was still watching, so I flipped him off. I yelled, ‘[Expletive] you! I’ll be out here next week!’”
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05-15-2006, 05:36 PM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
- Central PA
Enjoyed the story--LOVED THE PICTURE!!!
05-16-2006, 10:24 AM #3Former Member
Originally Posted by Pandora
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
Yes!!! Something tells me that even the terrorists understand what "F" you means!! LOL Gotta love that guy. Hope he stays safe!!!