Some of you may want to post it on your web site.
former Sgt of Marines (1953-1965)
M/Sgt US Army (retired)
Marine 1st Sergeant Brad Kasal (in the middle). I work with his older brother in Iraq (a former 82nd Airborne paratrooper who is a hero in his own right). This photo is from the most recent major offensive in Fallujah. Sgt. Kasal sacrificed his own safety to save a room full of fellow Marines. He ended up taking several AK rounds in the leg. Most of his lower leg was blown away but you can't tell it from this pic. He took rounds in the back which his armor saved him from. He took one round through his butt which passed through both cheeks leaving 4 holes in him. And he also took the brunt of a grenade blast. He jumped on top of a younger Marine to cover him from the fire. He killed the terrorist who did most of the damage to him and his men, and despite a massive loss of blood he never stopped fighting. Notice that he's still holding his pistol. He has been put in for the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day. He already has several Purple Hearts for previous battles throughout his career and he has turned some down so that he could stay with his unit. While in the hospital he has met President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and several other celebrities. He said that President Bush came in by himself and had a very long, sincere, and friendly visit with him.
Wed, Dec 29, 2004
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In the line of fire
By JUNE BOWER
CNA staff reporter
Editor's note: This is the first part of a two-part series on a local marine wounded in Iraq.
AFTON Gerald Kasal of Afton said his son, Brad, came close to losing his leg in Iraq.
"And we came close to losing Brad," he added. "He was wounded pretty bad on Nov. 13 in Fallujha."
Brad is now recovering from several wounds, the most severe to his right leg.
"I took seven rounds from a 'bad guy' firing a fully-automatic AK 47," he said Wednesday during a phone interview from his bed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. "Five in my right leg, one in my foot and one to the buttocks area. Then a grenade went off about four feet from me and I got 30 to 40 pieces of shrapnel in my back.
Doctors are still fighting to save his leg by performing surgery about every two days, but won't be 100 percent sure they can save it for another six months.
Brad experiences almost constant pain.
"The morphine helps it for a little while," he said. "But the pain comes back right away.
"I'm missing four and a half inches of the fibula and tibia bones. They're going to put a halo brace on my leg to try and make the bone grow together. But there's no guarantee that will work."
Brad, 38, was raised on a farm near Afton and is a 1984 East Union graduate. He has been a Marine for nearly 20 years. His father and brothers have all served in the armed forces: Jeff is a retired Army paratrooper; Kelly was in the Army four years and Kevin served four years as a Marine. Their father served six years in the National Guard.
Gerald said son Brad is a Marine through and through.
"That's the only thing he thinks about is being a Marine," he said. "He was ready to go to Iraq, and he's served in combat before in other places. He's been decorated for valor already, before he was wounded this time.
"He received shrapnel wounds to the neck and shoulder in August right when he began this second tour of duty in Iraq."
A first sergeant for the past three and a half years, Brad is in charge of 170 men.
"I'm the senior enlisted Marine for an infantry company," he said.
Brad said he has from one to three years left before retiring, then plans to move back to Iowa to be near his family. Currently, his home base is California where he owns a house in Oceanside.
"If they get the pain stopped and the healing is better, I'll probably be discharged in another week to 10 days," he said. "I'll probably go to California where all my stuff is, but I'll have to have nursing care at home and someone will have to drive me daily to the hospital."
Brad described what happened when he was wounded.
"We were moving down the street, clearing buildings," he began. "A Marine came out wounded from a building and said there were three more wounded Marines trapped in there with a bunch of bad guys (insurgents). As we entered, we noticed several dead Iraqis on the floor and one of our wounded.
"An Iraqi pointed an AK47 at me and I shot and killed him, but there was another one on the stairs behind me that began firing at me with a fully-automatic AK. That's when I went down, along with one of my young Marines. Then I noticed the hand grenade."
Brad said his first instinct was to protect his young Marine. He covered the young man with his body and took the full brunt of shrapnel to his back when the grenade exploded.
Brad's injuries were severe. He was in and out of consciousness and lost 60 percent of his blood. He was first taken to a field hospital in Iraq, then flown to Germany, where he was hospitalized for a week before arriving in Bethesda.
Brad's father said he was at work at the Osceola hospital when the family received the call that his son was badly wounded.
"Some of my family came to where I was working to tell me," he said. "They told us right away he was going to live, but they were fighting to save his leg."
Family members visited Brad at the naval medical center at Thanksgiving.
"When we first saw him, we thought how thankful we were to see him in that bed," Gerald said. "He looked like the same old Brad."
The Kasals are concerned about Brad's need for further rehabilitation and recovery as he will soon be discharged from the military hospital.
"We'd like for him to come home to recover," said Gerald. "He has a house in Des Moines, too. But he thinks he should be somewhere where the weather won't be cold and there's no snow and ice. He's going to need someone to take him to the hospital every day."
(The second part of Brad Kasal's story will be in Wednesday's Creston News Advertiser.)
http://www.crestonnewsadvertiser.com/36 ... 577363.php
June Bower can be reached at
782-2141, ext. 233 or
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GnySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952 (Plt #437)--'72
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