Skip to comments.Recon Marine fights through injuries, takes out insurgents
Posted on 10/26/2005 5:02:49 PM PDT by SandRat
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 25, 2005) -- The Marines of Iraqi Army Platoon, Echo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, clashed with insurgents in the month leading up to the units relief in place. Nearing the end of their seven-month deployment and after spending more than a month in Ferris Town and Al Amariyah in support of Operation Southern Fire, Sgt. Joe Gonsalez, platoon sergeant, IA Platoon, was conducting a familiarization foot patrol in Al Amariyah with the incoming team from 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.
On Oct. 2, as the patrol came to a halt in front of Al Amariyahs market area, Gonsalez attempted to stop vehicle traffic on the road running parallel to the market and came face-to-face with the insurgency.
I was trying to stop the traffic heading in both directions, but a black vehicle kept coming and didnt want to stop, said Gonsalez, a San Antonio native. I presented my weapon, but I was concerned about taking a shot because of children and other people in the road. But then a kid jumped out in the road and stopped the vehicle.
After stopping, the personnel exited the vehicle and began apologizing to the Marines for not understanding their orders.
Because they posed no immediate threat, little attention was given to the men, who were now standing off to the side of the road.
Moments later Gonsalez became suspicious of the vehicle because, although the men were not in the vehicle, it was still running.
I noticed the black vehicle was still running, but the personnel were not in it, he said. I approached the vehicle and looked inside, but it looked clean to me. Then I looked at the passenger side and saw a headdress layed between the seat and floor board. I walked around to the passenger side and picked up the headdress and found an AK47 with a magazine inserted and two more magazines on the deck. Obviously something was up.
At this point the occupants of the vehicle made an escape. Gonsalez immediately gave the order to shut down the market, not allowing anyone to enter or leave, and began looking for the most obvious escape route.
I had a good image of their faces and did a quick search of the area, said the 30-year-old. I ran by some shops but had no visual on them. I kept looking and saw them a little ways off.
Gonsalez then gave the individuals the order to stop in Arabic, but the men took off in an all out run.
I gave chase and yelled for them to stop again at which point they turned around in an aggressive posture, he said recalling definitively. There were three individuals and I put them down.
Continuing to approach the men, two of which were showing no signs of movement, Gonsalez and another Marine realized the third insurgent was not dead.
As we approached, the third person threw a grenade at us, he said. It detonated in between me and another Marine, exploding in front of me and behind the other Marine. Realizing the severity of the situation, I finished the job.
More Marines and Iraqi soldiers were on the scene and continued a hold on the lifeless insurgents and set up a perimeter of security.
I noticed my legs didnt feel the same, said Gonsalez, who is serving his second tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I moved to a covered position and got a better idea of the threat and my injuries. When I looked down, I noticed both legs bleeding. I was unsure of the status of the other Marines and thought I was the only one injured. When I yelled to another Marine he told me he was injured also.
Three Marines and two Iraqi soldiers were injured as a result of the blast.
Gonsalez received shrapnel to both calves and his upper left thigh and was treated by Cpl. Brian Andrews, a vehicle commander in the platoon.
Immediately I was concerned with Gonzos [Gonsalez] injuries, said Andrews, an Austin, Texas, native. All I saw was his cammies with blood all over them. At the time security was the number one priority. Once we guaranteed security, I found as much cover as we could get and evaluated his wounds.
Gonsalez and the other injured personnel were treated for their wounds and once reinforcements arrived, conducted a foot patrol back to their firm base.
The bottom line is he saw a situation develop and he did what he had to do, said Andrews. His actions were right on.
According to Gonsalez, this incident was typical of the insurgency in Iraq.
Everything about them [insurgents] exudes cowardry, he said. They are never willing to face us and when they do they get put in their place. This was a great demonstration of power for the Iraqi soldiers. They were just as dedicated as the Marines were, and they were injured just as we were. It was a good day for the Iraqi Army.
Gonsalez is currently redeploying back to the states and is looking forward to being with his family.
Ive been married for nine years, he said before leaving Camp Fallujah early this month. My daughter is five-years-old. Whatever I do over here is highly influenced by my wife. Im looking forward to spending time with both of them.
RECON MARINE PING!
God protect our men and women in uniform.
God Bless 'em all!
Great story about the bravery of our fighting men. God Bless them!
"they turned around in an aggressive posture, he said recalling definitively. There were three individuals and I put them down.
Bad idea to present an aggressive posture to a Marine. He had to put them down.