Saturday, March 27, 2010

LT. Brian Chontosh - Hero

It strikes me as very sad what popular culture today worships as their "heroes". I am often saddened, if not disgusted by many of the Hollywood stars and the professional athletes nowadays. I have never been one that has been much impressed by celebrities anyways.

It is those who have a code that they live by, a sense of honor, a sense of duty, a willingness to serve and sacrifice for others. Those are the people that are my heroes. Christ is my ultimate hero.

It is really too bad that the media chooses to celebrate the former rather than the latter these days. It is the policeman, doctor, fireman, preacher, and of course our uniformed military men and women that are most deserving of our respect and admiration.

With that being said, here is just one more hero that the pop culture generations have overlooked. His name is Lieutenant Brian Chontosh, and I guarantee that his fellow Marines who's lives his actions probably saved recognize him for the hero he is. Of course, in my opinion, everyone that wears such a uniform and willingly puts himself in harm's way in service of others is the very definition of a hero.

With that being said, below is the text of the citation presented to Lieutenant Chontosh for his being awarded the Navy Cross, which is the second highest honor awarded in the Navy or Marine Corps. Sadly, many of the men that are awarded this medal are done so posthumously.

Thankfully, Lieutenant (now Captain) Chontosh lived to tell about his endeavors and having known some Marines in my day, I suspect he doesn't really consider what he did anything heroic, rather only necessary at that precise moment in time.

Semper Fidelis, Captain Chontosh! You are amongst the list of my heroes, sir! Below is the citation for his awarding of The Navy Cross.

The President of the United States
Takes Pleasure in Presenting
The Navy Cross

Brian R. Chontosh
First Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps

For Services as Set Forth in the Following

For extraordinary heroism as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 25 March 2003. While leading his platoon north on Highway I toward Ad Diwaniyah, First Lieutenant Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades, and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone. He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, First Lieutenant Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy. He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, First Lieutenant Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack. When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, First Lieutenant Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Now doesn't such a hero warrant the media attention that has been wasted on Tiger Woods and Jesse James' sexual exploits as of late? Or have we as a nation truly lost touch of what is important and what constitutes a hero?

1 comment:

Dave Splash said...

I agree that he should get more media attention than Tiger Woods and Jesse James. I have seen enough of those two losers for a lifetime.