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thedrifter
04-04-06, 10:18 AM
Marine wounded in Iraq to return to D.M.
First Sgt. Brad Kasal will work as a military recruiter when he returns to his home state next month.

WILLIAM PETROSKI
REGISTER STAFF WRITER

April 4, 2006

First Sgt. Brad Kasal, a severely wounded Iowa Marine who was honored in February by the Iowa Legislature, is being transferred to Des Moines, where he will work on Marine Corps recruiting in a Midwestern region.

Kasal, 39, who grew up on a farm near Afton in southwest Iowa, will re-enlist in the Marines on May 1 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He will be promoted in the same ceremony to the rank of sergeant major. He has received orders to report to Iowa on May 31, where he will be the senior enlisted Marine in a multistate area that recruits more than 700 Marines annually.

"I am looking forward to this new challenge, but at the same time I am hoping I can recover to where I can get back with the operating forces when this challenge is over with," Kasal said Monday in a telephone interview from California. He said he hopes to spend more time with his father, Gerald Kasal, who has cancer.

Kasal is still recovering from severe wounds suffered on Nov. 13, 2004, when he was shot seven times while leading a mission to rescue three wounded Marines in an insurgent-held house in Fallujah, Iraq. He also sustained more than 40 shrapnel wounds when he bear-hugged a fellow Marine to protect him from a grenade explosion. He killed one Iraqi fighter in an exchange of gunfire at point-blank range.

The Iowa House and Senate passed resolutions on Feb. 13 citing Kasal for courage in combat and patriotic service. He was walking at the time with a cane because of injuries to his leg, which nearly required amputation after he was wounded.

He said Monday that his leg continues to improve and that he now walks mostly without a cane.

In the Midwest, Kasal will be involved in recruiting in an area covering most of Iowa and Nebraska and parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and South Dakota. He is a 1984 graduate of East Union High School, and he has spent 21 years in the Marines, seeing duty in more than 40 countries. He has served nearly his entire career as an infantryman, although he was a recruiter in Minnesota for three years in the mid-1990s.

"We're looking forward to having him on board. He obviously has the reputation of being a hard-charging Marine," said Staff Sgt. Bill Lisbon, a Marine spokesman in Des Moines.

Ellie