View Full Version : In heat of battle, a hero emerges

10-04-06, 11:13 AM
In heat of battle, a hero emerges <br />
By TONY PERRY , Los Angeles Times <br />
<br />
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One November day in 2004, in 30 minutes of close combat, Marine Pfc. Christopher Adlesperger, a...

10-04-06, 11:17 AM
Valiant Marine gets Medal of Honor nod
By Tony Perry
Los Angeles Times
Article Last Updated:10/04/2006 02:09:26 AM MDT

Albuquerque - One November day in 2004, in 30 minutes of close combat, Marine Pfc. Christopher Adlesperger, a soft-spoken, religious young man who loved poetry and art, attacked an enemy stronghold in Fallujah, Iraq, and killed at least 11 insurgents.

He killed them with his M-16 rifle and with his grenade launcher.

He killed insurgents who were heavily armed and who had just killed his close friend, Lance Cpl. Erick Hodges.

He protected two wounded squad members from attack and saved innumerable Marines.

When it was over, Adlesperger's face had been bloodied by shrapnel, and he had bullet holes in the sleeve and collar of his uniform. But he refused to be evacuated until Hodges' body was recovered.

"It was a tremendous bit of fighting," said Col. Patrick Malay, the battalion commander.

For his bravery, Adlesperger, 20, of Albuquerque, is among a handful of Marines who have been nominated for the Medal of Honor in Iraq.

A nomination does not ensure that an award will be made. No Marine has been awarded the Medal of Honor for combat occurring since the Vietnam War.

The nation's highest recognition of bravery is reserved for those who have shown conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. In fact, two- thirds of the Medals of Honor awarded to Marines since the beginning of World War II have been posthumous.

If an award is made to Adlesperger, his will also be posthumous.

A month after the firefight for which he was nominated, Adlesperger led Marines in storming another building where insurgents were hiding. He was shot in the heart and died instantly.

Only after his death did family members learn of his bravery. At first they were shocked. This was the same person who had once cringed at the thought of shooting birds on a hunting trip. Then they recognized in the details of the firefight the determined youth they knew and loved.

"That was Chris. Whatever he did, he always went in with the idea that nobody was going to beat him, nobody," said Dennis Adlesperger, 53, his uncle.

Shortly after dawn on Nov. 10, 2004, the Marines of Kilo Company in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, pushed out. The battalion had drawn one of the most dangerous sectors, the Jolan neighborhood in Fallujah. The Marines would sweep methodically through Fallujah, searching each house for insurgents in what they called "the squeegee tactic."

Adlesperger killed four insurgents who fled into the courtyard between two buildings, each with a shot to the head. By one estimate, he killed 11 insurgents. The number may be higher - it had been an insurgent command-and-control center.

In early December, Central Command ordered a second round of "squeegee" to catch insurgents who had been overlooked or who had managed to sneak back into the city.

"We moved across the Line of Departure, and 20 minutes later Chris was dead," Malay said.

He was hit in his flak vest by multiple rounds. The impact spun him around, and one round struck his side, where there were no protective plates.

He died from a bullet to the heart.


This is only a PRE

10-05-06, 01:15 AM
A Profile in Courage
Written by Bruce Daniels - ABQnewsSeeker
Wednesday, 04 October 2006
Fallen ABQ Marine is nominated for Medal of Honor.

Friends and family members were surprised when 2003 Eldorado High School graduate Christopher Adlesperger enlisted in the Marines after a semester at the University of New Mexico.

They were stunned when they learned that the Marine lance corporal had been killed in early December 2004 by machine-gun fire in western Iraq at the age of 20, according to an Albuquerque Journal account of his funeral.

And, now, many will be astonished to learn of the heroism displayed by the soft-spoken, religious young man who has been nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in the terrible fighting in Fallouja, Iraq, just a month before his death.

He is just one of a handful of Marines to be nominated for the nation's highest military honor -- one no combat Marine has received since Vietnam, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times this week.

Adlesperger is being nominated for his attack on an enemy stronghold in which he killed at least 11 insurgents who had just killed his best friend and protecting at least two wounded members of his squad and saving innumerable other Marine lives, according to the Times.

It was only after he died that family members learned of his bravery, the Times said.

At first they were shocked, according to the Times' long profile of Adlesperger, because the young man they knew once cringed at the idea of shooting birds on a hunting trip.

But when news of his battlefield exploits sunk in, his 53-year-old uncle Dennis Adlesperger told the Times, "That was Chris. Whatever he did, he always went in with the idea that nobody was going to beat him, nobody."

Adlesperger was the eighth service person with New Mexico ties to be killed in Iraq.