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05-11-07, 08:55 AM #1
Sgt. Maj. Bradley A. Kasal imparts knowledge
Sgt. Maj. Bradley A. Kasal imparts knowledge
Story by: Cpl. Ray Lewis
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 10, 2007) -- Navy Cross recipient Sgt. Maj. Bradley A. Kasal gave a presentation on leadership to approximately 100 Marines aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton May 4.
Kasal made stops at MCB Camp Lejeune and MCB Quantico prior to coming here, but noted that Pendleton will always have part of his heart.
“Camp Pendleton will always have a special place with me,” Kasal said.
It’s simply because Kasal has spent much of his military career with the 1st Marine Division.
“For someone like him to give so much credit to his Marines that he served with shows that he is extremely humble,” said Sgt. Nathaniel B. Burford, a 22-year-old communications technician with 1st Intelligence Battalion, Marine Headquarters Group, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, who is from Fruita, Colo. “He understands that he did his job the way he’d expect any other Marine to do their job.”
During the period of instruction, Kasal reinforced setting goals and not being discouraged by criticism, Burford said.
“The biggest thing I got out of the (class) was how he set goals to work through recovery and to keep testing yourself no matter what everyone else is saying,” said Burford, who used Kasal’s “House of Hell” photo as motivation before every patrol when he was deployed.
One Marine at the class was lucky enough to have Kasal as a leader when he was deployed. The class was the first time he saw Kasal in a while.
“It’s good, because I haven’t seen him in a year,” said Staff Sgt. Sam J. Mortimer, a 31-year-old drill instructor with 1st Recruit Training Battalion at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, who is from Anchorage, Alaska. “He’s Sgt. Maj. Kasal, the epitome of leadership.”
For others it was a dream come true.
“It’s a great experience for myself to come out here. It puts a face to a hero,” said Sgt. Thomas L. Parsons, a 24-year-old communications technician with Ordnance Company, 1st Maintenance Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, who is from Hope, Ark. “It gives us a voice to hear and puts it in real-life perspective.”
Parsons said there’s a big difference between Kasal and some of the “heroes” kids look up to today.
“He’s no comic book superhero,” Parsons said. “It’s a modern-day, walking, real person. There are no special effects in his story.”
After the class, Kasal signed copies of his book, “My Men are My Heroes,” written by Nathaniel R. “Nat” Helms.
Kasal is more of a doer than he is a talker, but he did take a moment to define the word he lives by.
“Leadership is setting the example, striving to make your men the best they can be,” said the 39-year-old from Afton, Iowa. “Take care of them … that’s pretty much leadership.”
05-11-07, 08:57 AM #2
1/1 tests Marines' resiliency, endurance, knowledge
Story by: Cpl. Geoffrey P. Ingersoll
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 10, 2007) -- Exhausted and out-of-breath, the toughest Marines pushed forward while others were forced to stop altogether.
“Not second squad,” yelled Cpl. Ryan J. Carlisle to his squad. “Do we stop to puke? Hell no, second squad doesn’t stop to puke!”
Marines of 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division held an Infantry Skills Endurance Test squad competition here May 27. The winning squad received a free dinner at a local steakhouse.
Everybody loves a prize, but it isn’t so much about the steak as it is about unit cohesion and good training, said Lance Cpl. Nelson L. Smith, a fire-team leader with 1st Bn., 1st Marines.
“First off, we learn what their weaknesses are and how they react in a stressful environment,” Smith said. He said knowing his Marines’ weaknesses helps for retraining purposes and then comes into play later in a combat environment.
“Having that knowledge before we get in country is a necessity,” Carlisle agreed. Carlisle, a 23-year-old from Sheridan, Ind., will soon lead Smith and the rest of his squad into Iraq and the rigors of desert combat.
“We need to know who our strong guys are and who our weak guys are, because it better enables us to accomplish our mission,” Carlisle said. The exercise also showed the younger, less experienced Devil Dogs what the Marine Corps expects in today’s combat.
“These are basic infantry skills which we should all know inside and out, and it shouldn’t even faze us if we’re tired, out of breath or sweating,” Carlisle said.
The exercise spanned approximately eight miles and tested the Marines in six primary facets of war-fighting knowledge. Assembly and disassembly of weapons, land navigation, calling in a casualty evacuation, marksmanship, anti-tank rocket handling, hand-to-hand combat and an obstacle course all stood in between the Marines and their steak dinner.
“It tests our endurance and our squad cohesion, under a timeline during strenuous activities,” Carlisle said.
Running in full combat gear from station to station fatigued the riflemen, whereas written tests on weapons and cultural awareness forced them to focus. The Marines had almost five hours to complete the entire course. Carlisle’s squad finished in four.
As for the squad’s place or the prize, these leaders didn’t care much for free steak, they had a different prize in mind.
“It’s up to you to teach them what you know,” said Smith, a 21-year-old from Winter Springs, Fla. “So they come back alive, so that you don’t have to explain to their parents why they didn’t.”
05-11-07, 10:30 AM #3
"Hell's House" survivers reunite for Kasal Submitted by:
Story by: Cpl. Ray Lewis
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 10, 2007) -- Fallujah’s “House of Hell” was the last place three certain Marines were together. They were wounded and pinned down by enemy gunfire and tangled in a web of death and distraught.
Nearly a year later, Navy Cross recipient Sgt. Maj. Bradley A. Kasal reunited for the first time with former Sgt. R.J. Mitchell, also a Navy Cross recipient, and former Lance Cpl. Alex Nicoll May 4.
“We have one of the tightest bonds that any Marines can have,” said Mitchell, 27, who is from Omaha, Neb. “We were the only three people in the room other than the Iraqi insurgent that was killed. The only three that knew what exactly happened. We all went in together and came out together.”
Mitchell said he, Kasal and Nicoll would not be alive to enjoy their bond if it weren’t for two Marines who came to aid them.
“If I could see those Marines I would shake their hands … I would,” said Mitchell, who was a squad leader at the time. “They came into that house three times to help out. It was Cpl. Schaffer and Marquez.”
Thanks to those Marines, Nicoll and Mitchell were able to become close friends when they shared a home in Arizona.
“We’re like best friends,” said Nicoll, 25, who is from McKinleyville. “We’ve been through a lot together – three deployments together and motorcycle mechanics school together.”
Nicoll said the relationship between Kasal, Mitchell and him stretches beyond any boundary.
“It’s definitely a life-long thing,” he added.
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