The Few, The Proud -- Norfolk Marine tells story of rooftop fight in Iraq

NORFOLK — Outnumbered, low on ammo, perched on a rooftop for hours in a battle against Iraqi insurgents, [Marine Cpl.] Lonnie Young figured his number was up.

It was April 4, 2004, and the war had entered its deadliest month for Americans. Days earlier, four contractors passing through Fallujah had been ambushed, killed, and strung from a bridge.


Next, Young dashed across the camp to Blackwater’s ammunition supply room, strapped about 150 pounds of bullets to his body, and sprinted back to the roof.


“I just felt like we were losing ground, and I thought, 'If I’m going to die, I’m not going down without a fight.’ I knew we were seriously outnumbered. They were coming at us with pretty much everything they had. We were seriously struggling to keep our ground.”


When a group of U.S. Army military police officers joined the fight, Young used his experience as a weapons instructor to talk them through it. Conserve your ammo. Slow and steady before you squeeze. Adjust your sites for range and distance. Take breaks so your gun barrel doesn’t melt.


Even if he gets out, and puts his degree in design engineering from Eastern Kentucky University to use, Young will never forget how he got to be a sniper, medic, ammunition supplier, weapons coach, and communications specialist – all on the same day.

Said Young: “I’d always wanted to be a Marine.”

Go read the whole thing. Where do we get such men? Where would we be without them?

(Cross-posted at The Mudville Gazette)


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