Nominated for the MOH
Marine Lance Cpl. Erick Hodges, left, and Lance
Cpl. Ryan Sunnerville, right, pose with Pfc.
Christopher Adlesperger on Nov. 8, 2004. Two
days later, in an attack in Fallouja, Adlesperger
killed at least 11 insurgents. Hodges was killed
and Sunnerville was wounded.
His Corps Value Was Bravery
Chris Adlesperger's family, shocked to learn of his heroics in Iraq, later saw how it all made sense. In death, he's been nominated for the Medal of Honor.
By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
October 3, 2006
On Nov. 10, 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 Fallouja, Iraq, and killed at least 11 insurgents.
He killed them with his M-16 and with his grenade launcher. He killed them at such close range he could hear the blood gurgling in their mouths and noses.
He killed insurgents who were heavily armed and probably high on drugs — 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. He refused to be evacuated until Hodges' body was recovered.
"It was a tremendous bit of fighting," said Col. Patrick Malay, the battalion commander. "He was a quiet kid, but he was remarkable. He was one tough bastard."
For his bravery, Adlesperger 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 Vietnam.
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 too will be posthumous.
A month after the firefight for which he has been 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 here 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.
posted by Steve @ 10:06:00 AM