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OPERATION: IRAQI FREEDOM
Hero's story told on Net
Column hailing Marine's deeds in war makes round
A column hailing a U.S. warrior in Iraq is making its way around the Internet, as the writer hopes to publicize heroic deeds of U.S. military personnel to counter the media coverage of the Abu Ghraib prison-abuse scandal.
Capt. Brian Chontosh, receives Navy Cross.
"Maybe you'd like to hear about something other than idiot Reservists and naked Iraqis," begins Bob Lonsberry's May 7 column.
"Maybe you'd like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored the uniform he wears.
"Meet Brian Chontosh."
Lonsberry, a talk-radio host in Salt Lake City, Utah, goes on to tell the heroic story of Chontosh, a captain in the Marines, who recently received the Navy Cross for his bravery in combat.
The columnist decries the media for failing to report the brave actions of U.S. fighters:
The odd fact about the American media in this war is that it's not covering the American military. The most plugged-in nation in the world is receiving virtually no true information about what its warriors are doing.
Oh, sure, there's a body count. We know how many Americans have fallen. And we see those same casket pictures day in and day out. And we're almost on a first-name basis with the pukes who abused the Iraqi prisoners. And we know all about improvised explosive devices and how we lost Fallujah and what Arab public-opinion polls say about us and how the world hates us.
We get a non-stop feed of gloom and doom.
But we don't hear about the heroes.
Lonsberry relays the story of Chontosh as platoon leader guiding his men into Baghdad a year ago. The unit came under heavy fire "ambush city," as Lonsberry puts it.
Chontosh ordered his humvee to drive directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them, leading his men in a counter-assault.
Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.
He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.
At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.
When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.
Lonsberry's account of Chontosh's valor has been posted on sites other than his own as his desire to get at least one Marine's story out strikes a chord on the Net.
"I was just doing my job; I did the same thing every other Marine would have done," said Chontosh upon receiving his medal two weeks ago. "It was just a passion and love for my Marines."