A WALL OF FIRE
For I will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.
This is an excerpt from a Memorial Day article by Fox News correspondent Chris Stirewalt. The brave men he writes about became a wall of fire around their fellow Marines. Hundreds were saved.
Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly delivered a speech to the Semper Fi Society — a group for former active duty Marines — in St. Louis on Nov. 13, 2010, just four days after his son, Lt. Robert Kelly, USMC, was killed by an IED in Afghanistan.
Kelly delivered his speech despite his grief and never spoke of the loss of his son, but the general chose to close with the story of Jon Yale and Jordan Haerter, two young Marines who had been under his command in Ramadi, Iraq.
In the span of six seconds on April 22, 2008, Yale and Haerter acted to stop a dump truck loaded with 1,000 pounds of explosives and driven by a suicide bomber from entering the Marine compound. If the suicide bomber had made it through the gates, hundreds of Marines would have surely been killed. But he didn’t, because these men did their duty.
In making his recommendations for the Navy Cross for the two Marines, Kelly had been able to review the recordings from security cameras made just before the blast destroyed them.
Here’s how Kelly described it:
“You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads, I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: ‘Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.’
‘The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.
“It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time, the truck was halfway through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were — some running right past the Marines.
“They had three seconds left to live.
“For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop — the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the SOB who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers, American and Iraqi, bedded down in the barracks, totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground.
“If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe, because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence, Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons.
“They had only one second left to live.
“The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God.
“Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty, into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight for you.”