13 November, 2005

"I couldn't pass out. I was in charge."

I had seen this powerful picture in many places, and I longed to know this young Marine's story. This last week I finally stumbled across the rest of the story. And what a story it is!

So too will a contemporary Marine be remembered, not only for his extraordinary act of courage and composure under fire, but for a few plainly spoken words that captured the hearts of citizens and generals alike: "Sir, I couldn’t pass out. I was in charge."
A more detailed description of the battle in which Corporal James Wright continued to lead his squad despite his massive injuries is here:
"I opened my eyes and looked at my hands and I saw they were both blown off," he said. "I remember thinking, 'damn, both of them?'"
The first article linked above says he was offered a temporary position as a martial arts instructor in the Marine Corps when he completed his recovery. But this was no sympathy move or an attempt to "give him something to do" until he could be medically discharged. He's still on the job. A more recent article has more details about his current work as a highly-effective instructor.

In June he received a Bronze Star with "V" for Valor, for his actions the day he was injured.

What an amazing story, and what an amazing Marine...

UPDATE: I was up to my eyeballs in the first Valour-IT fundraiser when Blackfive posted on this Marine in August 2005, and so didn't see it. He includes some information about Wright's marriage, and the reception he received at a gathering of his fellow Marines.