Maybe you'd like to hear about something other than idiot Reservists and
naked Iraqis.
Maybe you'd like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored the
uniform he wears.
Meet Brian Chontosh.
Churchville-Chili Central School class of 1991. Proud graduate of the
Rochester Institute of Technology. Husband and about-to-be father. First
lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.
And a genuine hero.
The secretary of the Navy said so yesterday.
At 29 Palms in California Brian Chontosh was presented with the Navy Cross,
the second highest award for combat bravery the United States can bestow.
That's a big deal.
But you won't see it on the network news tonight, and all you read in
Brian's hometown newspaper was two paragraphs of nothing. Instead, it was
more blather about some mental defective MPs who acted like animals.
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.
The incredibly brave GIs who honorably do their duty. The ones our
grandparents would have carried on their shoulders down Fifth Avenue.
The ones we completely ignore.
Like Brian Chontosh.
It was a year ago on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon
leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee.
When all hell broke loose.
Ambush city.
The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket
propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do
or die and it was up to him.
So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to
safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came
under direct enemy machine gun fire.
It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.
And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the
humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And
he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them.
Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh
was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly
into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. 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.
And he ran down the trench.
With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers. And he killed
them all.
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.
But that's probably not how he would tell it.
He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got
them out of trouble. Hoo-ah, and drive on.
"By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the
face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh
reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the
Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."
That's what the citation says.
And that's what nobody will hear.
That's what doesn't seem to be making the evening news. Accounts of
American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet accounts of
American difficulties are heralded as objectivity. It makes you wonder if
the role of the media is to inform, or to depress ? To report or to deride.
To tell the truth, or to feed us lies.
But I guess it doesn't matter.
We're going to turn out all right.
As long as men like Brian Chontosh wear our uniform."