Besides the courage and skill of this Marine, this video reveals the basic Marine Corps modus operandi (MO). This incident happened in Afghanistan and the Marine involved, Gunnery Sgt. Robert Blanton, was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on that day.
When on a mounted, armored vehicle patrol this Blanton’s unit came across an adobe building and became suspicious of it. One of the Marines, led a small squad to the door of the building to investigate. As they approached they started taking very heavy fire from what turned out to be some 10 insurgents inside the building.
The rest of the unit, could not see, or tell what had happened to the Marine, Mike Ferskey, who had led that squad to the door. In the meantime the Marine patrol was getting raked by the heavy small arms fire from that building.
Blanton went into action. He drove his 7 ton armored vehicle into the side wall of the building, collapsing it entirely. At that moment one of the insurgents from inside ran out from the new opening in the building and jumped onto the truck and detonated the suicide vest he was wearing.
Blanton, uninjured, jumped down out of the truck and noticed another insurgent who was trying to surrender. Blanton, while still under fire, grabbed the man and disarmed him. That insurgent told the Marines that the whole building was rigged with grenades and IEDs.
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The intense fire fight would go on for some 30 minutes. Blanton explains in the video that in those situations, your Marine Corps training just kicks in. It is a subconscious reaction. He says that the old saying, “Perfect practice makes perfect” is true.
In the end, still not knowing what had happened to Ferskey, they decided to take the building. Blanton says, “We attacked this place the way we know how.”
They pretty much leveled the building, but the insurgents kept fighting. Blanton says that they still had fight left in them, and he admires them for that, but they are not walking the earth today. During the fight, Blanton’s M-4 rifle went down, and he finished the fight with his pistol.
When the dust cleared the Marines found that Ferskey had been killed in action and two other Marines had been wounded. Of the ten insurgents in the building at the beginning of the fire fight, only the one who surrendered survived.
For his actions that day, Gunnery Sgt. Blanton received the Silver Star.
Learn more in the video below.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.