Friday, April 22, 2005

Another Heroic Marine: Captain Brian Chontosh, USMC


A story about Captain Chontosh originally told by Bob Lonsberry has been making its way around the Internet, mostly by e-mail. This is the official Marine Corps version on which Lonsberry's story is based:

While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalition tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone. He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advance directly at the enemy position, enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy. He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack. When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.

Some have claimed this is an urban myth. Not so, says Snopes.

Captain Chontosh won the Navy Cross for his actions. The Navy Cross

was established by an Act of Congress in 1919, is the naval service's second highest award and may be awarded to any person who, while serving with the Navy or Marine Corps, distinguishes himself/herself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. To earn a Navy Cross the act to be commended must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual highly conspicuous among others of equal grade, rate, experience, or position of responsibility.

On 6 May 2004, Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh of Rochester, N.Y., received the Navy Cross "for extraordinary heroism while serving as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 25, 2003."

Just thought you should know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowell, I really enjoy your military heroes meme.

It is an amazing thing that there are such men and women who rise to the opportunity and earn these distinctions while it is equally tragic that such opportunities present themselves.

We must never forget to honor these people who serve and so honorably help shape our national identity.

Thanks for presenting these. Perhaps when you are done showcasing our current batch, there are some from the past who also deserve to be highlighted? 

Posted by Matthew Peek

Friday, April 22, 2005 5:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good idea, Matthew. I'll try to put together a summary post, linking to the earlier ones. Now, if I can just figure out a way to find them all . . . . 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Friday, April 22, 2005 5:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great post Lowell. I've linked to it here . 

Posted by John Schroeder (Blogotional)

Saturday, April 23, 2005 6:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some places list him as a graduate of R.I.T., however he is not listed in the 2003 alumni directory. 

Posted by ed shott

Monday, July 18, 2005 9:25:00 PM  

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