Like 99.9% of Marines operating in Iraq, the men of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines are out there every day operating with courage and professionalism in a hostile environment. In this case, it was LT Posselt's platoon from India Company patrolling the streets of Haditha. Acting courageously in the midst of a firefight, the lieutenant performed heroically, though he declines any such accolades.
|HADITHA, Iraq, June 27, 2006 — Marines here say a lieutenant who was leading Marines and Iraqi soldiers through the volatile streets of Haditha, Iraq, June 14, showed uncommon valor when he ran into a barrage of enemy gunfire to pull a wounded Marine to safety.
1st Lt. Rick Posselt, a 25—year—old from Crystal River, Fla., said he is not the Marine who deserves the recognition.
Cpl. Michael Estrella, who was killed by sniper fire during that same patrol, is the real hero and deserves the recognition, said Posselt.
The mission Posselt, a platoon commander assigned to the Hawaii—based India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, led the Marines and their Iraqi Army counterparts on that day was like any other — a patrol through the winding streets of Haditha. On this particular patrol they were searching for a suspected insurgent. [....]
When Posselt came to an intersection in a marketplace, the Marines began receiving gunfire and saw Estrella, 20, fall to the ground.
Shortly after the initial 'cracks' of enemy gunfire pelted the ground below and spit up shards of concrete around him, Posselt said his platoon was shot at from another direction.
Posselt's first instinct was to get Estrella to safety — and he did so risking his own life in the process.
As the enemy gunfire continued, Posselt ran to the wounded Estrella and pulled him approximately 15 feet to safety, further exposing himself to more gunfire.
'I just did what my instinct told me to do,' said Posselt. 'I was just trying to take care of my Marines.'
Looking back, Posselt feels any other Marine in his position would have done the same thing that day.
'I just happened to be the Marine closest to Estrella when he fell,' said Posselt. 'I had to get him off that street and that was really the only thought going through my mind.'
John B. Dwyer 6 27 06