Does the name Jim Gant ring a bell? If not, you have lots of company, and that is a shame. Major Jim Gant is a hero and a half. Blackfive alerts us to a man who serves as a model of bravery and compassion for everyone, military or civilian:
Major Jim Gant had a lot of decisions to make on one fateful day. One of them was to make sure that the insurgents detonated an IED on his humvee, rather than against civilians or the police.
"The IED had to go off and I wanted it to be on an up-armored vehicle. I wanted it to be mine."
Major Gant is not only someone to be recognized as a hero, but as someone who is like most soldiers I know, ready to give their lives for the Iraqis because they believe the mission is worth it.
Late last year, Major James Gant and his men were returning home to Baghdad after weeks of fighting insurgents. Gant and his advisory team were riding in up-armored HMMWVs. These were not the HMMWVs of Jessica Lynch's era. These were mini-tanks on tires with bullet proof-glass, blast-proof armor plate and turret mounted machineguns. His men, Iraqi National Police, were riding in soft-skinned trucks.
Al-Qaeda had planned an elaborate running ambush in which they hoped to destroy the unit that had been their nemesis for more than a month. They had prepared three separate ambush sites along a four kilometer stretch of road. Gant and his commandos were forced to run a gauntlet of machine gun fire, mortar attacks and IEDs. The story of Gant's fight that day is an amazing tale of heroism, filled with scenes you would expect to see on the silver screen. Gant repeatedly risked his life to save others. The insurgents had planted IEDs hoping that an explosion would force the embattled convoy to stop.
Gant ordered his driver to drive straight for the first IED. As they rolled within twenty feet, the device detonated. Miraculously, Gant's HMMWV was unscathed. Gant kept the column moving through a vicious gun battle. Another IED lie only five hundred yards ahead. Again, they went after the planted explosive and, again, a thunderous explosion failed to disable Gant's vehicle. Almost clear of the ambush, Gant noticed a third IED. He continued to push forward, bringing his convoy safely through the torrent of fire. Had Gant hesitated, good men would have died.
The media were too busy with Paris Hilton to bother with Maj. Gant's story. What does that tell us?Hat tip: Alan Fraser