photo by Gunnery Sgt. Jeremy Vought​

When 29-year-old, then-1st Lt. Brian Chontosh’s convoy was caught in an intense ambush Mar. 25, 2003, during its push north near the Iraqi city of Ad Diwaniyah, his platoon couldn’t move forward because coalition tanks blocked the path. In response, Chontosh ordered the driver of his humvee to steer directly into the berm from which Saddam Hussein’s regime soldiers were staging their attack.

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