UNSUNG HEROES: The Heroic Last Stand Of 2 Marines In Ramadi

Unsung Heroes
Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, left, and Cpl. Jonathan Yale were killed April 22, 2008, by a suicide bomber in Ramadi, Iraq.
Photo composite via U.S. Marine Corps

On April 22, 2008, in Ramadi, Iraq, two Marine infantrymen stood their ground and opened fire on a truck carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives as it barreled toward their post and the 150 Marines and Iraqi police inside the perimeter.


The truck stopped just shy of Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, its windshield and the driver behind the wheel both blown away in a hail of gunfire. Then it detonated, killing the two Marines and leveling a city a block.

The attack, the Marines’ final stand, and their sacrifice all took place in a matter of seconds.

Haerter and Yale, were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for their actions, which were later recounted by Iraqi police present that day and captured on a security camera, according to Business Insider.

Before that day, Yale and Haerter had never met. They came from different backgrounds and deployed with different units, with Yale preparing to head home with the rest of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, and Haerter just beginning his seven-month tour with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. But their final act of courage, defiance, and selfless sacrifice bound the two together forever.

According to a 2009 CBS News report, 21-year-old Yale had a rough upbringing in Virginia, and Haerter, who was 19 when he was killed, came from a middle-class family in Long Island, New York. If it wasn’t for the Marines, it’s likely that the two never would have met.

But, they did meet and that same day they made a split-second decision to stand, fight, and ultimately die together.

"I was on post the morning of the attack," said Lance Cpl. Benjamin Tupaj, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, in a May 2008 article released by the Department of Defense. "I heard the [squad automatic weapon] go off at a cyclic rate and then the detonation along with a flash. It blew me at least three meters from where I was standing onto the ground. Then I heard a Marine start yelling 'we got hit, we got hit.'"

Shortly after the attack, Gen. John Kelly, the commander of all American and Iraqi forces at the time, met with those present that day, which he later described in a speech at the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, Missouri, published by Business Insider.

“By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside,” Kelly said in the speech. “They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. … Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight — for you.”

(New Line Cinema)

The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.

Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15 announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.

This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."

Read More Show Less

The Marine Corps' dune buggy drone jammer may have downed two Iranian drones in the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. military have officials announced.

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on July 18 when two Iranian drones came dangerously close, according to U.S. Central Command.

"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."

Read More Show Less

On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.

A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon is no longer topless. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Mark Esper as the United States' first permanent defense secretary in more than seven months.

Esper is expected to be sworn in as defense secretary later on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

"We are grateful for the Senate leadership and the Senate Armed Services Committee's willingness to quickly move through this process," Hoffman said.

Read More Show Less
(Paramount Pictures via YouTube)

The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.

But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?

Read More Show Less