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And now from the "I can't believe it's not all bad news" department...
Brian Chontosh- yes, a real hero, not an Internet rumor. Sheesh, bad enough it doesn't make CNN but even when people hear the truth they still don't believe it! Hellooooo? We are really sending the best of our country to deal with the worst people in the world and they are ALL HEROES- BELIEVE IT!!! THANK YOU BRIAN!
 
Brian R. Chontosh  
 
 
 
Claim:   Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh of Rochester, N.Y., received the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in Iraq.

Status:   True.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2004]


Meet Brian Chontosh.

Churchville-Chili Central School class of 1991. Proud graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Husband and about-to-be father. First lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

And a genuine hero.

The secretary of the Navy said so yesterday.

At 29 Palms in California Brian Chontosh was presented with the Navy Cross, the second highest award for combat bravery the United States can bestow.

That's a big deal.

But you won't see it on the network news tonight, and all you read in Brian's hometown newspaper was two paragraphs of nothing. Instead, it was more blather about some mental defective MPs who acted like animals.

The odd fact about the American media in this war is that it's not covering the American military. The most plugged-in nation in the world is receiving virtually no true information about what its warriors are doing.

Oh, sure, there's a body count. We know how many Americans have fallen. And we see those same casket pictures day in and day out. And we're almost on a first-name basis with the pukes who abused the Iraqi prisoners. And we know all about improvised explosive devices and how we lost Fallujah and what Arab public-opinion polls say about us and how the world hates us.

We get a non-stop feed of gloom and doom.

But we don't hear about the heroes.

The incredibly brave GIs who honorably do their duty. The ones our grandparents would have carried on their shoulders down Fifth Avenue.

The ones we completely ignore.

Like Brian Chontosh.

It was a year ago on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee.

When all hell broke loose.

Ambush city.

The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him.

So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire.

It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.

And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them.

Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.

And he ran down the trench.

With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers.

And he killed them all.

He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.

At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.

When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.

But that's probably not how he would tell it.

He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Hoo-ah, and drive on.

"By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."

That's what the citation says.

And that's what nobody will hear.

That's what doesn't seem to be making the evening news. Accounts of American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet accounts of American difficulties are heralded as objectivity. It makes you wonder if the role of the media is to inform, or to depress ? to report or to deride. To tell the truth, or to feed us lies.

But I guess it doesn't matter.

We're going to turn out all right.

As long as men like Brian Chontosh wear our uniform.


Origins:   The Navy Cross, established by an Act of Congress in 1919, Capt. Brian Chontosh 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."

The details of the heroism that earned Capt. Chontosh his medal are provided on the Marine Corps News web site:
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.
The text of the message quoted at the head of this page comes from a 7 May 2004 article by Bob Lonsberry entitled "SOMETHING THAT DIDN'T MAKE THE NEWS." The correct attribution for this piece has been omitted from some of the versions circulated via e-mail.

Additional information:
    The Navy Cross   The Navy Cross
  (U.S. Navy)
    Rochester, N.Y., Marine Receives Navy Cross   Rochester, N.Y., Marine Receives Navy Cross
  (U.S. Marines)

Last updated:   15 May 2004
 
The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/chontosh.asp
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Urban Legends Reference Pages 1995-2004
by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson
This material may not be reproduced without permission


  References: Sources:
    Davis, Rick.   "Marines Awarded with Four Medals at Combat Center."
    The Desert Sun.   7 May 2004.

    Associated Press.   "Marine Honored by Navy for His Bravery in Iraq."
    [Redding] Record Searchlight.   12 May 2004.
   

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