Real life examples of grace under pressure by US troops

Noemie Emery:
What is courage? In Valor, his book of the tales of grace under pressure that have been ignored, suppressed and largely omitted from the recognized history of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by a press that prefers to focus on traitors and victims, Washington lawyer Mark Lee Greenblatt hits on a number of things: an innate or learned ability to be calm under fire; the impact of training, which builds in some responses until some reactions become automatic; and a sense of attachment to cause and to comrades that crowds out all concerns for the self.

"If you reflect on the anecdotes of anyone who has faced death and lived to tell you about it, there is almost a universal response," a psychiatrist told Greenblatt. "They did what they had to do. They never felt it was heroic, and never even felt it was a choice." When Marine Corps infantryman James Hassell volunteered to carry a wounded man in full battle gear — a 260-pound burden — to a medevac 100 yards down a narrow street with snipers firing from the windows above him, there were no second thoughts: "I had a choice: … You can stay here ... and you’ll probably live … but would I even want to live if I could just sit here and watch a Marine die without even trying? What kind of life would I have?"

Army Pvt. Steven Sanford gave CPR to a friend who was bleeding to death under enemy fire. "He knew bullets were hitting him," but “it was completely disregarded” … he was trying to save Chris’ life, and everything else … was secondary. "'I’ve got better things to do than worry about pieces of metal sticking out of my vest."'
There is more.

Being able to operate in truly life threatening conditions is an aspect of fighting wars that the protected rarely experience.  The US is very good at preparing its war fighters for the rigors of combat but in the end it is the individuals that keep America safe still go out there an do extraordinary things.


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