IRAQ: Without hesitation
Two young Marines killed in the explosion of a suicide vehicle are being praised for saving the lives of dozens of Marines and Iraqi police by preventing the vehicle from penetrating a police compound in Ramadi.
Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter (above) and Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale were standing guard early Tuesday morning when a blue dump truck packed with 2,000 pounds of explosives came speeding toward the compound. The two quickly went through the "escalation of force" procedures: waving their arms, shouting and shooting flares.
When the truck refused to stop, Haerter and Yale stood in its path and opened fire. The truck rolled to a stop about 30 feet from the entry point and exploded, spreading destruction about 130 feet in all directions, demolishing a mosque and injuring 20 Iraqi civilians.
Haerter, 19, of Sag Harbor, N.Y., was killed instantly. Yale, 21, of Burkeville, Va., died moments later. Both were from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
An official after-action report says the two acted without hesitation or concern for their own lives and saved the lives of 33 Marines and 21 Iraqi police inside the compound:
"Recognizing the danger to their fellow Marines and partnered Iraqi police, Cpl. Yale and Lance Cpl. Haerter fearlessly gave their lives in their defense."
—Tony Perry in San Diego
Update 5/11/08: Haerter and Yale have been nominated by Marines to receive the Silver Star for combat bravery.
Photo: Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter, before deploying to Iraq. Photo credit: Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.)