American Grit Stories

Gunnery Sergeant Burghardt: Better Luck Next Time Asshole! 5/5 (5)

Do you all know why the United States of America loves the United States Marine Corps? It’s because every once in a while, when we as a nation have had it with the rest of the world’s malarkey, the United States Marine Corps is there to be the biggest, loudest most obnoxious “F*** You” in existence. That’s why the story of Gunnery Sergeant Burghardt is such an awesome tale. See it’s not so much about what happened, although that is certainly important, but rather the aftermath of the incident and how he responded.

After walking into what he later recalled as a trap, Burghardt was sent skyward by an improvised explosive device (IED). Well damn. They got me. In this deadly game of tag, the insurgents had finally gotten “Iron Mike” as he was known and while airborne he was pretty pissed at himself.  A lifetime of events play through the mind when an IED goes off. What seems to take an hour really just flies by in milliseconds. Mike didn’t want to end up like his father, a Vietnam veteran who had been paralyzed from the waist down. He didn’t want to have his father see him like that.

War is obviously a horrific and dastardly ordeal. It is not for the faint of heart or queasy. Even the bravest of men, do not always respond well when bullets and bombs start to threaten their fragile existence. However good old Gunny was a little bit different.

Gunnery Sergeant Burghardt

As he came to, he wiggled his toes and realized he’d be alright. Despite being offered a stretcher, Mike stood up, brushed himself off and gave the good ole’ one finger salute to the insurgent who’d just tagged him with an IED. Better luck next time asshole, Gunnery Sergeant Burghardt is still in this fight.

Read more stories of American Grit here:

ROY BOEHM: SETTING THE STANDARD

IRA HAYES: A FORGOTTEN HERO

NEIL FRUSTAGLIO: LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND

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The Author

John Fannin

John Fannin

John spent four years as a 0351, Infantry Assaulltman in the United States Marine Corps. He deployed twice to the city of Ramadi, Iraq with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines. After leaving the Marine Corps in 2008 John pursued a degree in Kinesiology from Texas Lutheran University. During his time at TLU, John was fortunate enough to play football for a year and serve the local community as a volunteer firefighter. After graduating John worked as a personal trainer for few years before coming to work at American Grit. John is also the proud owner of a great beard.