May 8, 2005, Mothers Day – Al Qaim, Iraq – near the Syrian border – south of the “Golden Gate Bridge.”
It's 4 a.m. on the first day of Operation Matador, also known as “The Battle of Al Qaim” where Marine Staff Sergeant Chad Brumpton was tank commander of Company “C” 4th Tank Battalion. His platoon was attached to Company “A” 1st Tank Battalion. Staff Sergeant Chad Brumpton was the tank section leader for the reaction force of two tanks and four Humvees.
Their mission: Assist a team from Camp Raider in securing a 50-foot bridge on the Euphrates River, due to the team from Camp Raider getting stuck somewhere in route to the Golden Gate Bridge.
As soon as the team reached the city it was a fight to the bridge. Chad's team was able to get to the “Golden Gate Bridge”, secure the bridge and waited for the team from Camp Raider to arrive – which ended up taking five hours. It was five hours of sporadic gun fire, mortar rounds impacting, and rockets whizzing by. After turning the bridge over to the Camp Raider team, Chad's section started to move out.
“All of the sudden someone sets off an IED (improvised explosive device),” says Chad. “It punched a hole through the tank, right under my left foot.”
The blast thrust Chad's head up into the hatch, knocking him unconscious... Chad woke up two days later in pain on a flight to Germany's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Yes, Chad was alive. But his injuries were severe.
“Both my legs from the knee down were shattered to little pieces. My left hand, thumb, and wrist were shredded up and broken. I received four compression fractures in my lower back.”
Over the next two years, Chad endured 19 surgeries – many were attempts to salvage his legs...
Here is the story and more in Chad Brumpton and his fellow wounded Marines' own words.