Jun 27 , 2023
Corporal Brady A. Gustafson’s tale is one of valor, grit, and determination during the War in Afghanistan. His courageous actions in combat embody the selfless service and devotion to duty that define the United States Marine Corps.
On July 21, 2008, Cpl. Gustafson was serving as a machine gunner with the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment in the village of Shewan, Afghanistan. His unit was conducting a patrol when they were ambushed by approximately 30 enemy fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, and AK-47s.
Gustafson's vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, severely wounding him and his comrades. Despite the intense pain and shock, Gustafson refused to be evacuated and took control of his vehicle’s M240 machine gun. Bleeding and limping, he maintained his post and returned a hailstorm of fire against the enemy.
During the engagement, a fellow Marine was seriously wounded in an open area. With enemy fire still raining down, Gustafson left the relative safety of his vehicle to reach his fallen comrade. He exposed himself to the enemy fire, shielded his brother with his body, and provided life-saving aid.
Undeterred by his injuries, Cpl. Gustafson continued to fight back against the enemy onslaught. He alternated between firing his machine gun, throwing grenades, and administering first aid to his wounded comrades.
His relentless defense and valor under fire were pivotal in turning the tide of the battle. His actions not only saved the lives of his fellow Marines but also drove the enemy fighters to retreat.
For his extraordinary heroism, unwavering commitment to his comrades, and his valor above and beyond the call of duty, Cpl. Brady A. Gustafson was awarded the Navy Cross.
His citation reads in part, "By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Corporal Gustafson reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."
Cpl. Gustafson’s story is a testament to the courage, fortitude, and self-sacrifice of service members. His legacy serves as an inspiration