One of the most gripping images of Operation Iraqi Freedom showing wounded Marine 1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal, covered with blood, being carried out of Fallujah’s famous Hell House by his fellow soldiers. The sculpture commemorating this event will be unveiled Friday aboard Camp Lejeune. It will be installed in front of the base’s Warrior Hope and Care Center.
The legendary photo was snapped by freelance combat photographer Lucian Read during the second battle of Fallujah when Bradley Kasal entered the building where he saw trapped Marines inside, fighting with Iraqi insurgents in close quarters combat. Kasal and a few other Marines combed through the structure to find and rescue their wounded brothers-in-arms, getting hit repeatedly as they went by enemy gunfire and shrapnel.
1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal would receive the Navy Cross for bravery that day under fire and despite severe wounds to both legs. He jumped in without hesitation in order to help his fellow Marines.
The men who created sculpture, John Phelps from Wyoming, said the project has special meaning for him. He was commissioned to the project by the national nonprofit organization Hope for the Warriors. Phelps is a Vietnam veteran, who lost his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Chance Phelps on the same the photo was taken. His son died to combat in Iraq in 2004. The journey of Lance Cpl. Phelps home from the battlefield after he was killed by enemy fire is portrayed in the 2009 HBO film Taking Chance, starring Kevin Bacon.
“It’s an honor for me to do it, it’s a presentation that I can make to recognize our service people and our wounded,” John Phelps said.
The Hope and Care Centers are facilities for rehabilitation and recovery of wounded troops, planned and conceived by Hope for the Warriors and funded by the Marine Corps. The Camp Pendleton Hope and Care Center opened last October, and the Lejeune center opened a few months later in December. An identical sculpture is expected to be unveiled in front of the Pendleton center later this month.
The picture also becomes known as the No Man Left Behind.