Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, John Basilone, Chesty Puller, Brad Kasal are just a few legendary Marines. While there are numerous other noted Marines, there are two devil dogs who should be mentioned with these legends for their heroic dedication to duty. Unfortunately, most Americans will never know or appreciate the extraordinary heroism of two Marines in Ramadi on April 22, 2008. Their journey to immortality began with the Marine Corps tradition of standing on the yellow footprints at MCRD Parris Island. A Marine Drill Instructor would have told them how “Tens of thousands of Marines began outstanding service to our country on the very footprints where you are standing. You will carry on their proud tradition.” Jonathan Yale and Jordan Haerter would carry on those proud traditions.
Jonathan Yale from Burkeville, Virginia would enlist in the Marine Corps on July 24, 2006 and attend Boot Camp at Parris Island. He would earn his Eagle, Globe and Anchor as a member of Second Battalion and graduate on October 20, 2006. He would deploy to Anbar Province where he would participate in over 150 mounted and dismounted patrols.
Jordan Haerter grew up in Sag Harbor, New York and enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from Pierson High School. He would graduate from Boot Camp at Paris Island on December 1, 2006. He would deploy with his unit to Ramadi, Iraq in March 2008.
On the morning of April 22, 2008, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter were standing guard duty at Post Echo, the entry point to Joint Security Station Nasser in Ramadi. Two Marines from different parts of America doing their duty, guarding the outpost housing 50 Marines and 100 Iraqi Police Officers. A suicide bomber in a water tanker truck came from the farm road and accelerated seeking to crash into the Joint Security Station. A terrorist with 2,000 pounds of explosives speeding towards the Marines and their Iraqi Police allies.
As General John Kelly said, “with steel in their backs” the two Marines instinctively raised their weapons and engaged the threat. In six seconds, the two Marines never flinched, moved to cover or sought to save themselves. LCpl. Haerter raised his M4 and with precision fired into the cab of the truck. Cpl. Yale engaged the threat with an M249 SAW. An Iraqi Police officer stated “I was able to see a Mercedes water tanker the color was light blue, and the water tank itself was white. It was entering at a high rate of speed, and as it was entering the Marine guards at the gate started firing at its direction.”
While some Iraqi police officers fired on the threat, others sought cover and moved past the Marines firing seeking safety.
The suicide bomber failed to breach the compound. The truck bomb came to a complete stop just in front of Post Echo and then detonated. An Iraqi police officer in his statement about the two Marines said, “Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” An Iraqi police officer stated that “if the Marines had not stood their ground to their death the truck would have wiped out the JSS and everyone in it.”
President Reagan once said, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem.” Corporal Yale and Lance Corporal Haerter made a difference through their courageous acts of heroism. Their decisions and actions all within six seconds saved 150 individuals. The yellow footprints at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island got much larger for the thousands of future Marines being told” Get off the bus and on the yellow footprints.” Marine Drill Instructors should now bark out to new recruits “get on the footprints where once stood Cpl. Yale and LCpl. Haerter-two American heroes.” For these two American heroes in six seconds have upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and our nation.
Director Joshua DeFour has made a short realistic film about these two Marines. The premiere of “The 11th Order: Six Seconds to Live” takes places tomorrow May 19th at Hogg Memorial Auditorium, Austin, Texas. One can also reserve a copy of this film at http://www.filmmakerscollab.org/films/the-11th-order
If you can’t get to the premiere, order a copy of this short film and spread the word about two America heroes – Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter.
Jonathan Yale, Jordan Haerter, Dan Daly, Smedley Butler, John Basilone, Chesty Puller, Brad Kasal and numerous others. Our nation is forever in their debt.