The Marine Corps is full of extraordinary people who are willing to do whatever it takes in the name of freedom and the ones they love. In 2004, one Marine, Sgt. Kenneth Conde, Jr., demonstrated how much he was willing to sacrifice.
April 6, 2004, Conde, a Marine with 3rd Mobile Assault Platoon, Mobile Assault Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, was deployed to Ar Ramadi, Iraq when he and his unit were ordered to evacuate two casualties from Company G.
When Conde and his platoon reached the casualty evacuation site they were ambushed from all directions. Without hesitation Conde took the lead, defeating two enemy combatants. As he and his squad made forward progress, they again started to receive heavy enemy fire. This time Conde was wounded.
“I was running and I watched as I got shot in the left shoulder,” Conde said. “I remember seeing a red mist coming from my back.”
Despite being wounded, Conde continued to fight, killing another enemy combatant before falling to the ground. He managed to rise to his feet and fired several rounds at the enemy before falling again.
Marines and their corpsman provided medical care to Conde. After they treated his wounds, Conde insisted on gearing up and going back to the fight alongside his Marines.
For the next few days Conde remained by the side of his fellow Marines for several more firefights. The only time he stood down was when he was unable to hold his rifle steady because his arm went numb from his gunshot wound.
When Conde returned to camp, the Marines asked him why he chose to stay and fight. His response was, “I couldn’t just leave the fight when I still could keep going.
Conde refused to go home as a result of his shoulder injury and decided to finish his tour in Iraq. On July 1, 2004, almost two months after being shot, Conde was killed in action by an improvised explosive device while on patrol with his Marines.
Conde was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with V for his actions. His citation reads, ‘his leadership, before, during and after the battle, symbolizes all that we have come to expect from a noncommissioned officer.’
In honor of his sacrifice, the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy building at the Marine Corps University now carries his name – as a standing tribute to his dedication.