Hero of the Week: Gunnery Sgt. William Gibson

Updated: February 17, 2008



Tommy Batboy

The sniper’s bullet tore right through his kneecap, destroying the joint. Like all Marines, his first thought was to make sure his fellow Marines were ok – and to return fire. As he was being treated at the hospital Gunnery Sgt. William “Spanky” Gibson was given the bad news: The bullet that hit him had damaged his leg so extensively that he was going to lose it.

Typically, a wounded veteran like Gunny Gibson is sent back to the US, given a disability rating by the VA, and medically discharged. If the separation office is doing the right thing they’ll put the wounded service member in touch with organizations like the good people over at the Wounded Warrior Project (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org if you’ve been living under a rock) to develop a skill set that will offset the wounds suffered in defense of our nation. The typical wounded veteran would gladly accept a one-way trip out of the sandbox.

Gunny Gibson isn’t typical.

21 months after the surgery, Spanky is back serving in Iraq with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force as a member of the operations section. He is one of a select handful of American service members to return to duty after having a limb amputated. Armed with a custom-made prosthetic leg he’s back in the fight, now using his operational expertise gained from his combat experience to help plan the missions by which his beloved Corps will continue to close with and destroy the enemy.

As a two tour combat veteran, it blows me away. The man had already given more for his country than most can possibly imagine. He had served honorably shoulder-to-shoulder with his fellow Marines. That alone makes him a hero in any true American’s eyes. Yet instead of finding a new profession or drawing the VA disability that he is fully and fairly entitled to, Sgt. Gibson decided to jump right back into the fray. He defied conventional thinking about what amputees can be capable of. All so he could go back and resume risking his life for his country.

That is a hard man right there. Prosthetic leg and all he’d probably take Tom Highway behind the woodshed and whip his ass if he ever jumped off the silver screen. Yet, like all men of high character, he’s extremely humble. Watching his interview for NBC it comes ringing through: he thinks it’s a privilege to serve. In a world where professional athletes have been known to go on strike to protest average salaries well in excess of $1 million, Gunnery Sgt. Gibson, after losing his leg serving his country, feels honored to be able to give still more. He is, quite simply, the embodiment of selfless service.

Three weeks ago Petty Officer Michael Monsoor was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry and bravery in battle. In a firefight before the one that would take his life, Michael Monsoor helped save the lives of Spanky Gibson and his men. Now Gunnery Sgt William Gibson is once again risking life and limb to help keep American service members from having to make a similar sacrifice. Despite the loss of his leg he has chosen to step back into the breech, going above and beyond his country’s call of duty that so few shoulder.

These are the men who are protecting this great country from deadly and determined enemies. These are the heroes who are upholding our sacred Constitution – defending the right of the New York Times to run advertisements slandering their military’s leadership from the safety of their corporate offices, the right of academia’s “activists” to burn the flag of their country from the safety of America’s college campuses, and the right of Code Pink to…well…just generally make complete fools of themselves from the safety of the San Francisco bay. We here at Ranger Up are humbled to know that this is the caliber of men we serve.

Copyright of Tommy



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About Tommy

Proudly the only guy in the company without a graduate degree (to include not being a graduate from the school...