Lance Cpl. Cardenas (left) and Sgt. Roedema (USMC photo)
This is really the story of three Marines and one baby girl.
In August of 2007, Sgt. Randy Roedema, Lance Cpl. Moses Cardenas, and Lance Cpl. Christian Vasquez of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion were patrolling the desert near the Syrian border when they stopped a suspicious fuel truck and told its inhabitants to get out.
Almost immediately, the five men in the truck began to fire at the Marines, killing Lance Cpl Vasquez and hitting Sgt. Roedema several times. The rest of the Marines fired back. Cardenas used his SAW to shoot from behind his vehicle. “It was an all-out firefight – we see the enemy and they see us. Either he dies or I die,” Cardenas told Military Times.
Sgt. Roedema was wounded in the back and buttocks, was unable to move and lay on the ground, vulnerable. When he saw him, Lance Cpl. Cardenas ran into the open, grabbed Roedema and dragged him 150 yards to safety, pausing only to shoot. He told Military Times, “I remember grabbing him and telling him, ‘You’re going to go home and see your daughter.'” In the process, Cardenas was shot twice in the neck but continued to fire on the gunmen until they were all dead.
Four days later, Sgt. Roedema became a father.
At an awards ceremony at which he received the Silver Star, Cardenas honored the memory of Lance Cpl. Vasquez with a black metal bracelet. “We train together, laugh together, live together. You get close to your Marines, like brothers, more than brothers,” said Cardenas. “When one dies, it hurts. (LA Times)”
Later, when asked why he risked his own life to save another, he simply replied, “He was my Sergeant.” (N. County Times).
Both men recovered, and will be forever linked by the unbreakable bond forged under fire. A little girl is part of that bond, and will grow up knowing a father whose life was saved by the bravery of a fellow Marine.
Lance Cpl. Moses Cardenas (since promoted to Corporal) is our hero of the week.