MCAS BEAUFORT, S.C. -- How much of an honor would it be to have a war hero speak at your squadron’s mess night? How about having a Navy Cross recipient autograph his biography for the entire squadron? Well, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron was honored with such a privilege.
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron on the Air Station held a mess night Jan. 29 at the Officers’ Club. For the mess night, they invited a special guest to speak: Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal, the current sergeant major of Recruiting Station Des Moines, Iowa, and Navy Cross recipient for actions in Fallujah.
Prior to the mess night, Kasal took time to sign copies of his biography “My Men Are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal Story” for Marines of the squadron and sign photos for those Marines without a copy of the book.
“The main points of the book were to show the true story behind what the Marines and Navy corpsmen did, and what was not being told back here in the states,” Kasal said. “All you heard about in the newspapers were about casualties and atrocities that were going on, (and the media) never told the whole story.
“The second point I wanted to put more emphasis on was about the injuries I had to endure and what obstacles I had to overcome,” Kasal continued. “Those people who have had injuries could read my book and hopefully get some inspiration from it. I had many injuries, but the biggest injury I had was losing four and a half inches of my right leg. Doctors kept telling me to amputate, but I was stubborn and had to persevere through it.”
After the book signing, the privates to sergeants of the different work sections throughout the squadron came together to socialize with each other and hear the sergeant major speak.
Kasal said what makes the Marine Corps special is Semper Fidelis, the motto of the Marine Corps; its brotherhood, its esprit de corps, the morale of a group, and that is what separates Marines from other branches.
“Marines do amazing things because they believe in what they’re doing,” Kasal said. “So, I think the mess night is just one more opportunity to get Marines together to enjoy that camaraderie and instill esprit de corps. That’s why I’m honored to be here.”
The mess night started with all the Marines marching in together, waiting to sit after the head table. The president of the mess was Sgt. Ronaldson Slim, a combat photographer on the Air Station.
“I was overwhelmed when I was asked to be the president (of the mess),” Slim said. “I knew it would be a lot of work and preparation.”
While dinner was being served, there was the time for fining, where Marines had the opportunity to fine others Marines for any discrepancies or wrongdoings that the president saw worthy enough for charging.
The night wrapped up with a barrage of toast to various battles, fallen Marines and sailors, and to the service members overseas.
Slim said the mess night was a good morale booster for the squadron by bringing everyone together and building camaraderie; furthermore, Marines and sailors had the esteemed privilege to spend time with a true hero.