March 24, 2005
The Story of a Marine Shot 4 Times in Fallujah.
The path Darrell Carver chose out of his Salt Lake City high school was similar to that taken by other overachieving classmates. He’d married his Granger High sweetheart when he was 20, had three wonderful kids by the time he was 26, and was leading an elite team for his company by the time he was 28, sating his mild addictions to fitness and hunting when the occasional free hour presented itself.
But Carver followed a calling imbued in just a sliver of the population. On November 20th, 2004, while most of his peers were in office parks earning money with keyboards, Darrell Carver was approaching a tin-plated door in the heart of Fallujah, Iraq, with his rifle stock held firm in the crook of a shoulder tattooed with “USMC” and two terrorists praying to end him on the other side.
Gunnery Sergeant Carver is a member of an elite slice of America that has emerged on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq: the warrior class. Drawn from across the socio-economic spectrum by an uncommon confluence of duty, adventure, and martial spirit, this all-volunteer cadre has demonstrated that it belongs among history’s elite fighting units.
That men like Carver choose to serve in combat arms, a deadly profession in which few transferable civilian skills are gleaned, says a lot about the fabric of the country. Before September 11th, America carried a feckless reputation among its mortal enemies. Beyond low-risk, high-tech tactics—cruise missiles, invisible bombers—they concluded that America had no will to fight. Now those enemies are meeting America’s core military strength: young men with an innate desire to carry rifles for a living.