Those  of you who might not know, the man  on  the left is the Commandant of the Marine  Corps, and he is proud to know the man  on the right.

 Maybe you'd like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored  the uniform he wears

Meet Brian Chontosh
Churchville-Chili Central  School
Class of 1991.

Proud graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Husband and about-to-be father. First lieutenant   (now Captain) in  the United States Marine Corps.

And a genuine hero, the secretary of the  Navy said so yesterday.

At 29 Palms in California Brian Chontosh was  presented with the Navy Cross, the second highest award for combat bravery the  United States can bestow.

That's a big deal. But you won't see it on the network news tonight

And all you'll read in Brian's hometown newspaper is two  paragraphs of nothing.

The odd fact about the American media in this war  is that it's not covering the American military. The most plugged-in nation in  the world is receiving virtually no true information about what its warriors are  doing.

Oh, sure, there's a body count. We know how many Americans have  fallen. And we see those same casket pictures day in and day out.

And we're  almost on a first-name basis with the jerks  who abused the Iraqi prisoners. And  we know all about improvised explosive devices and how we lost Fallujah and what  Arab public-opinion polls say about us and how the world hates us.

We get a  non-stop feed of gloom and doom.

But we don't hear about the heroes.

The  incredibly brave GIs who honorably do their duty. The ones our grandparents  would have carried on their shoulders down Fifth Avenue.

The ones we  completely ignore, like Brian Chontosh.

It was a year ago on the march  into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a  humvee.

When all hell broke loose.

Ambush city.

The young Marines were  being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades.

And the  kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to  him.

So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men  to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came  under direct enemy machine gun fire. It was fish in a barrel and the Marines  were the fish. And Brian Chontosh gave the  order to attack.

He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine  gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the 50  cal unload on them.

Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the  machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take  the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines.

Over  into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed,  carrying an M16

 carrying an M16

and a Beretta

and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.

And he ran  along the trench, with its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and  grenadiers. And he killed them all.

He fought with the M16 until it was  out of ammo.

Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he  picked up a dead man's AK4 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.

Then  he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of  ammo.

At one point he even  fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with  its grenade explosion.

When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards  of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and  wounded at least as many more.


But that's probably not how he would tell  it. He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got  them out of trouble. Ooh-rah, and drive on.

"By his outstanding  display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy  fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon  himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United  States Naval Service."

That's what the citation says.
And that's what  nobody will hear.
That's what doesn't seem to be making the evening news.

Accounts of American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet  accounts of American difficulties are heralded as objectivity. It makes you  wonder if the role of the media is to inform  or to depress - to report or to deride. To tell the truth, or to feed us lies.