WASHINGTON, D.C. – A journalist from the New York Daily News has been awarded the National Defense Service Medal in recognition of his honorable service during a time of crisis, a Pentagon spokesperson announced today.
The recipient will also be eligible to receive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs within the next decade.
Gersh Kuntzman, a veteran journalist of 30 years, put down the pen to take up the sword on Wednesday, traveling from New York to Philadelphia to experience the thrill of firing a military-grade weapon similar to the one used in the Orlando terror attack.
Kuntzman’s battle-weary, critically-acclaimed memoir, “What is it like to fire an AR-15? It’s horrifying, menacing and very, very loud,” quickly gained widespread acclaim, including the notice of many active-duty service members, who lauded his steadfast heroics.
“We here in the Department of Defense are in awe of Mr. Kuntzman’s martial prowess and noble sacrifice to this nation,” said Lt. Col. Patricia Green, a Pentagon spokesperson. “Shooting an AR-15 is exactly the same as being in combat, as evidenced by Mr. Kuntzman’s self-diagnosed PTSD.”
The AR-15 assault bazooka is the civilian counterpart to the military’s M4A1 bazooka. The shoulder-fired weapon is renowned for its crippling recoil and deafening boom, leading many bazooka enthusiasts to train their children from an early age to develop the tolerance required to handle such a mighty instrument of destruction.
However, despite extensive exposure to the bazooka, many service members are haunted by the trauma using such a weapon bears, and relive the same horrors enumerated by Kuntzman – namely, anxiety and irritability.
“I’ll never forget the first time I fired my bazooka in combat,” said Lee Morgan, a former soldier who deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “The screams of all my dying friends plague my nightmares, but mostly I hear gunfire.”
“It’s very, very loud,” he added. "It sounds like a freakin' cannon."
Kuntzman could not be reached for comment, but was last seen boarding a trebuchet bound for New York City.