Semper Fi.

Imran Yousuf is a hero to dozens of survivors of the terror attack in Orlando, to their families and to America – but don’t use that word with him.

The 24-year-old Marine veteran says, “I honestly believe I reacted by instinct.”

Yousuf, who served in Afghanistan, was working as a bouncer when Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, when his training and experience kicked in.

While most people experience a sort of paralysis in a moment of extreme fear, Marines are trained to identify, assess and react in a matter of seconds.

He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2010, deploying to Afghanistan after receiving “the most realistic, live-fire training exercise in the Marine Corps,” according to the Marine Corps’ website.

Yousuf, who has only been a civilian for a month, recounted the terrifying moments when he realized he was facing an active shooter situation in the club after recognizing the sound of a high-caliber weapon.

“Everyone froze. I’m here in the back, and I saw people start pouring into the back hallway, and they just sardine-packed… And I’m screaming, “Open the door! Open the door!’ And no one is moving because they are scared.”

“There was only one choice – either we all stay there and we all die, or I could take the chance of getting shot and saving everyone else, and I jumped over to open that latch and we got everyone that we can out of there.”

Yousuf has many military awards, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

He can add life-saving bravery in the face of a terror attack on U.S. soil, but for the Marine hero, he sees only what he could not do.

“I wish I could have saved more… there are a lot of people that are dead…. a lot of people that are dead.”



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