« November 2005 | Main | January 2006 »

HAPPY NEW YEARS FROM IRAQ!
















HAPPY NEW YEARS FROM IRAQ!

BANG…..BANG BANG BANG!!...........Its 0001 Jan 1st 2006!!!! (eastern standadrd time + 8hrs)
Plan “B” - Things have been very busy here as we have been continuing to take the fight to Haji. You can’t stop the clock not even on New Years and so time continues to tick away at our fun filled adventure here in Iraq.

0530, alarm clock from HELL goes off, I use my panther like reflexes (not) to find the snooze button as wish I could sleep for another eight hours. Dash two alarm clock goes off and Im voicing some very colorful verbiage about this time and right out of a wake up scene from Bruce Almighty Im kicking, flipping trying to go back to sleep and ignore the clock. Morning chow is a nice cup of joe and a strawberry pop tart (not only wrapped in foil but good for you too!), a couple vitamins and viola the day is under way. Alarm clock number one returns for a second butt kicking but Im ready and mash the Chinese made plastic. Scratch one alarm clock…toast!

Mission for the day is to take some VIPs to another base to show them some great things Coalition forces are doing. No problemo. We roll out to an undisclosed landing zone (LZ) where they will land at. We make our way through the city and its smells ok but here comes that dang short of breath again but I see a lot of little Iraqi ankle bitters (kids) out and about which is always a great sign and they are waving vise doing the IED detonator motion with their hands…also another good sign. We motor down the major highway past a couple M1 Tanks (checkpoints) that have black soot all over them from previous IEDs, RPGs and gas bombs….not so much a good sign Watching out in the distance and gutters for threats things look good and we seem to motoring well. We get to our LZ and are all set up but where we are the sniper threat is moderate to high so we want to keep our VIPs protected and get them in the truck as soon as possible. The aircraft come in and drop off our passengers (PAX) and we load them up to take them to another location for their visit. Things are great and going smoothly and now we have to transport them to yet another location for more information and now we are going to go through the FUN part of town. We begin to load up and one of the civilian passengers turns to me and says, this isn’t like a downtown city in the states; you guys are pretty serious here. I said, Yes Sir these Assholes are trying to kill us so we kill them first. Oh man he wasn’t ready for that answer as I helped him put on his body armor. He was then briefed to stay put in the hummer as the crew got out of the hummers to go to condition one and load all of our weapons. Here are these civilians sitting there in a beat up, shrapnel spotted hummer watching a crap load of Marine loading multiple weapons like we were about to fight it out at OK coral……..wait a second that’s exactly what we were getting prepared to do. We headed down our prescribed route and black smoke began to rise off the road a ways. Usually nothing, sometimes a signal to let scumbags know good guys are on the road near by We approached a bridge and the scout vehicle called back that “the bridge is blocked” as I saw a sheep truck crossways in the road with no driver which meant we would go to plan “B”. One of the PAX that heard the conversation over the cab speaker asked what that all meant. I looked back at them and said “nothing good, hang on” and we turned to another street. We approached another trouble spot and new something was not right with the blocked bridge and lead truck spotted an IED. We were headed into a freaking ambush bigger than monkey shit and the three Hajis scrunched down in their Mercedes confirmed it as they were probably the maneuver element of the IED ambush. With some good training and quick actions we called an audible and turned yet again almost back tracking. An Army patrol was on the scumbags and had them cuffed on the road as we passed. Our PAX’s weren’t to sure and weren’t saying a whole lot when they saw the detainees in the dirt. The best compliment Ive heard since Ive been here I think was when all was calm when we got on the next base. When we walked in and one PAX stopped me and said, Im really impressed, Im not sure what all happened on our way over here in the convoy but thanks, that was awesome. Holding back a smile of being proud of the guys, I said, you’re welcome the men did good today and left to check on our trucks status.

As we hear a small arms attack unfolding in the distance, tracers in the sky and New Years approaches here in Iraq, I only hope they very best for you and yours this New Year. A new start a new beginning, and time to move on and a time to remember the past year and to plan for the next year approaching. Be smart, be safe and have a plan “B”.

FOR OUR FALLEN:
(you may recognize the words to this bagpipe backed song as its taken from the movie “We were Soldiers Once and Young” )
Lay me down in the cold cold ground Where before many more have gone Lay me down in the cold cold ground Where before many more have gone When they come I will stand my ground Stand my ground I'll not be afraid Thoughts of home take away my fear Sweat and blood hide my veil of tears Once a year say a prayer for me Close your eyes and remember me Never more shall I see the sun For I fell to a Germans gun Lay me down in the cold cold ground Where before many more have gone Lay me down in the cold cold ground Where before many more have gone Where before many more have gone In memory of Sgt. Charles Stuart MacKenzie Seaforth Highlanders Who along with many others gave up his life So that we can live free We will remember them all.


Some of you may also read some posts from a buddy of mine. Major B aka “Taco”. (click here to read some of his stuff) Well you see he is over here with me but not at the same base. We both have been getting a lot of encouragement to write a book. Well were gonna do it. We are going to combine our stuff and let er loose! HERE is where you can help. We need a name for the book. Got an idea?? Email me with it. If we use it you’ll probably get mentioned in the book. The book will be one of many ways for us to give back to all of you who have supported us and help other service members to get the same support that we got. Get of yer butts and shoot us a title!


Capt B sends………………………I gotta go blow something up and bring in the New Year right!!!!

Semper Fidelis


WE DO WINDOWS I hope











WE DO WINDOWS
I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas and you should drink lots of water to prepare for your New Year celebrations coming up and stay hydrated!
Im glad you all are back safely. Things have been constant here in Iraq. Christmas came and went as the other holidays while deployed here, no biggie. The phones did work pretty well and after about an hour I got through back to the states.

We haven’t let up on momentum in the region and I just returned from being out and about in our Area of Operations. Your Marines out west near places like Al Asad, continue to keep the enemy off balance and conduct operations to disrupt insurgency forces. By maintaining permanent presence in outlying villages enemy forces are now forced to leave their safe havens and flee. Before we would attack insurgents in villages, eliminate them and then return to our base. Now we do the same but include Iraqi forces and leave both Iraqi and American forces behind in the village to maintain security and safety. Unlike before this has totally disrupted the insurgency plan of action and now they cannot hide and torture Iraqis and force their way of life onto innocent people.

In Fallujah, Marines are continuing to keep the enemy off balance within the city and surrounding areas. By training Iraqi Special Forces, Iraqi Police and additional forces, Iraq’s military force is gaining strength. Beginning with the basics and having them go through Marine style tactics and procedures they build their foundation a respectable force and will be able to defend their region when American forces depart. They will never be up to the standards of Marines and Soldiers but that’s ok. We are training them to be competent fighters and maintain the capabilities to defend what is theirs. From talking to Marines that have fought with the Iraqi’s they say they are a proud and courageous Army that doesn’t run because they have learned new things and have gained confidence in their abilities. They are tired of the insurgency and although are ready for the Americans to leave they know they need our training so they can do what they desire and fight off the insurgency.

All of the Coalition forces in Iraq are constantly training the Iraqi forces. Many Americans back in the states watch the news and would correspondingly think that anytime we do anything it is an airplane bombing, 50 cal shooting door kicking in operation. Although we are more than willing to do this type of a “Kinetic” operation we also do many additional building operations that help the country of Iraq. Combat Engineer’s continue to build schools and patch buildings that fall apart or otherwise don’t get repaired because of constant enemy sniper fire. So with security the engineers move in to reconstruct neighborhoods with electricity and plumbing. US Forces that move into villages take up residence during the operations. They then leave the area better than they found it. Clean the place up, leave the family money, make some repairs and apply some manual labor from the Marine unit. This has developed a relationship of Iraqi people telling our unit commanders “come back to my house when you visit here again” because they know they will get something in return instead of back a few years ago where Marines were taking residency and then leaving because of other operational commitments and additional fighting. This type of relations has been one of many building blocks that have assisted in strengthening the country and allowing the country to conduct successful elections. The elections were successful in Oct and Dec because of all ofg the unseen work done by your service members.

The Coalition forces have retaken over 14 cities throughout Iraq. Freeing captive tribes held by insurgents, established peace in areas of danger and murder. We are now in full motion training the Iraqi Army to new levels and help them to protect their country. Before you even ask, let me answer, Yes, I think the Iraqi Army, Police and Special Forces will be able to protect their country. Why? Because they have the desire to. This doesn’t mean there won’t be all out civil war here but lets look at our own history before we judge. The country does have democracy, businesses are thriving and people are much safer and freer than they were 3 yrs ago. They are getting to a level of self sufficiency and before we know it will be time for us to depart and let them have it.

Corpsmen and doctors are establishing a medical foundation to help fight some of the many diseases and injuries in the area. Civil Affairs groups are building the bond between different tribes to help them help one another instead of continuous fighting one another. We have no problem eliminating an evil dictator, fighting in the streets of Iraq, building schools and houses, repairing and bringing electricity to places that never had it before, helping a village who is dying live and yes, ………we do windows.

Time for a stoag…………Semper Fi


COMBAT UPDATE

Iraqi Army soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 1st Brigade, 7th Division working alongside of 2nd Brigade Combat Team (28th Infantry Division) are clearing the streets of known insurgents in western Ramadi. In the past two days, 1-1-7 IA forces have detained five targeted insurgents, to include Jassim Mohammed Fayadh, a high value insurgent leader, allegedly responsible for financing terrorism in the Tammim neighborhood and known to have supplied arms and munitions to Al Qaeda in Iraq. The four additional detainees are under investigation for coordinating insurgent attacks and activities, including the storage and transportation of weapon systems and munitions. “Our battalion has been working in western Ramadi with the Coalition Forces for the last eight months. During that time, we have fought and captured many insurgents. Yesterday was a big step to bringing safety and security to this area for our local citizens and their families. We will continue to work with our coalition partners to bring security to western Ramadi,” said Lt. Col. Mustafa, Commanding Officer, 1-1-7 IA. The insurgents have been placed under custody of Coalition Forces and will be tried in the Iraqi Criminal Court system. There were no injuries to local Iraqi citizens, Iraqi Army soldiers or Coalition Forces. Additionally, there were no damages to equipment during the capture of these high level insurgent leaders.

Dec 26th
An insurgent was killed today by U.S. Marines at an entry control point in central Fallujah today at approximately 11:30 a.m. The insurgent, armed with an explosive vest filled with ball bearings, detonated the bomb as he approached the checkpoint; however, the vest only partially exploded. As the bomber attempted to detonate the rest of the explosives, he was killed by Marine gunfire. No Iraqi or U.S. military personnel were injured but one civilian was reported wounded in this suicide attack.


HO HO, Ho Ho Ho

HO HO, Ho Ho Ho Christmas Eve. We chilled out by trying to watch a movie and enjoy a stoag as it was a quiet day. The movie began and so did the excitement. One post calls out that they have aggressors moving towards the parameter wall. A single pop up goes out to the north east then all the shooting began. AK 47 and M16 rang close with more illume going up into the sky. We were use to such probs and attacks and we continued to watch the movie. Quiet again. Another illume and then more shooting but this time a close 240G medium machine gun opened up and began to mow down the would be attackers. Easily going through 100 rounds the M16s continued to pick off dark shadows as the 240’s released hell. More illume and the shadows stopped. Nothing moved anymore and the night was quiet again. The weather last night and all today (Dec 25th) was like back in the states. A nip of cold, a light rain which is very strange. The burning trash just off the base made you think of fire places burning, except is was rubber and other nasty crap. We were a bit wound up and decided to perhaps watch some TV but when we turned it on it blew out. Not so good. Being the Marines we are we figured, adapt over come adjust and hell, we can fix this thing no problem, out comes the screw driver, out come the screws, pieces fall out and I send a Marine for the duct tape. A couple IEDs detonate off base, its about 2200 now and football it starting in the states, Operation TV patch up was underway. It was a Panasonic 24 inch and has a couple fuses in it-go figure. Replace the fuses plug in, put on ballistic glasses and stand back. As we plugged it in the devil shot out he back, small animals scurried away and a mattress caught on fire………….situation under control! The Lt and I debated what we need to pull out and tear off that wasn’t needed, we began with the burnt pieces. We called a time out and had some “Whoopers” that were sent to us……….man they are GOOD! So the Lt was feeding his pie hole and I told him I’ll give you $50 to eat all of those and the box and you can use some all the grapefruit juice you want to wash it down! He did pretty good and then realized the cardboard box wasn’t going to go down as easily as first thought and we bailed the idea.

Christmas day morning began with me sleeping in. Quiet, peaceful. It was a bit nippley out but all in all good. We took care of some morning items that needed to take of and then lit up a nice stoag for breakfast. We hit some golf balls into the Euphrates river and everyone enjoyed more stoags………it was great and the sentries took cover from our slices!

Went and delivered some Christmas presents to some younger Marines. Young Marines enjoyed their special gifts (things they need) and said a simple “Thank you”. Although I heard it, the words were meant for all of you back home. There isn’t anything that can replace the smile on a young Marines face when you give him a gift that he wasn’t expecting. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do that. I owe it all to you. We have some good chow today and I will take my place behind the serving line to dish out some good chow to the Marines today. Its not home cooked but its not MRE’s. I took my place and added a bit of “Elvis” to the chow line. Its ok mom, everybody that went through got plenty of vegetables, I made sure of it.


We had a couple of Santa’s that conducted a frontal attack on one location as their fighting spirit rang through like the holidays as they kicked in doors and delivered their gifts, what a country!
They opened up the BIG can of whoop ass on one terrorist but then of course we gave them a medal, some more ammo and claymore mines and fired our support by fire positions to let them continue their attacks.


Im going to watch Madagasgar the movie now as a couple little warriors back home thought I would like it and if I watch it, it will somehow connect us and we too will be together this holiday.
We hope you all back home have the very happiest of holidays and know we are honored to be on the front lines for you. Sleep well tonight the Marines are on watch!

Merry Christmas & Semper Fi from Iraq!
Capt B

COMBAT UPDATE
We are still kicking their Haji Ass!

((ANOTHER STORY!))



Seven-year-old Katherine Downing cries "I want my daddy back" during a happy and sad video call to her father Marine Staff Sgt. Robert Downing serving in Iraq by the Syrian boarder Friday morning at the Vista Boys and Girls Club. Barbara Downing, her son Bobby. 8, daughter Katherine, and baby Karla. 10 months, talk to husband and father via the internet for about 15 minutes during Operation Connect Global Event. Jamie Scott Lytle Order a copy of this photo Additional Links -->Visit our Photo Gallery
(nctimes.com)
When Sarah Cylkowski got the call, she hopped in her car at 1 a.m. Friday and drove through the night, from Tempe, Ariz. to Vista, Calif.She was going to see her husband for the holidays, if only for a few minutes.
In two private rooms at the Boys & Girls Club, dozens of wives, mothers, fathers and children used Internet video-conferencing software Friday to interact with Marines stationed in Iraq.
Reunited using tiny cameras, microphones and digital screens, the families laughed, waved and often cried.The project, dubbed Operation Connect, was hosted by Next Generation Business Resources, an Irvine-based telecommunications company; America Supporting Americans, a nonprofit military support group; the Boys & Girls Club of Vista and the Rotary Club of Vista.Participating Marines were from the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion out of Camp Pendleton, stationed near the Syrian border. There are more than 600 troops in the battalion, said Chief Warrant Officer Jason Scroggs, the family liaison. Many relatives didn't know if their Marine would be available to chat until the last minute.The project suffered some early kinks. Sound was spotty and a volunteer had to run out and buy headsets to reduce the echoes.But for Cylkowski, 20, nothing could spoil the mood."I understood maybe three things he said," she said after seeing her husband for the first time in four months. "But I could see him smile, and that's what matters."With tears streaming down her flushed cheeks, she walked back toward her car. "I would make this trip every day if I could," she said.Camp Pendleton resident Barbara Downing, 29, waited an hour to give her three children a chance to see their father, Staff Sgt. Robert Downing. The foursome crowded together to get into the camera's field of vision."Honey, you need to eat, you look so skinny," she told her husband."Yeah, you need to be strong!" added Bobby, the couple's 8-year-old son.The oldest daughter Katherine, 7, tried to maintain her composure, but when her father reached into his pocket and pulled out a crayon drawing she had made, her tears started flowing."They asked Santa for something I don't think he'll be able to bring," the mother said to her husband. "They want you to come home."She paused to listen to his reply in the headset, then laughed and said, "yeah, and an Xbox."Operation Connect came together in less than two weeks, said Gerald Kostecka, marketing director for Next Generation Business Resources, which provided the equipment. So many families showed up the hours had to be extended.Rotarian volunteer and former Marine Jack Dausman, 78, said the instant communication was a sharp contrast with the two weeks it would take to get a letter when he was serving in Korea and Vietnam."It makes a big difference," Dausman said. "Look at the expressions on these people's faces. It makes your Christmas."


CHRISTMAS LIFE A couple minutes

CHRISTMAS LIFE
A couple minutes turn into an hour, a few hours turn into a day, weeks to months and before you know it, the year is over. Another turning point another fork in the road leads you down new paths. Its always unpredictable but you have to have the time of your life.

It’s a great run and we all have to enjoy life and live every second. Not just because we are in Iraq but that does make things a lot clearer to live life through this stuff. Sure you could get whacked back in the states by some drunk driver but you haven’t, not yet. Marines dodge bullets, cheat death, spared by modern technology Kevlar and reinforced hardened steel. Taken a shot in the Kevlar vest trauma plate, getting knocked down but getting up and scratching off one of the nine life’s from the list. Having the entire Hummer engulfed from multiple shelled IEDs and gasoline detonating on you where other wise you would have been Swiss cheese and goo. It wasn’t your time, not yet.

Aren’t you afraid of getting hurt / killed in Iraq? A young kid wrote in a letter to me. Yes. But you accept that it could happen and if its going to happen its going to happen. Why worry about it? When it’s your time it’s your time. The explosives here are so big you won’t know what hit you and it will be over in a flash.

This place and Afghanistan are ugly places. No care for life as I remember manning a check point. A van pulled up and when the family got out a baby girl (maybe a year old) fell out of the van to the ground head first and began to cry. I reacted to go pick it up as the several adults continued to step over it and while getting out they continued wrapping themselves in their traditional dress. Dirt kicked on her, tears streaming down her ear pierced face as she bellowed her heart out on her stomach. No one was helping her, no one cared as they got out of the car. Arms not even long enough to extend past her sleeves as she lay helplessly on the deck, gasping for air. I moved pretty quick and as I headed for the van my Marines knew something was up and reacted to a possible threat and things got real exciting as my men drew in on the people getting out. As I began to pick up the little thing, knowing the many customs I was about to violate by handling females, I really wasn’t concerned about some custom that states that men, especially foreign men aren’t suppose to have contact with their women, whatever. Just before I picked her up I was distracted by a man that began beating a woman and shouting at her. Not because she dropped her kid but because they allowed me to get close to her. Beating me to the baby, another female barged in to pick the tiny thing up. Crying louder, just wanting the pain to stop, I felt like I could help but then I knew things had to go on like they were for a reason. It was their customs not mine. There I sat on a knee shaking my head at the lack of care for life here. They will kill one another especially their own family in a blink of an eye.

We are away from home this holiday season to complete our mission and to eliminate terrorists and defend our nation. It is unfortunate for us to be away from loved ones on earth and in heaven however, its probably the best Christmas gift Ive ever given. No family gatherings, snow drifts or missile toe. Just always on watch ready to go. Scumbags are scared and are on the run, regardless of wherever they go they will find us with lots of guns. While you are in the states celebrating the season know that we are on the front lines for a reason. As this war continues you may not always hear it, but we are full of American and Christmas spirit.

As you celebrate Christmas, be thankful for what you have and where you are. Know its better to give than receive and be thankful you are with someone who cares enough about you to pick you up when needed. You don’t need a lot of money and fame to have a great Christmas just the Christmas spirit is enough. Enjoy your health and enjoy life. In the states, on a rocky Afghani mountain or Iraqi desert, have a Very Merry Christmas and this holiday, have the time of your life.

From your Marines, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Iraq.

Captain B


COMBAT UPDATE
Numerous small fights still continue. IEDs and Indirect mortar and rocket fire are ever present. Counter battery rung out numerous times today and your service members continue to win the fight.


LEAVE, WE JUST GOT HERE!

LEAVE, WE JUST GOT HERE! Pull the troops out? We were loosing? We cant win?? Did these people eat a bowel of frosted dumbass for breakfast? I just got back from seeing Marines, Soldiers and Sailors in bases like Korean Village and Al Asad in western Iraq. These warriors are going strong, fighting hard and full of motivation eager to fight and kill terrorists, taking the fight to the enemy. Why would we even mention pulling out of here until the job is done? It would be like forfeiting a baseball game in the ninth inning and quitting with a two run lead. We are winning this war and for anyone who says different, get your facts together (yea right) and come play ball, Im waiting. For all you “I didn’t get enough attention from daddy when I was young, left wingnuts” out there, we are AT WAR and we defiantly are winning! To be more specific it’s a counter insurgency war. Well, why isn’t it wrapped up and finished then like Desert Storm?? Well my little cup cake it takes approximately 10 years to extinguish a counter insurgency. We began the war on terror hard core about three years ago so by the left wingnut book of all answers, we should have about seven more years to fight this evil regime before its defeated, right? Nope! We have overthrown their insane dictator, stomped a mud hole in the insurgents ass, established a government, restored economics and set the tone for the surrounding country’s that if they don’t play nice, they too can have a Marine Infantry Battalion sitting off their coast just as easy in only three years. Holy haji stain Batman, if we stayed here seven more years I could have a Walmart Super Store chain established and smoking cigars in my downtown Iraqi bar! (don’t steal my idea!) Have we had to pay a price? Hell yes, at the tune of over 200 Heroes since March of 2005 alone.That doesn’t count the battle of Fallujah, OIF 1 or Desert Storm. Are their service members who disagree with what were doing here? Probably. Are their workers where you work who don’t like what they are doing at work or disagree with it? Yes. However, we volunteered and yes, we will go and stomp holy monkey meat out of the insurgency in (Insert country name here). Why? Because we are Americans! Attention, Attention all terrorists world wide if you attack, no think about attacking America, when we find out, you will get one of many things. 1) Get to hear what a 2,000 pound guided missile sounds like vaporizing you and fellow scumbags, 2) The roar of turbine driven tanks driven by very angry people or “Johnny tell us whats behind door number three…..Thats right bob, A close and personal introduction to several thousand short fused, short hair angry Marines! Whoa, decisions, decisions! What my little Haji friend doesn’t understand is that we are committed to fight terrorists and people who want to kill us and destroy our way of life. Whats that you say, America is fed up with terrorists? That’s right, there isn’t anywhere safe for you to run anymore. Saudi Arabia doesn’t want anything to do with you, Iran is trying their best not to get us fired up and in case you didn’t realize everyone else is a weeeee bit smarter to screw with us. Operation Iraqi Freedom is a small example what is in store for terrorist wherever they show themselves. We will not bargain or give in to terrorists, period. They will not threaten my homeland, they can’t change what America is and they will never, ever take America’s freedom. NEVER! You see America there are some that think we should just simply employ sanctions, sing coombiyah,have peace talks and ask terrorists nicely over a cup of tea not to reduce America’s large buildings filled with loved ones in our metropolitan citys to dust. They want you in the states to think that OIF & OEF and the fight on terrorism “ was a mistake” or “The President made a mistake by overthrowing Sadam” or one of my favorites, we are loosing the war……. Hack, snort, chuck vomit! Give me a break! The warriors I saw recently arnt loosing anything. Nor are their leaders all the way to the President. We, like many other Americans still feel the anger and fire in our guts when we saw Americans jumping to their deaths on Sept 11th. You think you can come to my country punch me in the nose and walk of to allah? Silly Haji. Every time we go into the attack we remember 9/11 and the Americans you made suffer. Know, that when you see the Stars and Bars flying free in the wind, we arnt loosing and we are more than ready to go into extra innings! So the next time you here someone state we should pull out, we are loosing or any other crack head statement that wastes perfectly good air, let them know how you feel. Your service members need to know you support them as does your president!

Keep Attacking and enjoy a cigar!
Capt B

COMBAT UPDATE
Operation Alkamra Almaner (Moonlight) concluded yesterday evening.
Moonlight was the first brigade-level operation conducted by Iraqi Army soldiers in the Al Anbar province. Five Iraqi Army companies from 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division led the operation and were supported by a company of U.S. Marines from Regimental Combat Team-2. The operation netted a weapons cache; additionally, Operation Moonlight demonstrated the Iraqi Army soldiers’ ability to gather intelligence, plan, execute and exercise command and control during a large-scale operation. The Iraqi soldiers, with the Marines following in trace, cleared an area east of Ubaydi along the northern and southern banks of the Euphrates River. The area directly to the west was cleared last month during Operation Steel Curtain.
No insurgents were encountered during the operation; however, one Iraqi soldier received minor injuries resulting from a roadside bomb attack. The soldier was treated at the scene and returned to duty. No Iraqi civilian casualties were reported.
No air strikes were conducted during the course of the operation.


THE PRESIDENT The Honorable Mr

THE PRESIDENT The Honorable Mr Bush gave his Address the Nation speech Sunday night. You can read the entire transcript by clicking here. It was a great speech and said what many of you are saying with one voice. In past blogs I mentioned “one person can make a difference” and many of YOU are doing that. The President apologized and took responsibility (democrats look that up it’s a new word for you) and stated “It was the right thing to do” and he is right that it defiantly was the right thing to do. However I don’t think he had to apologize. Lets help the left sided thumb suckers remember Sadam killing those hundreds of Kurds in his own land with a variant of mustard gas and cyanide. (Note: Mustard gas, yea its WMD.) A truly horrific, painful, slow technique used to kill people. They may not have had it when we went into Iraq but they defiantly had it before we went in as they stalled the UN inspectors to move the stuff.

No the President is right on the money with what he said Sunday night. All of the thumb suckers would be complaining right now if Sadam was still in power and had orchestrated several attacks similar to the 9/11 attack on the US. All we would be hearing is why didn’t we take care of him earlier?? How could this have happened? That’s the way the thumb suckers are. We do the right thing and they want the left thing.

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in Afghanistan have included many service members who were honorably in the military and deployed to these region to carry out the president’s order. What gets me are the naysayers who went to Iraq or Afghanistan or perhaps only Kuwait and are now out of the service and bad mouthing the president and out for their gain. One for example is Tammy Duckworth, who launches her Democratic campaign for Congress today, said she would have not voted to authorize the war that cost her both of her legs and mangled her arm. Though President Bush's decision was a "bad one," the Army helicopter pilot said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times she was "proud to serve."
Duckworth, 37, a political rookie, faces a three-way March Democratic primary battle for the 6th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). She is quoted saying "I think the war was a mistake," she said. "I don't think that I would have voted to go to war. I still went. I don't agree with the decision to go. But, you know, I thought it was my duty as a soldier to serve my country, and I actually volunteered to go. I was proud to serve. But, you know, I think that that decision was not a good, was a bad one."
Your duty? Ahhh here is a thought; if you don’t go you are susceptible to criminal charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. You didn’t volunteer as a National Guard helo pilot to go to Iraq when your unit is deployed. The government spent billions of dollars to train you as a pilot, your freaking going sweetheart regardless of what you “thought”. I can’t believe this lady and others who are crawling out of the wood work to run for diplomatic seats and other offices and bad mouth the President. So much for their professionalism.


Duckworth and many others down talk their President while they are out of the service. You didn’t hear them bitching and complaining when they were making that tax free money or living in government housing or getting all those paid holidays. “I volunteered” excuse me while I yak up my lunch. She makes it sound like she did extra curricular work for a school project and now should be elected because she’s an “A” student.

Your dedicated service members here believe in what they are doing. They know what they are doing and they didn’t decide to get an “A” in Social Studies and make it sound like they were seeking extra credit. Most these boys became men here being something they believe in and for something they believed in. Fighting on the ground in one capacity or another everyday while people run around and bad mouth their commander in chief and say things like "I think the war was a mistake,".
Lets look at the mistake Mrs Duckworth. A dictator leader who slaughters his own removed. The use of WMD extinguished. Thousands liberated from the communism style leadership. A government who was fronting major terrorism activities throughout the world i.e. Bin Laden. New lives established for the thousands, schools, economic improvements and the end of torture for the weak. Oh and did we mention the whole freedom & democracy thing?? OK Mrs. Duckworth you’re right it was a mistake.

We still have a lot to do here in Iraq. Although the elections are over, unrest and insurgency attacks still exist. Marines and Soldiers are fighting everyday and continuing to eliminate pockets of insurgents throughout Iraq. We have made a huge gain by the recent elections where over 70% Iraqis voted. When was the last time the US had 70% of Americans vote in our own election??? Its been a long time. So I don’t see this campaign a mistake. No I see America taking the fight to the enemy before they come to our shores again and murder thousands and we need your support to finish the job.

“Next week, Americans will gather to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. Many families will be praying for loved ones spending this season far from home — in Iraq, Afghanistan or other dangerous places. Our nation joins in those prayers. We pray for the safety and strength of our troops. We trust, with them, in a love that conquers all fear, and a light that reaches the darkest corners of the Earth. And we remember the words of the Christmas carol, written during the Civil War: "God is not dead, nor [does] He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on Earth, good will to men." – The President

We are here doing what is right, just and true. We are making big gains in a shorter time than expected and we have reduced terrorists groups around the world. This may be One Marines View, but it is no mistake.

Semper Fi, time for a cigar.

COMBAT UPDATE
Soldiers from 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division began Operation Alkamra Almaner (Moonlight) early this morning in western Al Anbar. Iraqi Army soldiers from three Iraqi battalions are conducting a cordon and knock operation east of Ubaydi. The Iraqi soldiers are being supported by 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, Regimental Combat Team-2 and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). This is the first large-scale operation planned and executed by Iraqi soldiers of the 1st Brigade. The operation objective of Moonlight is to disrupt insurgent activity along the northern and southern banks of the Euphrates River near Ubaydi.The eastern Al Qa’im region, to include the cities of Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi were cleared of al Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents during Operation Steel Curtain last month which enabled residents to vote in the Dec. 15 Iraqi National Elections.


THE HOLIDAY SEASON I finally











THE HOLIDAY SEASON
I finally get a break from the shopping! We have been running around every mall crowded people everywhere trying to find that particular gift. This place is really crowded. Now we are finished, can we relax now? Are we done shopping for the day? If I have to play lead blocker through the mall anymore or sit outside another dressing room Im gonna die. No puke, no puke then die. We will probably go out to dinner tonight get some chow maybe go for a walk. I sit here and can smell the new Christmas tree, so fresh and nice, with white lights and all kinds of cherished ornaments on it which we have been keeping for sometime. Tada the tree is done, another master piece! Ok not by me but I supplied plenty of support and encouragement. The weather is nice and holiday spirit is everywhere. These bowls of candy around the house are going to turn me into a big fat a$$, its ok I’ll go a little further next time I run. We head out for dinner, to the local steak house. The chow is awesome, holiday music on the radio, friends and conversations are better and its so good to see everyone and they all look great. We get done with a great dinner and head for the house and its suggested we go check out the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. We all pack in a couple cars and head out in the December chill. They are lights everywhere. Are we driving through the International Christmas Light Contest neighborhood? That deer made out of sticks just turned its head and winked at me. These guys aren’t messing around. Flashing houses, bright trees and perfect Christmas trees showing through house windows. Its getting late and we decide to head home. We get a nice pot of coffee on and the house is filled with smells of the holiday as music echoes through the house. There is that dang bowl of candy again………I trouble shoot a string of lights on the tree that has been kicking my butt and on then off then they come back on. It’s the end of another fine day and I think how lucky I am to be here with friends and family.
I take a walk outside to check out the weather as it starts to rain, this is the first rain Ive seen for a year here as it turns to hail. Im not at home anymore Im here still in Iraq, with a different family, the Marine family. Another milestone has been achieved and the elections are a success. A country is in motion with democracy and freedom and the last years work is paying off although we have paid a price. There are no lights here except for the few strings Marines have put up from care packages, and the occasional illume artillery round fired in the night sky. I guess there is a special glow from the chemlights that line the walkway but they definitely aren’t the holiday type. There are no crowds except for the locals on the street in the city and they aren’t shopping. The IEDs and other explosions echo though the area now days. Im not sure if it’s the cloud cover or what but now when there is an explosion it echoes through the area for a few seconds unlike before. Counter battery rings out and dang that first one always gets ya, at least I wasn’t in the head this time. Sporadic fighting continues around the area but nothing crazy. Marine’s morale is high and everyone has accepted the fact that this is the only family they will be sharing the holiday with and actually that’s not a bad thing. You could say it doesn’t bother you to be away from home on the holidays……. you could say you’re a liar too. However, we are a disciplined force and know we have an important job to do. That job requires discipline, commitment and sacrifice. Sacrifice in the hundreds to those who won’t ever go home, ever. Where ever there is injustice in the world we will go there. Wherever there is an evil dictator killing his own people, we will go there. Why? Because as US Marines that’s our job and that’s what Marines have been doing for over two hundred years. We will fight our nation’s battles in any climb and place and anytime of the year. That young Marine standing post in the chilly desert night knows it’s the holiday season as does that young Marine who is on his second dozen convoy mission through the worse area in Iraq. The Soldier on a lonely checkpoint out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but his team and gun truck, they know it’s the holiday season too. The tanker, the pilot the warrior. They all know it’s better to give than to receive. A simple concept that they and their buddy’s have proven with blood and sweat. A simple concept that many “Don’t get”.

We are a proud military, a volunteer military who take pride in what we do for a nation that is great. This holiday season, cherish what is yours, smell the trees, have fun with family, take walks, have some egg nog and a stoag for us and enjoy your holidays. Although we had rather be home, know that we will finish what needs to be done and you can rest in peace, your Marines are on guard this holiday season.

Merry Christmas & Semper Fidelis

Capt B

COMBAT UPDATE
There are still small skirmishes around the area and IEDs continue to threaten US forces throughout the night. The area is in a small lull from the elections however the insurgency isn’t going to pack up and go away just because the elections went off flawlessly. You Marines continue the fight.


THE PROUD IRAQI PEOPLE Iraqis

THE PROUD IRAQI PEOPLE Iraqis have begun going to the polls to vote for the first permanent Iraqi parliament since the fall of Saddam Hussein. As many as 10 million people are expected to cast ballots in the historic election. Violence was reported almost as soon as the polls opened -- a roadside bomb went off in Ramadi, and another blast was reported in Baghdad. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.-CNN

Despite CNN’s Anderson Cooper reporting from “Ramadi” (BORRRING) and additional reporting from CNN above, voting here and around Iraq has been conducted flawlessly. In the insert above they report all the negative they can possibly muster with “a road side bomb went off in Ramadi” Yea, no kidding rocket scientist, it was one of many IEDs in Ramadi that went off today which is a daily event that happens in this area. They should move around in the streets and they will probably hear sniper fire as well. What else they didn’t report as that when those IEDs went off the Iraqi people in line waiting to vote didn’t budge or flee. It’s very sad that they have to try to highlight any miniscule possible negative activity about the work your Marines and Soldiers are doing while your service members continue to risk their lives to make things happen for Iraq. Anderson Cooper was in a voting facility in Ramadi interviewing Iraqi citizens and appeared to be in the way, blocking the voters from trying to submit their votes while he did his report. CNN reporter says: Well bob it looks like this thing is going to happen pretty smoothly, Yes it does Anderson but lets sabotage this polling site and we can be the first on the scene to report the deficiencies in the American forces……sounds good……...praise Allah!

The villages and polling areas were basically locked down and denied and vehicular travel to eliminate and chance of SVBIEDs (Suicide Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device), aka 20 arty shells in a car trunk). In many locations medal detectors outlined entry ways to voting sites and Iraqi soldiers provided security with US forces reinforcing them. As the picture shows in this post taken in Husaybah, the Iraqi people are voting! This is a major slap in the face for the insurgency. Although it didn’t start today it actually began back in with the successful elections in Oct. This is where a major blow was dealt to the insurgency and their overall demise began to show. Like back in Oct, today proved that although still scared, the Iraqi people were fed up with the insurgent intimidation and wanted a change. Now, in Dec the Iraqi Army successfully voted yesterday and today the entire country was able to vote freely and without intimidation.

From the insurgency view, America has not only won the fight in the street but now it has pretty much won the Iraqi people over as well. Insurgents can’t stand to see Iraq become independent and grow. The mere fact that men, women and Iraqi soldiers are voting means the insurgency is on its way out, it reinforces the beginning of their end for the insurgency. We see people coming freely to the voting sites, we see a different Iraqi, one who wants a change and is doing their part to make it happen. Today was a huge turning point for Iraq as a free country and rightfully proves that the democrats back in the states missed the mark and are dead wrong. They defiantly don’t “Get it”. To follow their plan and pull out US forces when they initially wanted to would have prevented today from happening like it did quiet, without injury and successful. Iraq is becoming free and independent through democracy!

Along with the Iraqi people, I would dedicate the success of today to all of the fallen servicemembers. For their service & sacrifice has made today possible. They will never be forgotten!

NO SHIT NEWS
Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces helped pave the way for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens in Al Anbar Province to vote in today’s National Parliamentary Elections.
Voter turnout was robust throughout the province, with preliminary reports indicating that a far higher percentage of the predominantly Sunni population participated in today’s elections than did in October’s Constitutional Referendum. Overall, there were few security incidents reported in the Province, and the murder and intimidation campaign that kept many people from the polls during previous votes never materialized.
“Today’s vote exceeded all expectations,” said Assistant Division Commander, Brig. Gen. James L. Williams. “What we saw today was the result of months of hard work by the Iraqi government, the US Ambassador and his staff, the international community, particularly the IECI and Iraqi and Coalition Forces. Most of all, it clearly demonstrates the resolve of the local Iraqi people to take their rightful place in the democratic process.”
In the provincial capital of Ramadi, where only several thousand citizens took part in the Referendum, tens of thousands of voters lined the streets to vote today. Residents were observed dancing, singing and waving the Iraqi flag in a rare display of national pride. Members of both the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police provided security throughout the city while Coalition Forces remained largely on the outskirts in the event they were needed for an emergency. It is still too early to tell what percentage of voters in the city actually voted, but the numbers are expected to be much higher than they were during the Referendum.
In Fallujah, where an estimated 90% of voters participated in October’s Referendum, voter turnout in today’s elections was similarly high. As in Ramadi, Coalition Forces turned over much of the responsibilities for securing the vote to Iraqi Security Forces. In Karmah, on the outskirts of Fallujah, a polling site that was bombed by insurgents yesterday was quickly repaired and operational by the time the polls opened today. There were no casualties reported in the incident.
Elsewhere in the province, in cities like Husaybah, Karabilah and Ubaydi, voter turnout was steady throughout the day. Until a few weeks ago, this area near the Syrian border was largely under the influence of al Qaeda in Iraq-led insurgents. Recent Iraqi and Coalition operations such as Steel Curtain and Iron Fist were instrumental in clearing these cities of insurgent fighters. The permanent security presence left behind in this region is seen as a crucial step towards preventing insurgents from establishing a stronghold in the area again.
“No one can look at what happened in Al Anbar today and still deny progress is being made,” said Williams. “Overall, attacks against local citizens and Iraqi and Coalition Forces are down, voter turnout is much higher than before and the people are finally beginning to see the fruitlessness of supporting the insurgency. Credit has to also be given to the bravery of Governor Ma’moun, Governor of Al-Anbar Province, to encourage his Sunni population to vote through their tribal leaders’ encouragement. While we still have a long way to go, we have made remarkable strides since last January’s elections, and now have the potential to establish a real measure of order and security in the Province.”


YOU BETTER PRAY I hit


YOU BETTER PRAY
I hit the weights this morning before another “white knuckle” express trip to downtown hell. I feel good, strong today as I superset the workout of back and chest. ………“ye have suffered, awhile………….make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you……I remember a scripture in my head as I do the last rep. Our gym is outside and it’s a nice peaceful morning. You hear the surrounding city traffic and movement, birds, fresh air and distant 50 cal opening up off base. Im finished working out now and I will enjoy the remaining peaceful morning and a cigar. Fifty cal rings out again off base at a local check point. I eyeball our humble 4ft Christmas tree which is a representation of this place. Lacking ornaments for the most part, we used bullets, cigars, Marlboro packs and other things we like and hung them on the tree. (There goes a large explosion detonates off base/IED most likely). The tree looks like a freaking train wreck but its our train wreck. Above it a piece of paper size cardboard box flap that reads “Merry Christmas-USMC-Iraq 2005” in permanent marker duct taped to a cami net pole. Now multiple deep thump explosions off base characteristic of a MK19 grenade launcher….friendly. Today feels like when your about to take a test you have been dreading and are nervous about but you know your ready, you’ve done other tests just like it and you’ve done all you can for this one however, you will be relieved when its over. More MK 19 impacts. Marines must have some enemy off site and engaging them. “Surreal” That’s the word for this place. As I smoke the nice stoag I scratch my head and listen to the impacts getting closer and think, I need to reshave my head. As my peach fuz hair is growing on my grape. The sound of snipers firing on a makeshift range nearby continues as they dial in their weapons. They are practicing long range shots as you can hear the shot then a full second later hear the impact. Dozens of carefully aimed shots perfectly executed as they hone and use their weapons like surgical tools. The MK 19 gunner is talking to us. Not with words but with rounds. Initially fast furious rounds were fired telling us he has the enemy in sight and is engaging to kill. Then a couple sporadic rounds telling us here is some icing for their cake to finish them off and I think I got them all. I draw a few more puffs of the even burning stoag, it’s a good one a (PUNCH) Gran Puro 48 ring. Big beastly cigar.
Like many things, size matters.

As you get on your business suit (armor) your Initial thought is that you don’t pray because you are getting use to the high pressure threats, its becoming second nature. Then you slap the hell outa yourself and begin to say a short prayer as its your foundation to pray. Then you buckle your chin strap and head for the truck.

The hummer engine is whaling as you fly down the barbed wire lined road with concrete barrier liners and fallen buildings as the backdrop. The men are working as a perfect machine, all together all in sync. Truck one calls “Donkey in the road” Donkeys are all over the place in this country and this thing is confused and trapped as big hummers fly past it. “One dismount, all black, right side” truck one calls out on the radio. Your doing your systematic checklist, curb, rooftop, alley, curb, mirror, rooftop continuous scanning the area. Looking at trash in the road, looking for a guy in all black. “Man with wires in his hand right side 40 yards” Truck two calls out. “Cant see him” Truck three says over the radio. “Gunner of truck four, “I own em” meaning hes got a beed on him with his machine gun in case he triggers an IED, that guy will die first. Nothing explodes as we speed by. It could have been nothing; it could have been a daisy chained multiple arty shell IED. Shot gun rounds ring out from my turret as the gunner warns off moving cars. They are too close to use a multiple layered escalation of force procedures and the gunner goes immediately for his shot gun. SBVIEDs happen in a flash and the gunner never hesitates as he fires warning shots
Truck one yells over the radio….skeshhhhhhhh hole in the skshhhhhhh look out for skshhhhh. We are hauling at this point. You decipher what the hell he was saying through the static in an nano second as I look to the driver and shout “right” and he knows to take evasive action as I’ve seen something and he should go right immediately. He doesn’t ask, just swerves to the right, immediately (immediate response to orders). We miss one of many previous 2 ft deep IED craters in the road. The pavement is thick and you couldn’t see the hole until right on it. Usually Haji puts multiple tank mines stacked or IEDs in previous craters. It will spell disaster if you hit one. I see young children staring at us, dirty poor things on the side street as we fly by. My chest relaxes a bit as “usually” its ok if they are out, but Haji will try to kill you and kill some poor kid just as well as long as he gets you. It looks like the beginning of a Grand Pre race where drivers swerve back and forth on the track to warm up their tires almost like a serpentine sliming down the road as the hummers swerve around previous IED craters. I have a section of Marine F-18s circling like great white sharks above us ready to dive down and tear a holy shit ass into someone if needed. Im thankful they are Marines up there, they will know how we fight and that could be the difference in tenths of seconds and again yes Im very glad their fellow Marines. We get to our destination through a narrow empty alley. Its quiet and we quickly move past bullet ridden walls to our determined location. While conducting our business inside some of the men are outside establishing security and talking with Col Oliver North. Its weird seeing him in this shit hole but he is cool as hell and shoots the shit with they guys. He’s still a Marine and the men know it. You cant bullshit the men they will smell a turd a mile away like the stench of other Marines who have strayed………He hasnt let is fame get the best of him as a young Marine asks him to sign one of the Colonels books that the young Marine knucklehed keeps in his truck to read when its slow. It’s a good bone for the men and they don’t let it interfere with business.
While inside conducting business, AKs open up at us outside the compound. Our actions inside don’t miss a beat and continue. I look to an Army joe who is with us that’s never been here before and is a bit nervous with open palmed ands I motion downward for him to relax and chill so we don’t disrupt the business at hand. No rounds are actually hitting our building and the warriors outside have it well under control. Hope the Col is in a hummer with his gear on I think to myself. I monitor the radio and its just a short enemy burst and two sniper shots. No injuries. Its time to roll. We deploy smoke in a couple locations as we move to obscure our movement from the now present snipers. This is just freaking grand, I think to myself as we move. Again the race is on “two dismounts left in alley” truck six calls out. That’s never good when truck one sees no one and the back trucks do. We lower the hammer and speed through the city as my Lt calls out on the radio with some forward thinking messages for all to hear. He’s a smart Lt and he wants to get out to be a doctor. Ive tried to convince him but he’s hell bent set to get out. So every time I see him I ride his ass and ask him what steps he has finished to accomplish his goal to be a doctor. Its opened his eyes to reality and what he has to do yet. He would be a great doctor but a better Captain in the Marines. There is that stoooooooopid donkey again, he’s been hit by Iraqi traffic and I think to myself we should shoot him and put him out of his misery but that would expose Marines to sniper fire, sorry donkey. This mission comes to an end. Adrenalin is a flowing and everyone is ok. That’s whats important, we did a good mission and everyone’s ok. ………“ye have suffered, awhile………….make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you…I Peter Ch5 ver10

Semper Fi-


COMBAT UPDATE
A local convoy was attacked today by a suicide car bomber on a street in Fallujah. The bomber was parked on the side of the street in a yellow taxi cab and detonated the bomb as the convoy passed. The attack wounded one Marine and killed the bomber. The injured Marine was taken to a nearby military hospital for follow on treatment. There were no reports of Iraqi civilians injured in the attack. The night is quiet and we haven’t had many mortar/rocket attacks today……….there is always tomorrow.


THE FEW THE PROUD What

THE FEW THE PROUD
What the heck is up with you Marines a man asked me once. I asked what do you mean? He continued and said you guys have this indescribable bond that even though you may not even know each other personally you automatically are great friends and start talking like you haven’t seen each other in awhile regardless of age, rank or gender and take care of each other as if you were brothers. I laughed and told him yes, it’s a respect thing I guess. We recognize each other as Marines and know the training the other has gone through and earned. When I was enlisted (Corporal) I stayed far away from Officers as possible. They are the “dark side” and will crush you for something or another. But since I had been an enlisted Marine and now Officer I would never ask them to do anything I haven’t done already or wouldn’t do with them. As an Officer you do everything with and for your Marines. As the same goes for any senior rank you take care of the young Marines first, its our “law”. Young Marines always eat first before Staff Sergeants and junior officers eat before senior officers. Not all branches do this but Marines do and when I was enlisted I had the goal to be an officer and promised myself that I would always take care of the enlisted Marine.
We were out in Afghani once and had hot chow arranged special air deliver to us that night . Thinking they would get hot chow a few of the men ate their single ration MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) at about lunch time. We were positioned on a 10,000 foot hill and when the time came for the aircraft to arrive the helos called and notified us of the inability to reach us because we were positioned too high for them to reach and the altitude was to thin for them to fly in. So knowing the men have to eat, the Staff Sergeants and Officers gave up their chow for the Marines. We put the junior Marines first.

In combat, wars are won by the young Marines in the mud in the alleys fighting head to head with the enemy. Granted Officers are in sync with their senior enlisted Marines and formulate the plan but it’s the team leaders who execute and determine if the plan will be a success or failure. As an officer you are responsible for whatever your men do or fail to do. With training, respect and love like they are your own kids you sharpen them to razor sharp non stop so when the time comes that they are deployed to Iraq to enforce the nations policy, you know their capabilities, and they know yours and you are successful at defeating the enemy regardless of the situation. Our bond is a brotherhood, a gun club and some even go to the extent of it being like a mafia. It will always be that way because Once a Marine Always a Marine. There are no former Marines, only dead Marines.

We were in a small village were we knew their were enemy soldiers hiding waiting for us. As we began to move towards the village the enemy small arms fire began with the distinct soundd of the Russian AK47, the Marines began to maneuver spread out and attack moving toward the reinforced enemy and into the oncoming gunfire. One squad moved and began suppression as another unit moved to kill the insurgents. An advancing Marine exposeshimself and gets hit in the leg and is down in the open. His is bleeding badly and is in the the middle of the street. His First Sergeant (senior enlisted in a rifle company) sees the Marine and without hesitation exposes himself to enemy fire runs down the middle of the street to retrieve the downed Marine. He tries picks the Marine up over his shoulder but he is too heavy with all of the gear and he has no time to ponder as bullets continue to be fire at them He drags him back behind a rock where the corpsman begin treating him for his wound. A tourniquet is applied and he will be ok but perhaps not if the 1stSgt didn’t act quickly without care of himself and retrieve the Marine before another round could have mortally wounded him. There are hundreds of stories as this but we as Marines never leave a man behind, never despite the danger.

We as Marines care for one another, police our own and hold each other accountable for our actions. We are Marines by choice, we don’t make policy we enforce it and we do it together as one team, one voice. Apparently this is something Senator Murtha has forgotten. He isn’t caring for your Marines or America. He isn’t speaking with one voice and by pulling out of Iraq or Afghanistan before we are done is treason. He continues with his damage control techniques but it to late Senator. As I sat next to him in Haditha Iraq during his visit and he pounded on the table with his closed fist and stated we are behind you and we want to finish this. Well Sir you finished this alright although Im not talking about Iraq, Im talking about your career and your respect. You have lost the respect of the brotherhood. You have failed to take care of your junior Marines Sir! You have to live with that on your conscious. I would rather be dead than disrespect all of the fallen Marines as you have.

I guess what that guy in the beginning witnessed was the American spirit and the brotherhood of the Marines. Someone who has earned the title of The Few and The Proud and kept it.

May God continue to Bless America. Captain of Marines.

COMBAT UPDATE
Iraqi Army Soldiers, U.S. Marines and Army Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team (28th Infantry Division) concluded Operation Gashshaar (Skinner) in central Ramadi today. The operation began on the evening of Dec. 7 and was the seventh disruption operation conducted in Ramadi since Nov. 16 to set conditions in the city for successful elections December 15. The operation netted four weapons caches and several detainees and also two command initiated rocket systems designed to ambush passing convoys in central Ramadi. The combined forces also discovered a roadside bomb that the insurgents planned to use in the rocket attack.Iraqi and U.S. forces also disrupted terrorist plans when they discovered an insurgent bomb making factory in the center of the Ramadi Shopping district. Artillery and mortar rounds, timers and remote detonators were found in the bomb making facility. The previous operations conducted by the Iraqi Army and U.S. Forces in Ramadi recently were: Operation Panthers, Bruins, Lions, Tigers, Shank and Rams. Details concerning Operation Skinner were not provided earlier due to operational security.