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JUST ANOTHER DAY What was

JUST ANOTHER DAY What was your day like? Yea, so was mine…………well, I bet ours was a bit different. I take for granted that you don’t know what our day is like. This is our way of life here and sometimes you think that’s all there is. You back in the states……..your in another world entirely. Here in Iraq you have your routine and you don’t think about the states or at least you try not to. Over the past year here its almost like the states is make believe. In Afghani, it was all mud huts and generator power. Few cars and all the other healthy stuff that comes with a third world country. Bacteria that eats the flesh, things that grow in the dirt I wouldn’t mention at a biker bar and its not if you get sick but just how bad you get sick. HA!! I laugh at you Montezuma’s revenge! You little girlie man virus!

Your day may have entailed getting up, going eating breakfast (probably not for what ever reason) hurrying off to work, dealing with delusional idiots on the road who ate one too many stupid pills or are still asleep. Or perhaps you had a special day where your car didn’t operate correctly and the shit storm began there. Once getting to work you put in an honest day (had to listen to that damn big mouth down from you, who you might want to drop kick into a four lane highway) and for you female gender out there he probably has hit on you time again and wont get the hint when you call him Eric Estrada…you say “idiot” as you have mental thoughts of charging a Browning Urban Assault black tint shot gun and aiming in on him….snap out of it woman! You boss is an idiot and you clinch your fists together and say in a mumbled stuttered voice…..give me another report and I’ll, I’ll burn building down……..

An overpriced lunch that some 18 year old threw together for you…….I cant describe where that could go or what is really in it. Back to work to finish up the day to only deal with even more idiots, dodge the bus driver who doesn’t see you or swerve to prevent a side swipe by the driver changing lanes without looking (no more pills idiot! ) . Get home, ponder whats for dinner and try to salvage some family time before you pass out. Man you guys are screwed, Im not coming back, end of post…………

Our day or I should say routine is a bit different. Yea I know we are in a war zone. But going back to what you are doing there in the states may be scary as hell. At least here when I hear an explosion, I know its either incoming, outgoing, IED, SVBIED, etc etc. We get up, now in this time of year its still dark and you get moving. Some days you are the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. Sleeping in, forgetaboutit! But wait, before we go any further let me tell you about 0100 when the IEDs went off or the incoming hit and you use to get up and get your business suit on and now your like……uh..oh it was and IED and far enough away and go back to sleep. Days are different out here. Sometimes your off base and Taking Care of Business (TCB) but while your off base the paperwork beast awaits for your return. Yes, there is always a chance of having a rocket come out of no where and turn you into a stain on the wall but hey that’s why we say when it your time its your time. Your aware of it but you don’t let it drive your actions.

So no shit there we were……….hehe, the day had been going good. Nice quiet, a time that we are back on base and not out and about. Cleaning up a few things and was able burn a stoag or two……..maybe three as we field day the area (cleaned up). I can hear my mother NOW, those are bad for you………..yes, but so are RPGs!! Everything is freaking GRAND when a launch is heard (rocket launch) and the subsonic flight of the rocket cutting through the air is very distinctive. Its not headed directly for us but it still makes you run for your shelter. Impact is about 200-300 yrds away and it’s a good one. Shortly after the impact our counter battery is all over them dumping “justice” on top of them. Eat that shit birds!!!! A bit later I think then as things cool off, I should go PT and go for a run.

Im telling you there must be a Haji appointed to watch me for when I go to the head and tell his buddies to launch the mortars as soon as I go in. I fooled them for awhile with my double………..not! No sooner do I get one foot outa the shower after my run. Crump, Crump……….Crump. I think to myself, those little mother Ffffff (sorry kids) scratches as I hug the shitter floor. Nothing to be excited about as the head floor is pretty nasty. Floor scum or shrapnel, scum or shrapnel…….tuff one. I take the floor scum. Small arms and RPG fire breaks out following the incoming. Well there isn’t that special……they decided to conduct a nice coordinated attack just off base (said in the church lady voice). So I finish toweling off and figure I’ll stay put for a minute as the couple min small arms fight subsides and the facility Im in is bunkered protected. There begins a lull so I figure, ok Im gonna make a run for my hooch. One step outside and just as I do a RPG impacts off base and the small arms begins again (Im so going to get that guy watching me) and as I begin my sprint for the hooch, two small arms rounds are distinctly heard going right over my head. OK, this looks like a good place to seek cover as I duck behind some sand barriers. Ho hum life is grand as all hell breaks loose across the way. One of our guards waved to me from his bunker in full gear. I wave back with a sarcastic “Hello” Smart Ass as he has a big shit eating grin on his face as he watches me do the “oh shit sprint” behind cover. Once things go into a lull I begin my shower shoe shuffle back to my hooch once again I think, man that would suck to buy the farm in the head. REAL great. Tomb stone reads “died in Iraq fighting soap scum” GRAND, Fierce!!

The funny thing is that “Taco” was supposed to be here the day this was going down. We would have been looking at each other laughing at each other like little school girls I bet as shit hit the fan. This reminded me of the time about 7-8 months ago when I got back on base late and went for a run at night. It was the summer time and my mother continued to ask me if I had been going to church. I said nope, I don’t like going to gatherings of large amounts of people cause it’s a mortar magnet. I still got a lecture. So as I ran I passed the church with her words in my head. No sooner do I get 100 yrds past it a bad sand storm develops quickly and its hard to see and dark. Then I heard lightening, or I thought but it was yet another rocket attack and guess where it hit? Yip,the church. Bad Haji’s very baaaaaaad.


Evenings are usually pretty mellow. Many finish up work around 1900-2000 as almost a way for the time to pass quicker if your busy. Then maybe a nice stoag while the constant prayers wale about, sending their propaganda through the city….Americans are bad……bla bla bla….or ……stay inside so you don’t get hurt during upcoming attacks against the infidels. The summer time it was still in the 90s around 2000 and we would be outside in PT gear but now with an occasional rain and it dropping into the 30’s we be loading up on the snivel gear to hang out at night. However its amazing how pretty the sunsets can be but know on the other end of that there is so much of a lack for life here as well. We work seven days a week with a partial day on Sunday and you may not do anything in the morning but work until the late hours of the night. You’re a Marine 24/7.

Here the days are exciting and the nights, if quiet, then they can get exciting. Your days although crazy will get quiet. What was your day like? Yea, so was mine…………

Keep Attacking!
Semper Fi
Capt B....moving towards a CeeGar!


THE YOUNG MARINE BREAKS THE





THE YOUNG MARINE BREAKS THE CODE
Type type type, ="<$BlogURLTyPingSuCks#@$>">…..HTML code is FUN! I try to tell myself as I continue to get severely beasted on entering some good HTML upgrades for the Blog. So as I continue to hack away at the computer with a dull hatchet and say nasty things about its mother, I seek help from one of our computer Jedi’s. After pulling a standard mind trick on me……….Sir, you will not figure it out, got to bed as he waves his hand. We continue our conversation and he mentions how he is trying to get into school and increase his education. Like many young Marines he’s a sharp guy, not just because of his computer skills but as his overall character makes him well balanced. So instead of putting the post I had ready, it can wait as below is Sgt M’s essay.

After you read it you too will agree America is lucky to have these young warriors on our side and so eager to serve, ……..Sir, you are taking too much time and babbling.(hand wave)………..Knock off the hand waving already MR jedi, your making me tired.

When I joined the Marine Corps in February of 2002, I was really looking for a way to pay for college. The college I attended for just one semester went bankrupt, causing me to lose my full scholarship. I signed the enlistment papers never thinking about going to war, even though the United States was attacked by terrorists just a few months earlier.
I drifted through the first year of my military career unmoved by what was happening around me. Units were deploying, there was a war in Afghanistan, and tensions were mounting in Iraq. I went through recruit training, combat training, and my military occupational specialty school, each putting more and more emphasis on being prepared to deploy.
My first duty station was at the 2d Marine Division, a Marine Corps infantry division. For the first six months after my arrival on Camp Lejeune, I watched the wars on the evening news. Nothing about the either war, Afghanistan or Iraq, had affected me personally yet.
One day in the summertime, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, I was told to assist in the preparation of a memorial service that was for Marines who died in the first wave invasion of Iraq. I figured I would be setting up chairs and tents for the ceremony. That day, however, changed my life; my duty was much different from what I pictured in my mind. As we ushered the families of the fallen heroes, I realized how much had been given by these Marines. I was selected to accompany a young woman, who was approximately 20 years old, carrying two children. I took one of the children, and she wrapped her arm inside mine as we walked forward to the memorial service.
We were seated side by side with the rest of the mourning families. The death of her husband was being represented in true military fashion: a kevlar helmet, wearing a set of goggles, perched on top of a rifle that was standing at attention muzzle down at the heals of the boots that the young man wore in Iraq. A set of dog-tags dangled from the hand grip of the rifle. This was one of twenty-six displays in front of the families and the formation of over two thousand Marines in attendance.
They play taps on a trumpet when a three-man detail of Marines lowers a flag at sunset. I have since heard it several times, but that day marked the first time that I heard taps being played when Marines, not our nation’s colors, were being laid to rest. The young woman found temporary comfort in crying on my shoulder, though I knew it could never take the place of the husband she was laying to rest. I cried with her, for I felt I had lost a brother. It was then that I realized what the Marine Corps was all about.
There had been talk about our division deploying to the war in Iraq, but the dates just kept being pushed back further and further. After two years on station, I could have requested to be moved to a different unit or a different base. Just before I made the decision to change units, our date was set: our division was finally deploying for Operation Iraqi Freedom. We were going to war.
No matter what kind of danger I just put myself in, I could not coax myself out of being faithful, especially to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. My decision to stay in the division a little longer was rewarded with the opportunity to go to war in Iraq with my fellow Marines, my best friends. At first, there was nervousness throughout the platoon from not knowing what to expect, but we were there for each other. We talked about what our jobs were going to be and we focused on doing those jobs perfectly. By the time we got on the bus in late February of 2005, we were ready.
Eleven months later, we are nearing the end of our tour and I am still here past the end of my four year contract. Not because I was forced; rather, I am here because I volunteered to stay so that I could be with my friends. Today we said goodbye to a couple of guys from my section, the first of many. Unlike some goodbyes in the past, these ones are cheerful because these men are going home to be with their families, not to be buried. In the last year, we learned to live comfortably together, work seamlessly together, fight fights together, celebrate happy times together, and mourn the loss of our friends together. We became a family, however we are going home with one less member than we came here with. But like any family, that one member will always be with us in our hearts.
I joined the Marine Corps over four years ago for the college money. Now that I am about to finish my tour, I am reflecting on what I got out of it. Yes, I will get the college money, but what I was given is much deeper than the materialistic values. I have the advantage of knowing that I served faithfully with the greatest fighting force in the world. I have the benefit of knowing that I was part of the strongest brotherhood known to man, a brotherhood whose members would gladly go to war with you and lay their lives on the line for you. I have the profit of knowing that I retain some of the strongest friendships that could ever exist, friendships that most people will never be lucky enough to experience in their entire lives. I have the honor of knowing that I am a United States Marine.


Thanks Sgt M for sending me your essay, it’s a pleasure to serve here in Iraq with you and the many other outstanding Marines like you.

Semper Fi
Capt B
Time for a CeeGar!!
(TCB)


BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE


BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE
Iraq, like America continues through its growing pains and tribulations to become a new nation. Great strives have been accomplished throughout the country at the expense of Iraqi, Coalition and International forces over the past year. Like America it has become a new nation conceived through liberty and freedom. Its amazing how solid history tends to hold true throughout time. Like America, Iraq is growing as a country and we can see the same growing pains in Iraq that we experienced here in America. Your service members continue to make sacrifice, reinforce dedication to what they believe in and continue to make valuable gains for the people of Iraq. Their efforts here in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be forgotten and will forever be placed in our history as selfishness acts of freedom and gratitude and it will never be forgotten what we accomplished here, for the people. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg AddressLike the Iraqi people, we in America need to always remember what we have and not to take it for granted. It is easy to take your way of life for granted. Your means of travel, your house, your job and the simple things in life you have never appreciated unless you’ve done without. Imagine what it would be like without them. Imagine what it would be like without freedom. With your continued support your service members have been the military force to help Iraq, but you the people of America people have been the spirit to help a nation grow, both their and ours. Keep Attacking!
Capt B


THE MARINE He’s Billy from

THE MARINE
He’s Billy from down the street, your friends kid, your old student. He might have cut your grass you might have watched him as a kid. He left home to the unknown, was taught and tested until he earned the title. He has learned the meaning of Semper Fi. He doesn’t see black, white or brown, just green and we never leave green behind. He became comfortable being miserable and welcomes fear and knows how to deal with it. Sent around the world to do a man’s job and became a man in the process. He puts up with a shit ton of crap, bitches and moans but gets it done and better than most adults. Adapts to change easily like a chameleon and uses flexibility as a foundation. Smart, cunning and loyal. Will listen to what he is afraid to hear and acts on it. Will walk to hell and back with the ones he respects. Razor sharp, smart and shinned. A bit cocky, and mean as hell. Full of fight because that’s all some have. Single, orphaned; only son, outcasted he has joined the Marine family and for some that’s all there is. Proud disciplined, cleans up well and short haired. Keeps his body and mind tuned and improves both constantly. Follows direction even when he is too tired to know why. Proud enough to give his life for others but takes others if he has to. Returns home in the middle of the night, no welcoming bands, no flags, just his fellow Marines and gets ready to start all over the next day. He’s pushed his body to failure then continued and went further. Measures twice and cuts once. He can sleep on a rock, in the mud or out to sea. Walks in the footsteps of warriors past and isn’t afraid to stand and protect the weak. Because of warriors like him we are free.

He’s a son, a daddy, an assault man, a tanker, a brother, a daughter. A feeder to the hungry and a killer of evil. He wants to be different and make a difference. He’s the one you didn’t think would amount to much but has become one of the few. He wears his uniform proudly when it’s not popular; he stands watch while others rest. The mention of his name puts the fear of god into his enemy’s hearts. We send fewer men like him to do the work of many and expect greater results in a shorter time. He welcomes the impossible. He thrives on challenge and loves it when they say he can’t do it. Polite but a bit rough around the edges and crude. Smells like oil, grease, dirt and sweat. Likes his team logo on his arm and everywhere else. He does all of this with honor courage and commitment.

He’s the kid down the street, the little brother, the new born father, the uncle you met once. He’s the man your mother tells you about in all of the pictures that you would have liked to have met when he was alive. He’s your dad. He volunteered to do all of this for you and me; he’s the best you’ve seen because he’s a US Marine.

To all the Marines out there. Thank you & Semper Fi.

Capt B,
Taking Care of Business (TCB)

COMBAT UPDATE
FORWARD OPERATING BASE HIT, Iraq – Iraqi Army soldiers and approximately 1,000 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), are conducting counterinsurgency operations in the Al Anbar province. Operation Wadi Aljundi (Koa Canyon) began Jan. 15 in an effort to capture or kill insurgents and to locate and destroy their weapons caches in the Western Euphrates River Valley between the Jubbah/Baghdadi region and the city of Hit. This combined operation involves 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Division, and the 22nd MEU’s ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
The majority of the forces are conducting cordon and knock operations and searching areas of interest for weapons and insurgent activity along the Euphrates River, approximately 80 miles northwest of Baghdad. In addition to the Iraqi Army, Marines are also working with Iraqi Police in the Baghdadi region. More information on the operation will be released as it becomes available. The 22nd MEU (SOC) is operating under the tactical control of the 2nd Marine Division. For more information on the 22nd MEU (SOC) visit www.22meu.usmc.mil.


SAVING THE WORLD There are

SAVING THE WORLD
There are many things we do to assist the Iraqi people both visible and sometimes not very visible. Many smaller events get accomplished so that larger ones can continue to move on and form the country’s independence. The event themselves I wont discuss but you can get a feeling at least of how we felt traveling around the area saving the world or so it seemed.

Our convoy began in the dark. It was a good one and longer than most. All was good as I peered through my ballistic orange glasses for low light use. Not many Haji’s out and the travel was fast. The sun began to come up and we had to move to another base. Our mission would help many other Iraqis in the long run down the road. It was imperative to get there as we would be going through a lot of shady parts of town (Regular freaking carnival ride!). We moved through a farley large city and it looked like ruins of some Roman Empire with black smoke throughout. (no kilts) Our gunners fire a few warning shotgun shots at a car that doesn’t want to stop. The whole time your doing the continuous IED scanning from hell, here there everywhere, where is the next one going off going to come from? The black burnt craters from past SVBIEDs are always reassuring and a deadly reminder along the highway. Truck one relays to watch the black bag on the right shoulder (characteristic of IEDs). We adjust. Flash bangs detonate near another truck who isn’t stopping. (9 out of 10 times they just don’t see us until we are upon them but the one time is the one that will kill you) This is why we use an escalation of force instead of gunning them down right off the bat. The sun is coming up and its an huge yellow sun rising with clouds above it and looks like something out of the holiday season tv version of the Ten Commandments. We get closer to our destination and more traffic is appearing but the Marines handle it well. Adjusting and clearing traffic we reach our destination without any problems. The credit goes to the young Marines being vigilant and proactive. What great leaders our county has to look forward to as they young Men continue to grow. We complete the first phase of our mission which takes the majority of the day. Many key personnel are involved and Iraq’s future begins to become visible and Americas exit begins to become even more apparent. We are finished here and now have to move to yet another location for more business to conduct.

We began our helo departure as it was dark, wind blowing and cold. The low illume turquoise lights from inside the helo showed our small group onto the aircraft. Crew chiefs manning the guns with their green glow around their eyes from their Night Vision Devices (NVGs) sat ready manning their 50 cals as we began to take off. Engines whining, fluid dripping (it’s a good thing when they leak, its when they quit leaking is when you worry) The aircraft noses down as we lifted off for some reason the song “Born to be wild” by Steppenwolf began to play in my head and my toes began to tap. The low illume lights went out inside the helo and the ever present smell of JP8 aircraft fuel ran through the cabin. The shake of the helo is perfect to put you to sleep. It’s a short hop so I fight the sleep and look out the back ramp of the helo and see lit up clouds by a full moon. Its pitch black in the cabin. As we travel I catch the dark yellow moons reflection on the Euphrates as we fly over a section of the river. As we continue the moon disappears because of darker lower clouds we fly into and they begin to surround us. Its completely dark in the cabin minus the green eyes behind the 50 cals and a couple instrument lights in the cockpit. Then, a big flash and I fight my gear to twist to scan out a window and begin to clean the crap out of shorts. Its never good to see a big flash in the sky with helos. There is no more moon out and the flash was very bright. Were not hit I thought as we are still flying. As I always sit in the same place on the bird I know how to get out if we go into the drink (water) and as I reach for a well known handle to turn just in time to see spider webs of lightening go through the black cloudy sky just above us. Great! Grand! Wonderful! Were heading into a thunderstorm. The kind or lightening you see out on the prairie in the movies. Its actually pretty neat to see, just not at a few thousand feet. The aircraft drops down nice and a lot lower than usual as I can easily see the halogen lights that light up the houses in Haji land as we fly over them. For some reason I think about the last cigar I burnt about a half hour ago, it still tastes good. More lightening bolts off in the distance as the flight is pretty smooth surprisingly and there is a diamond shape cut out of the clouds as the full moon briefly shines through then goes behind black clouds. We approach our landing site banking hard left and I can make out a black helo silhouette behind us as the “Dash 2” helo approaches in our adjacent path. We are low over the city and anti missile chaff begins to deploy off the aircraft to misdirect surface to air missile (basically it seems someone is locking on to us ) CRAPTFREAKINGASTIC!! Just what I need. I have had a long butt crack day, been up since yesterday, sitting in crap (not really) and now surface to air threat. We land however without any problems (ok the flyboys did a good job) and we are on the ground. Its dark, soaked ground from hours of past rain and our night begins to wind down but before we rack we go over the next days plan.

It was a short night (stooopid alarm clock) and its still dark as I enjoy a nice pop tart and coffee………..cigar to follow of course. We have yet another mission and its going to be a white knuckle ride. Im not humming Born to be wild anymore more like shitting diamonds cause we are so puckered. Helo support is above us and nice and low where I can see the pilots. I like it that way! We begin out the route weave through the many barriers to only be met by the many IED pot holes in the road right off the bat. My driver hits a pot hole (never good) and I say do you think we can go AROUND the potholes; I really don’t want to hit any mines today! He is trying but he still hits a couple. We can’t afford to get dead. Not today. We continue to motor down and have the air support about 50 yrds ahead of us at a couple hundred feet just looking for ass to beat. Our Forward Air Controller (FAC) vectors them to recon our path and watch our flanks as the city is bare and empty. We have a million moving parts to today’s op and for some reason things are just not going as planed. They say the best laid plan changes as soon as you step off. We ours went into another millennium. Adapt, overcome feel like shooting something, its all good we adjust and overcome. We get to our destination in downtown. First class craphole. Its like if you ever asked yourself, hmmmmmmmw here is the worse place I could think about being. BINGO, your there. The buildings shot up from previous gun fights, collapsed building floors, nasty standing water and a nice stench lead your way. We conduct our business with the Hajis’s who we are working with. Its pretty interesting and they are doing their damnedest to build their country. You got to give it to them when they know America’s history and George Washington better than some Americans. We talk and they tell us, yes like George Washington this and GW that, our country will be great soon. Good on em………time to go, see ya. We load up our Marines and do the smashed pedal race back to base. The Army works well with us as they cover our flanks as we move through the city. Im always scanning and all of a sudden I see a black silhouette on a roof top and so does the gunner as he swings the turret around and the split second that goes by I make out a burkah and not a black hooded RPG shooter. The gunner and I comment on that later and agree it got our attention as she was just hanging laundry, the young Marine says with a shit eating grin on his face. We continue to haul ass back home and arrive without incident. Another couple fun packed days in Iraq.

I figured I would try to give you an idea of what it’s like here a couple days at a whack. For those Marines who are on post consecutively and cant email you and explain what they see and do, the above is for them and for the Iraqi we are helping. The Ones who are working with us and the ones who cant do it for themselves.

Semper FI
Capt B


COMBAT UPDATE
Approximately 400 Iraqi Police candidates arrived in Baghdad early this morning from the Al Anbar Province to begin a ten week Iraqi Police training course. Half of the men were recruited from the Al Qa’im region in western Al Anbar and the other half from the provincial capital, Ar Ramadi. On Jan. 5 a suicide bomber attacked the recruitment center in Ramadi killing more than 30 applicants. Despite that attack, the recruits returned en masse today. There are approximately 1,200 Iraqi Police Officers patrolling the streets of Fallujah with 400 more attending the Baghdad Police Academy. This is the first large group of Iraqi Police candidates from Ramadi and the Western Euphrates River Valley to attend the Ministry of Interior’s police training. U.S. Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team (28th Infantry Division) assisted in providing security for the convoy to Baghdad. Subsequent groups of candidates will attend this training course in the near future.


SACRIFICE While in this country


SACRIFICE
While in this country of Iraq, I have seen a lot of great things transpire, people stand up and a country become proud and strong. I could tell you how your Marines brave small arms attacks; tracers in the cold night, IEDs exploding just feet from them, sometimes underneath them, nightly Islamic prayers played on loud speakers during sundown and intermingled with a low base IED explosions off in the distance. The smell of trash and tires burning continuously throughout the day. I could explain how during a cold brisk morning we went out and about through the city escorting a few more “passengers”. Life is good, things are just freaking chipper. The schedule is on track and we pause and stop to observe some new Marine Corps equipment and as we begin to get briefed from the Soldiers who run the gear, two enemy sniper rounds fired from at least a mile away hit in close proximity. The Marines know what they heard and move to protect our passengers when a 60mm round hits about 30 yrds in front of us. We had a good berm to cover us and we continued to move into our hummers to evacuate the area before they can bracket us and lock onto our position and do some real damage.

But what I will tell you about is the smell inside an envelope from home. Where you can actually smell some of the things that where there when the letter was written. You can close your eyes and recognize the smell of the familiar little one who wrote you the letter. You can pick up on familiar surrounding’s like the pledge cleaner that was used on the table where the letter was written on or remember where the flowers are in your home that are neatly placed and accompany your letter. The smell of the room where the letter was written in cuts through the familiar burning tire trash smell you’re currently surrounded in. It’s a nice treat to get mail regardless who it is from. You get the letter here in a country that doesn’t even have a mail system. It might have been a week old which is better than past wars where it could have been months before you received a piece of mail, it’s a special piece of home.

I can tell you about the sacrifices your service members have made in this war alike the ones in the past. The birthdays you miss, the graduations that are complete minus dad, the dad that has to be both a mom and dad. The feeling a young Marine father has who stands guard on a post during a national holiday while his kids open presents back home. Having to deal with monsters in closets and taking off training wheels at home while their warrior is away helping a country take their training wheels off as well. The simple words from a youngster saying “I just want my daddy home” can carry a ton of weight just as much as a warrior says, we will prevail and we are here to help. Both know the meaning of sacrifice, both smell the envelopes from their loved ones.

Your service members and families know sacrifice because they not only feel it, they live it. Not just from Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, but as long as this country has had to make war, we have made sacrifice. Sacrifice as a country at home and a far. Its not easy, its not always fun but when we make a sacrifice it is for the good and a good cause. We help others who have no hope, we dedicate our loved ones to complete the mission. We don’t take it lightly and we play to win. We know the sacrifice and we are proud of what we do. The next time you write your service member a letter, know what is going into it and what they will get out of it. While in the country of America, I have seen a lot of great things transpire, people stand up and a country become proud and strong.


COMBAT UPDATE
Things continue to keep you on your toes. IEDs a plenty and the sporadic small arms fire are continuous. Marines continue to take the fight to the enemy and continue to show the enemy the definition of sacrifice and we allow them to experience it.

Iraqi Army soldiers and U.S. Marines uncovered hundreds of mortars, artillery rounds, rockets and other warheads during the 3-day sweep near the ancient town of Hit in Al Anbar province.
“This was our biggest find to date,” said 1st Lt. Antonio Agnone, the combat engineer platoon leader for Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. “We’ve uncovered numerous, and significant caches the insurgents have hidden in Hit in places where they thought they would have easy access to them.”
In just a few days, Iraqi soldiers from 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division and Marines under 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), 2nd Marine Division unearthed nearly 500 rockets and artillery and mortar rounds, along with approximately 100 tank rounds and large quantities of rocket propellant, fuses, and blasting caps. These supplies are the components insurgents commonly use to make improvised explosive devices. A stockpile of assault rifles, ammunition and two IEDs were also discovered. The weapons and ordnance were destroyed.
Iraqi soldiers patrolled the perimeter of the cache sites to keep residents away from the insurgents’ unexploded ordnance and answer their questions concerning the operation.
According to Agnone, what amazed many of his Marines, who are new to the theatre, was the lengths the insurgents would go to hide the caches. In one instance, the insurgents defiled a local cemetery to place their stash.
Acting on a tip, Iraqi Army soldiers and Coalition Forces carefully searched the cemetery and found caches in grave spots adorned with both head and foot markers.
“We went over the area very carefully with mine detectors,” explained Agnone, “and that led us to the sites. We were very careful and didn’t disturb any civilian graves in the process.”
In addition to BLT 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, the 22nd MEU (SOC) consists of its command element, MEU Service Support Group 22, and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced). The 22nd MEU is in the Western Euphrates River Valley area conducting counterinsurgency operations under the 2nd Marine Division.

Keep Attacking!
Time for a CeeGar!
Capt B


GLADIATORS! Modern day warriors. So


GLADIATORS!
Modern day warriors. So we aren’t beating the crap out of criminals or fighting lions on Saturday afternoons in coliseums and eating chicken drumsticks in the streets (ok Im not sure about that last one) but today’s warriors are as tuff and have the same fight in them as the old Roman tuff guys did. Covered with armor, multiple weapons hanging on them and traveling in packs, today’s Marines bring victory in multiple size cans of whoop ass and flexibility to respond anywhere in the world. Tuff, young full of tenacity and spirit, we defend a country and help the little guy all in the same set of armor. We wear the white hat and do what’s right even when its not popular. Selfless sacrifice, it isn’t uncommon to here of Marines giving their all to aide others and paying the ultimate price in doing it.

The recent book “Jarhead” story’s and other neanderthal style inaccurate view of us are in mostly error, in the minority and are derived from an one viewed originator with little experience or future. Today’s Marines are smart as a whip, dedicated, healthy and strong. They have goals and are determined to make a difference in the world and are a good example of how one person can make a difference and did I mentioned they volunteered for this stuff?. Brave, tuff as nails and confident, today’s Gladiators demonstrate how they can be your worse nightmare one second and care for children the next. Young Marines make life threatening decisions in a blink of an eye, leading squads of Marines in way that large corporations could only dream about having in their management team function and doing it in the worse conditions. In fact many corporations do pursue Marines to employ as they know they have the leadership, organizational skills and maturity demanded in upper management businesses.

The young Marines are the ones getting things done on the streets. The Gladiators in the arena of today’s battles.

For extraordinary heroism while serving as a Scout Sniper, Scout Sniper Platoon, in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the battle for Baghdad, Sergeant M's sniper team arrived within Company F's position as they came under heavy small arms fire from a determined enemy force. He immediately encouraged Marines to deploy and return fire. Noticing a disabled civilian vehicle on the road in the line of fire and with complete disregard for his own life, he rushed forward amidst a hail of gunfire and dragged a wounded Iraqi civilian to safety. Returning to the front, he spotted a wounded Marine struggling to get off the same fire swept street, he risked his life to lead the Marine to safety. Returning to the front, he spotted a wounded Marine lying in the street. Ignoring the hailstorm of bullets, Sergeant M rushed into the street for a third time to carry the injured Marine to safety. Sergeant M returned a fourth time to evacuate an unconscious Marine. Returning to the front again, he dashed into the contested street and assisted a Marine to safety who had been dazed by an explosion. Sergeant M ensured medical attention was administered and verified that evacuations were ongoing. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Sergeant M reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT(Paris Sorbonne,1910)
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy as Automatic Rifleman, 1st Plt, Company L, 2d Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 04-06. O 8 May 2005, during an assault in New Ubaydi, Iraq an enemy ambush seriously wounded four members of Lance Corporal C’s squad and trapped two of them in a courtyard. Leaving his covered position, he engaged the enemy at point blank range with his M249 machinegun thereby allowing one injured Marine to be pulled to cover. He then joined a Marine in a frontal assault of the ambush site forcing two insurgents from the rear of the house and into friendly fire and permitting the recovery of the wounded injured Marine. As the assault to clear the house continued, armor piercing rounds were fired from a hidden bunker beneath the floor boards, mortally wounding another Marine. Lance Corporal C refused to leave the building without the fallen Marine, and twice brave intense machinegun fire while attempting to recover the fallen Marine’s remains. On 11 May, an improvised explosive device destroyed Lance Corporal C amphibious assault vehicle, killing or wounding all 17 passengers. Ignoring his wounds, he attempted to recover wounded Marines trapped inside the vehicle to only be thrown out of the vehicle from a secondary explosion. Receiving additional shrapnel wounds, yet undeterred, Lance Corporal C returned to the burning vehicle and pulled a Marine to safety. By his bold leadership, wise judgment and complete dedication to duty, Lance Corporal C reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Honoring SSGT Daniel Clay, USMC

SPEECH OFHON. JEFF MILLEROF FLORIDAIN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESTHURSDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2005
Mr. MILLER of Florida.: Mr. Speaker, this week I attended the funeral of SSgt Daniel Clay. Sergeant Clay was from my district and one of ten Marines killed by an IED in Fallujah, Iraq on December 1, 2005.
Dan's father, Bud Clay, shared with me a letter his son wrote to his loved ones before he was killed. Accompanying his son's letter was a letter Bud had written to President Bush. Mr. Clay asked me to take this to Congress and share with you so that we could all see Dan's final thoughts and wishes.
May God Bless SSgt Daniel Clay, his family, our veterans, our troops, and the United States of America.
MOM, DAD, KRISTIE, JODIE, KIMBERLY, ROBERT, KATY, RICHARD, AND MY LISA: Boy do I love each and every one of you. This letter being read means that I have been deemed worthy of being with Christ. With MaMa Jo, MaMa Clay, Jennifer ..... all those we have been without for our time during the race. This is not a bad thing. It is what we hope for. The secret is out. He lives and His promises are real! It is not faith that supports this .... But fact and I now am a part of the promise. Here is notice! Wake up! All that we hope for is Real. Not a hope. But Real. But here is something tangible. What we have done in Iraq is worth any sacrifice. Why? Because it was our duty. That sounds simple. But all of us have a duty. Duty is defined as a God given task.! Without duty life is worthless. It holds no type of fulfillment. The simple fact that our bodies are built for work has to lead us to the conclusion that God (who made us) put us together to do His work. His work is different for each of us. Mom, yours was to be the glue of our family, to be a pillar for those women (all women around you), Dad, yours was to train and build us (like a Platoon Sgt) to better serve Him. Kristie, Kim, Katy you are the five team leaders who support your Squad ldrs, Jodie, Robert and Richard. Lisa you too. You are my XO and you did a hell of a job. You all have your duties. Be thankful that God in His wisdom gives us work. Mine was to ensure that you did not have to experience what it takes to protect what we have as a family. This I am so thankful for. I know what honor is. It is not a word to be thrown around. It has been an Honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to. This is as close! to Christ-like I can be. That emulation is where all honor lies. I thank you for making it worthwhile. As a Marine this is not the last Chapter. I have the privilege of being one who has finished the race. I have been in the company of heroes. I now am counted among them. Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting. Now here are my final wishes. Do not cry! To do so is to not realize what we have placed all our hope and faith in. We should not fear. We should not be sad. Be thankful. Be so thankful. All we hoped for is true. Celebrate! My race is over, my time in war zone is over. My trials are done. A short time separates all of us from His reality. So laugh. Enjoy the moments and your duty. God is wonderful. I love each and every one of you. Spread the word .... Christ lives and He is Real. Semper Fidelis,
December 7, 2005. President George Bush, The White House, Washington, DC. DEAR PRESIDENT BUSH: My name is Bud Clay. My son, SSgt Daniel Clay--USMC was killed last week, 12/01/05, in Iraq. He was one of the ten Marines killed by the IED in Fallujah. Dan was a Christian--he knew Jesus as Lord and Savior--so we know where he is. In his final letter (one left with me for the family--to be read in case of his death) he says ``if you are reading this, it means my race is over.'' He's home now--his and our real home. I am writing to you--to tell you how proud and thankful we (his parents and family) are of you and what you are trying to do to protect us all. This was Dan's second tour in Iraq--he knew and said that his being there was to protect us. I want to encour! age you. I hear in your speeches about ``staying the course''. I also know that many are against you in this ``war on Terror'' and that you must get weary in the fight to do what is right. We and many others are praying for you to see this through--as Lincoln said, ``that these might not have died in vain''. You have a heavy load--we are praying for you. God bless you, BUD CLAYPensacola, FL

The above two award citations and last letter home are good examples of countless events that happen to Marines every day here in Iraq. These examples display selfless actions on the battlefield, acts of bravery and show the core Gladiator spirit which is still alive in your Marines. This spirit has been in Marines throughout the years to include WWI & WWII and even back then they had the same warrior mentality.

Don’t fret America, our nation will prosper and grow because we have young men and women in our armed forces who will be tomorrow’s leaders, who knows what the word commitment means, who don’t cut and run, who know we can’t let mad dictators eliminate innocent people and completely understand the cost of these actions but still have the guts to do something about it. We protect life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nobody’s going to come to our shores and tell our children what we can and can’t do, I will be dead before that happens. Yes we are in good shape America because we have modern day Gladiators amongst us!

Semper Fidelis, time for a CeeeGar!

Capt B


COMBAT UPDATE
IEDs are ever present in the area (big surprise) although them enemy tries intimidation tactics of suicide bombers in Iraqi Police recruiting areas and fails to deter the Iraqi’s from making a difference. These tactics show how desperate the insurgents have come in their attempts to discourage the Iraqi people. Because of Gladiators like the above, they are failing.


SUPPORT YOUR TROOPS SUPPORT YOUR


SUPPORT YOUR TROOPS
SUPPORT YOUR PRESIDENT
It’s a nice day today a bit brisk but nice after I have my Pop Tart and Cigar breakfast I read about how some article is boasting about how the support for President Bush and the fight in Iraq is dropping from troops. This is a pretty good article……………..a good article to poop ON! Give me a break, the democrat that wrote this article that based it off a Military Times Poll is another example how desperate the Dumboscabs are and how weak their attempts are to bruise the Boss. The article even disproves itself when it states, the survey was conducted through the mail, which affects the sample and margin of error. (Obviously they have never shipped anything to support the troops overseas) “Moreover, as the Military Times noted, respondents to the poll tend to be "older, more experienced, more likely to be officers and more career-oriented than the military population." For all those future article writers out there, know that there are almost three times the amount of enlisted service members in all branches than officers, you do the math. Another point, they are saying troops back in the states are stating that “The poll also found diminished optimism that U.S. goals in Iraq can be accomplished’ Well another note to future article writers………..get your facts from the ones doing the work on the ground, actually seeing the results…….bright one!

If you’re going to say we support the troops but not the war, Don’t do it! If your going to say the war is going to hell in a handbag and quote people that aren’t there fighting,,,,Don’t do it. If you’re going to blab an article out there without getting accurate facts and give us your two cents, Don’t do it! The only facts this article has to back its gargle up is more BS from CNN……..don’t get me started on them. (good choice on facts base……not)

Lets just pretend this article is remotely accurate, then why has the Marine Corps retention personnel goals been exceeded and continuously met, recruitment goals met (destroyed) and promotion throughout the ranks at a all time high?

Or how about where the article states that our goals cant be achieved here in Iraq? Well, numerous insurgent terrorists killed in combat fights, destroyed approximately hundred of thousands mortar rounds, thousands of grenades, rockets, mines, and millions small arms (RPGs, AK-47s, machine guns, rifles, pistols etc),increasing Iraqi Army that grew from a platoon to two full divisions of 18,000 plus soldiers. To date, 3 Iraqi Army Brigades and 8 Iraqi Battalions conduct independent operations and control their own battle space. But I know that’s not accomplishing our goal here in Iraq, ohhh yea did we mention that we ultimately made possible the largest Iraqi voter participation in history for the national elections and established democracy??? Achieving our goals?? Sheesh……….I know you tree huggers out there want hurled peas but lets let your infamous Green Peace fight that war, we are fighting a bigger one at the time, get in line.

The Military forces fighting here are majority in support of President Bush and without a doubt what we are doing here in Iraq. Are there some that aren’t in support of what the President is doing? Sure, its called a free country and we demonstrate our opinions at the polls. That’s what makes America great. If you look closely you will see where Iraq is heading the same way. The troops are fighting hard here and in Afghani because we believe in what we are doing. You don’t spend a year in another country, get promoted, stay out of trouble and kick butt because you don’t believe in what you’re doing. That’s what your Marines are doing.

Your Marines are taking the fight to the insurgents because we want to! We fight hard because we know the American people are behind us. They’re not you say?? Well just go take a look at numerous websites like AnySoldier.com where thousands of service members receive support from twice as many supporters. Ive said it before and I’ll keep saying it, Haji cant beat us here, they cant beat us in the military field. They will try to beat us on the home front though. They will commit their every asset to convince you at home that we are loosing the war on terrorism. A perfect example is the “poll also found diminished optimism that U.S. goals in Iraq can be accomplished” or continuous negative press from stations like CNN. This is where YOU come in and make a huge difference for us. You can dispel negative articles, stories and lies about what you know the troops are doing in the war. Write your newspapers and show them you are watching them and watching for accuracy. Don’t let them drive the news to you, you tell them what you want to hear about. They are supposed to be a public service, and not a piece of paper for catching dog crap.

Semper Fi-Keep Attacking!
"Hook em Horns"

COMBAT REPORT
(Press release # 6-004) Despite a suicide bomber attack at 10:55 a.m. on a crowd of Ramadi citizens at an Iraqi police recruitment center near the Ramadi Glass and Ceramics Works, the applicants returned and continued the screening process. Approximately 30 Iraqi males were killed when the bomber detonated his suicide vest. Military physicians immediately began treating the wounded until the injured could be transported to a nearby hospital for further treatment. The four-day Iraqi Police recruitment and screening drive in Ramadi started Jan. 2 and has produced 600 qualified applicants during the first three days of screening.Those candidates selected will attend 10 weeks of Basic Iraqi Police Training in Baghdad before returning to patrol Ramadi’s streets. The applicants must be between the ages of 20 to 35 and successfully complete the screening requirements established by the Minister of the Interior, who governs the Iraqi Police Force.


SIX MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES CAN

SIX MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES CAN GET ALONG……IF 5 ARE NUKED. Red is a color often characterized by violence and bloodshed, shock and awe in real life as well as in art and literature. It often suggests the meaning of courage and sacrifice. Traditionally, officers and noncommissioned officers of the Marine Corps wear a scarlet red stripe on their dress blue trousers to commemorate the courage and tenacious fighting of the men who battled in places like Chapultapec in the Mexican War. In the Corps, this stripe is more commonly known as the “Blood Stripe.” Along with many other items on the Marine Corps uniform the blood strip on the trousers has a significant meaning. The significance of the Blood Stripe carries on through from previous campaigns to the Marines who have been fighting here in Iraq. Many have been hit by IEDs, shot at and in some cases wounded and killed. They don’t sit on the sidelines, they don’t ponder of “what they should have done” they act and they make things happen. Many people may wonder what of if they made a difference to somebody. But the young Marines out and about don’t have to worry about that because they know they have made a difference. Not on paper, but in person and sometimes in blood. The Marines ”out there” “your Marines”, are “git n” some! Last Sunday it was a quiet day, weather was nice and then friendly counter artillery began to pound Haji into submission. (this time I wasn’t in the head) Then four enemy mortars impacted just off base with no injuries to anyone. We delivered another barrage of artillery fire to the points of origin of the mortars. Almost simultaneously a small arms attack began off base between a check point and insurgents. It only lasted about 45 seconds but to those fighting it seems like a lifetime. After a lull in the small arms, our counter battery radar identified incoming rounds to our position. The recorded “Incoming” “Incoming”, ”Incoming” voice began to sound off on the loud speaker and those of us outside didn’t hang around to see if it was accurate or not (usually its on the money) and made a sprint for a hardened structure. The familiar sound of “Crump”, “Crump,” “Crump,” “Crump,” increased again off base. Haji is getting brave again and even though the elections were a success the threat is ever present. Like those in the past who have earned their “Blood Stripes”, Marines out in Al Qaim, Haditha and HIT continue to stay on the attack and in Haji’s face. I recently traveled to these areas and saw the Marines who are taking the fight to the enemy our west. They are defiantly putting a pile driver into Haji’s vacation plans and continue to really ruin their day. Continuous and permanents presence by Marines in villages continues to reassure the Iraqi people we are here for them and are making a difference, and they see it. I shot the shit with a few young Marines who had rotated back from an out post back to a major camp. They were your basic 17-19 year old American kids (man Im getting old) and they were pumped up, motivated and professional. I asked how they were doing and they said they had a lot of care packages and were good to go, had a good Christmas and really liked the Hooters calendars I left them (errrah!). Typical, find a really crappy place put up some plywood and put the Marines there. Yea, we like it too, I know we are sick!

I want to thank everyone out there who voted for all of the Blogs, especially mine during the Milblogs of the year awards. One Marine’s View won the Marine Corps section of best Marine Blog. All the recognition goes to you all. The blog is for you and actually about you and me. I am humbled and very appreciative, Thank everyone out there who voted and Milblogging.com for the competition.

Time for a Cigar!

Semper Fi, Capt B

COMBAT UPDATE
To give these cache finds some perspective; the weight of these caches is approximately equivalent to five full-size Ford Explorer sports utility vehicles.
A separate operation, Red Bull which took place in the Haditha Triad (Haditha, Haqlaniyah and Barwana) discovered 82 caches. U.S. Marines discovered more than ten metric tons of munitions hidden at 72 cache sites 39 km south of Fallujah during the weeklong Operation Green Trident. First Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8 began the operation last week near the village of Al Latifiyah to search suspected locations for hidden weapon caches. More than 1,000 artillery and mortar rounds were unearthed along with scores of rocket propelled grenades and hand grenades. Most of the caches were hallowly buried along the banks of the Euphrates River and surrounding area. The weight of the explosives contained within these munitions is approximately one metric ton (2,200 lbs). The artillery and mortar rounds are commonly used by insurgents to make improvised explosive devices.