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October 31, 2005

Video teleconference brings father, son together

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- A recent recruit training graduate received a special opportunity at the Peatross Parade Deck Oct. 21.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/E7EFF8EC9D10C298852570AA00724C89?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD Parris Island
Story Identification #: 20051030154826
Story by Cpl. Matt Barkalow

MCRD/ERR PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- A recent recruit training graduate received a special opportunity at the Peatross Parade Deck Oct. 21.

Private First Class Chris Phibbs, a graduate of Platoon 3094, India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, is the son of a deployed Marine, Master Sgt. Mike Holcomb, in Al Asad, Iraq. Thanks to modern technology, Holcomb would be able to view his son’s recruit graduation from Iraq.

While in Iraq, Holcomb had been working with a group called Freedom Calls Center that specializes in connecting the Marines in Iraq to their families in the United States, according to Tammy Holcomb, the mother of the new Marine.

Wishing to connect to two Marines, the family got in touch with the Marine’s command on the Depot, and work began to allow Holcomb to view his son become a Marine from across the globe.

“We had to get in touch with Freedom Calls and install software and hardware,” said Lance Cpl. James Hutching, a networking technician with Computer Systems Support Facility. “We had to set up a laptop for a video teleconference to Al Asad, Iraq.”

With help from Good To Go Video and CSSF, the teleconference went into motion.

“We used two laptops with fire wire, my personal video camera and Good To Go’s video tape deck and cameras, as well as Depot Telephone’s fiberoptic cables to make the connection,” Hutching added. “Things went pretty good for us because the fiber worked, the laptop found and recognized the new hardware from Good To Go Video and we had the correct Internet Protocol address to input the feed to Iraq.”

While the graduation ceremony was in action, Holcomb was able to watch from various camera angles Good To Go Video used. With an American flag in the background, he looked on in anticipation and pride.

After the ceremony came to a close, Phibbs reunited with his family and they went to the area where the teleconference was set up so they could speak with each other.

Holcomb gave his son words of encouragement from thousands of miles away that sent tears down the faces of some of the family members.
“No matter what happens, just know that what you did today is nothing short of amazing,” he told his son.

They talked about a variety of issues, both on and off a Marine Corps basis. Phibbs said he was delighted in the chance he had to speak with his father.

“It was the best surprise ever,” said Phibbs, who found out about the teleconference only the day prior. “Words cannot even express how good it feels.”

Other family members had the opportunity to speak with Holcomb as well. They gave him words of encouragement and told him to be safe while there as tears and tissues were common sights on their faces.

Hutching said the new Marine had a great opportunity and he was glad to be a part of it.

“He was the first Marine to have his graduation broadcasted to Iraq from Parris Island,” he said. “He also got to meet the Commanding General and most of all was able to have his father there to see him graduate.”

VMGR-252 air crews make mission possible in Iraq

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 30, 2005) -- Keeping the KC-130Js of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 in the air requires maximum cooperation between the squadron’s multiple moving parts.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/A28FDA7D2726E3B8852570AA003D1529?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 200510306711
Story by Cpl. James D. Hamel

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 30, 2005) -- Keeping the KC-130Js of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252 in the air requires maximum cooperation between the squadron’s multiple moving parts.

While maintenance Marines on the ground ensure the planes can fly, and pilots are at the controls, it is the air crew that ensures the mission is accomplished safely and efficiently.

“Without the air crew, no one would be able to fly,” said Capt. Michael S. Roberts, a pilot with VMGR-252 and Cleveland, native. “The difference between a good and bad crew is the difference between an unsuccessful or successful mission.”

The enlisted air crew is comprised of two components, crew chiefs and loadmasters. Each Marines’ job is different, and each job evolves throughout the flight.

“Everyone has a preflight routine,” said Staff Sgt. Brent J. Greenberg, a crew chief with VMGR-252. “Mine is on the maintenance side of things, making sure the plane can fly.”

While the crew chief is busy checking the plane’s serviceability, loadmasters prepare the plane to take on cargo.

“Before takeoff, we’re worried about cargo shift,” said Sgt. Michael G. Torres, a loadmaster and Willows, Calif., native. “If things aren’t tied down properly, passengers can get hurt. We’re also concerned with maintaining proper center of gravity. If the plane’s center of gravity is off, it can endanger the flight.”

In the air, the air crew assumes a new task. Loadmasters sit in the rear of the aircraft, watching for small-arms or rocket fire from the ground. They are, said Torres, “The eyes in the back of the bird.” That role is taken a step further during refueling missions, when loadmasters direct the fuel hose to the refueling jets.

Meanwhile, the crew chief sits in the cockpit, sharing many tasks with the pilots.

“I back up the pilots,” said Greenberg. “I try to take some of the tasking off them. If we have an emergency procedure, I troubleshoot and advise the mission commander if we can continue.”

It’s an odd role for an enlisted Marine, essentially serving as an in-flight backup pilot, but Greenberg said crew chiefs are the only enlisted personnel in the military who can take the aircraft on test runs, where engines are cranked up to test their serviceability, so it’s a role he fills comfortably.

The air crew teams together when the plane lands, serving the same purpose to finish the mission. As Roberts noted, the aircrew is extremely important, but in such a new aircraft, their contributions are especially invaluable.

“From a testing aspect, the experts are still watching to see the capabilities of this aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Wyatt L. Lamson, the squadron’s acting sergeant major, about the KC-130J. “They’re exceeding expectations, and conditions (for success) couldn’t be better, especially considering (our young crew).”

Injured Marine returns to duty, receives Purple Heart

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 30, 2005) -- Gunnery Sgt. Rose M. Noel, the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 electronic counter measures repair center noncommissioned officer-in-charge, is the ultimate family person. One of her families is in the United States and includes her children and mother. Her other family is the Marine Corps, and more specifically, her fellow Marines in MALS-26.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/286E3FE1ECC1259A852570AA00661D09?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 20051030133521
Story by Cpl. James D. Hamel

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 30, 2005) -- Gunnery Sgt. Rose M. Noel, the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 electronic counter measures repair center noncommissioned officer-in-charge, is the ultimate family person. One of her families is in the United States and includes her children and mother. Her other family is the Marine Corps, and more specifically, her fellow Marines in MALS-26.

Something happened that threatened to take her away from both of her families permanently, Aug. 27. After returning from a brief vacation in Qatar, Noel was on her way to draw a weapon from the armory. She was almost there when an indirect fire round impacted near her.

“I immediately thought, ‘this is going to ruin my day,’” she said. “I knew I had been hit by something, but I thought it was debris that had been kicked up. I went straight to the armory and said I had been struck by IDF.”

The armorer on duty knew immediately Noel’s injury was very serious. He radioed for a vehicle to transport her to the hospital. Meanwhile, he gave her a green T-shirt to slow the bleeding.

“It was a pretty good bandage,” she said.

When she got to the hospital, everyone had taken cover in the basement and it seemed deserted. After calmly asserting her need for help, someone came to administer medical attention. Her last memory was in an Al Asad hospital room, preparing to fly to Balad, Iraq.
Back at the squadron’s compound, Noel’s officer-in-charge, Capt. Jeffrey S. Clemons, had grown a little worried.

“When the IDF hit, I knew she was on the way to the armory,” he said. “About 45 minutes after it hit, I found out she had been hit and I went to the hospital immediately.”

As Noel lay unconscious in a hospital, the MALS-26 sergeant major prayed at her bedside. Minutes later, Clemons and another Marine from the squadron loaded Noel into a helicopter for the flight to Balad, where she would receive further care.

The doctors in Balad planned to send Noel to Germany, and then back the United States. With a 1 and a half inch piece of shrapnel lodged in her cheek, the doctors wanted to remove it surgically, wire her mouth shut and end her deployment prematurely. But the 17 and a half year Marine Corps veteran wouldn’t have it. As the doctors found out, sending her home was about as possible as wiring her mouth shut.

“From what I understand, I was very belligerent about wanting to return to my Marines,” she said. “My jaw was broken, but I never shut up.”

Though the opportunity to cut a year-long combat tour would be enticing to some, it never crossed Noel’s mind.

“The Rosie in me would have wanted to go home, but the (Gunnery Sgt.) Noel wanted to return to her Marines,” she said. “I think the (gunnery sergeant) in me kicked in as soon as the IDF hit.”

Clemons, who characterized Noel as a well-spoken, outgoing Marine, said her desire to return to her duties is indicative her character as a Marine.

“Her emphasis as soon as this happened was on showing the Marines that no matter what, we can still come back and serve the Marine Corps,” he said. “She was very strong, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from someone like her.”

The doctors were forced to relent, and sent Noel back to her work. She did get a trip home, a scheduled two-week leave period where one of her sons commented on the “coolness” of her battle scar. Noel became one of the few female service members to receive the Purple Heart, Oct. 29, the nation’s oldest military award.

Despite the level of award, Noel asked for a subdued ceremony that included her final reenlistment. Her only desire was for a large crowd of Marines to be present, not for her fame, but so they could see a living reminder of the danger they face.

“Not a whole lot of MALS Marines are wounded in action,” she said. “I think this makes it more real, and for them, it’s a good experience.”

After presenting her the award, Brig. Gen. Robert E. Milstead, Jr., referenced her two families, and told the Marines assembled they should draw inspiration from Noel’s continued service despite personal injury.

“If this doesn’t do something to you, you’re dead,” he said.

As for Noel, she’s just happy to get back to work and finish the job she came to do.
“Each day is a gift,” she said. “Of course everyone wants to get home, but I want it to be on my own terms, not the insurgents’ (terms). I’m here. I’m back in the fight. That’s what (gunnery sergeants) do. That’s what Marines do.”

Purple Heart awardee tells his story

LAKE PLACID (Oct. 31, 2005) -- On any given day, the staggering heights and breath taking view of the Verizon Sports Complex’s Mt. Van Hovenburg is an attraction for many who visit Lake Placid. However, for a salty Marine veteran, the beauty of the mountain and the rest of Lake Placid is just another day at the office.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/B588FADAE19E1114852570A800779207?opendocument


Submitted by: New York City Public Affairs
Story Identification #: 2005102817461
Story by Cpl. Lameen Witter

LAKE PLACID (Oct. 31, 2005) -- On any given day, the staggering heights and breath taking view of the Verizon Sports Complex’s Mt. Van Hovenburg is an attraction for many who visit Lake Placid. However, for a salty Marine veteran, the beauty of the mountain and the rest of Lake Placid is just another day at the office.

A son of an Army WWII veteran, former Marine Sgt. Mike Gonyea lived amidst the frigid winters and picturesque summers of Lake Placid all his life. As young teenager, like most children of Lake Placid, Gonyea took to winter sports. Hockey was the main sport where he had shone the brightest. In his late high school years, his skills as a player developed so much that he had an opportunity to avoid the snare of the Vietnam War by going professional and joining a league. However, coming from a line of military men, Gonyea felt the blood of a warrior course through his veins and knew he had a greater calling.

“If I would’ve gone to college, I was a good enough hockey player, and we had so many pro teams in Lake Placid that I could’ve probably stayed out of Vietnam. But, with my dad’s and uncles’ background, joining the service wasn’t my duty… it was just my obligation as being a United States citizen. Hell, look at what they went through with the Japanese, and I was no different,” said Gonyea in confidence as he recalled his early years.

During that time, Gonyea also drew inspiration from his friends who had gone to war and came back injured from combat. He remembered one older friend in particular who lost his legs to a landmine. The wounded veteran warned Gonyea and his other high school buddies not to sign up for the hellish war, but Gonyea heard a different message from his words of caution, having been motivated by his friend’s sheer determination in the face of combat and its subsequent obstacles.

“He kept telling us ‘don’t go, don’t go…look at what happened to me’, but that’s what actually made me go…seeing that. He was a survivor and real heavy duty. He got up everyday to live life, but he eventually drank himself to death. People never knew it, but Vietnam was part of that. Vietnam was his life. Once he went there and came home he didn’t have anything left,” said Gonyea with a combination of sorrow and fondness in the tone of his voice. “We had a lot of lads that came up in the 60’s that if they graduated high school and were not going to college, then they were going to Vietnam either in the Army or the Corps. That’s just the way it was.”

Gonyea, then a young 18-years-old, made his choice and stepped onto the yellow footprints of Paris Island. His next stride off the footprints landed his feet in the forewarned jungles of Vietnam in the middle of the brutish war.

“From 1969 to 1972, they went with a mobile CAC (Combined Action Company), where every 12 hours you had a different area of operation. Every12 hours you would pick up everything you had and put it on your back, from your Grenadier M-60 to your PRC-25. We had seven Marines and a Navy corpsman. Most of the time, we were with your popular forces, which were your farmers. We were very under manned, and they didn’t want to do anything, because they were mostly from the villages. They were Viet Cong sympathizers. So, if we were out on two man killing teams, and they were with us, they would light up a cigarette of make some noise to blow our cover,” said Gonyea with a focused gaze into nothing as he drugged up his memories of the war.

Gonyea went on to explain that although the VC sympathizers caused several battles that often resulted in injury for CAC 239 and local villagers, the CAC still got most of its intelligence information from them. It was this sort of conflicted situation that led to the then 21-years-old Gonyea being ambushed one ill-fated night. “We were going out for a killer team. Back then in CACs, it was just two Marines. I carried the PRC-25 and the guy that was with me, Rick Shuttleton, he…,” said Gonyea struggling as he wrestled with the remembrance of his life threatening moment. “We were going to set up an ambush that night, and we actually got set up ourselves. We were both medical evacuated that night.”

Gonyea was sent from hospital to hospital nearly clear across the world. He eventually found himself in New York, where he worked diligently to rehabilitate from his injuries.

“After I got medically evacuated out, I was actually in St. Albans Naval Hospital in Jamaica, Queens for almost six months, and then I was stationed at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. When I got there, I had casts on both legs, and as I was checking in, the gunnery sergeant took one look at me and said, ‘what the hell I’m I going to do with you?’ I said, ‘I have no idea gunny.’ I was shot in both tibias, had gotten shrapnel in both arms and my chest, and I had gotten my teeth blown out. But I stayed in the Corps, I didn’t get out,” said Gonyea with a chuckle.

Gonyea was awarded The Purple Heart for his actions on the night of his attack. During his remaining time in the Corps, having been a mere lance corporal, Gonyea was meritoriously promoted to corporal and later sergeant.

In 1972, having left Lake Placid a boy, Gonyea returned to Lake Placid a man with experiences under his belt that could never be rivaled by those of his peers who had chosen to go to college. Looking for work in his rural hometown, he stumbled upon an opportunity tending to the bobsled track that runs down Mt. Van Hovenburg.

Today, he is the track manager and assists in bobsled, luge, and other trainings. He also assists in the Winter Olympics prequalification and was even a part of the staff during the magical 1980 Winter Olympics. Besides working at the track, Gonyea is also a volunteer fire fighter and is very active in his community. In his spare time, he finds solace in collecting historic military paraphernalia and has amassed an extensive collection throughout the years.

Every second counts as Greyhawks save lives

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (Oct. 31, 2005) -- The golden hour is the amount of time they have to save life, limb or sight. Every second faster they move could mean the difference between life and death.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/5C5618DC7EAAC1EC852570AB002EBB9F?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 2005103133026
Story by Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (Oct. 31, 2005) -- The golden hour is the amount of time they have to save life, limb or sight. Every second faster they move could mean the difference between life and death.

With this mentality, the Greyhawks of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161 constantly strive to improve the speed with which they respond to urgent casualty evacuations at Al Taqaddum, Iraq, near the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi.

After three deployments in as many years, the Greyhawks are becoming experts at moving fast to get their CH-46 Sea Knights in the air and save lives, said Col. Robert E. Clay, the airboss of Al Taqaddum and Pensacola, Fla., native.

“As soon as they rolled in, they were the fastest moving squadron I’d ever seen,” said Clay. “The casevac alarm goes off and these guys are professionals, moving with a real sense of urgency. A couple of minutes may not seem like much, but try not breathing or bleeding for that amount of time.”

Clay stressed that as soon as the Greyhawks arrived, they set the bar for how urgent casevacs are conducted.

The Greyhawks took control the mission Aug. 15, nine days ahead of schedule. As of Oct. 28, they have moved 442 patients.

He said it has taken less than four minutes from notification to launch for these Marines and their Navy corpsmen counterparts. The standard operating procedure calls for 30 minutes.

“Every time we get a call, we know lives depend on us,” said Lt. Col. Robert M. Brassaw, the commanding officer of HMM-161 and Cape Corral, Fla., native. “These Marines understand their mission and are consistently launching birds in under five minutes. They are doing that routinely and safely.”

Brassaw said each Greyhawk experiences something different daily and every day they know they are making a difference.

“When the casevac alarm goes off, they don’t know if they are going to come under fire,” said Brassaw. “They don’t know if they are going to the point of injury or moving someone who has already received medical attention, but they move with the same speed and intensity for every mission.”

The Greyhawks’ missions include flying wounded and sick U.S. service members, Iraqi soldiers, civilians and insurgents. They fly with the same speed for the lives of anyone they can help.

“If someone needs to be rescued we’re there for them,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Burman, an airframes technician with HMM-161 and Brentwood, Calif., native. “Civilians in the city of Baghdad aren’t hostile. They are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We are there for them, to save their lives.”

Burman’s duties include inspecting the aircraft’s hydroelectric systems, ensuring they are safe to fly.

“It’s amazing how fast we spin these rotors,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph P. Berry, a crew chief with HMM-161 and Missoula, Mont., native. “It gets everyone’s blood pumping. That’s what sets off our speed. There are different squadrons that have done this mission, but we strive to be the fastest ever. There is nothing better than flying in Iraq and saving people’s lives.”

In the month of September, Berry flew in CASEVAC missions for more than 100 hours, the most in the squadron. He said from the commanding officer to the lance corporals, the Greyhawks are all focused on their mission of saving lives.

“Every day, I have something to wake up for,” said Lance Cpl. Adam Timar a crew chief and Tetonia, Idaho, native. “Being out here has been very eye opening. Every day you are doing something for someone. I’ve seen a lot of people with a lot of medical gear hooked up to them. I know my job is important and that every second counts.”

3/11 families see green side at ‘Warrior Day’

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2005) -- “STANDBY!” She pulls the lanyard taut as she awaits the command to fire. “FIRE!” With the other end connected to a M777 155 mm lightweight howitzer ready to fire, she pulls the lanyard, sending a high explosive round down range with an earth-shaking explosion, its impact visible on a nearby mountain as a cloud of smoke and dust.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/ac95bc775efc34c685256ab50049d458/5c9350ac1e020dae852570a100602ab7?OpenDocument&Highlight;=2,3%2F11

Submitted by: MCAGCC
Story Identification #: 20051021133023
Story by Lance Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif. (Oct. 14, 2005) -- “STANDBY!” She pulls the lanyard taut as she awaits the command to fire. “FIRE!” With the other end connected to a M777 155 mm lightweight howitzer ready to fire, she pulls the lanyard, sending a high explosive round down range with an earth-shaking explosion, its impact visible on a nearby mountain as a cloud of smoke and dust.

For Yolitzen Jackson, this was part of a day of fun in the field with her husband, Sgt. Gary Jackson, as part of 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment’s “Warrior Day” Oct. 14th.

More than 80 family members gathered at Del Valle Field here for the event and were greeted by a static display of howitzers, communications equipment, vehicles and small arms, as well as words of welcome from the battalion’s Marines and Sailors.

“This is a day that gets families together and gives them a chance to see how their Marines perform on a day-to-day basis and it gives them a little insight into what the military life is like for their spouse,” said Maj. Neil Owens, executive officer, 3/11. “They know what it’s like when their spouse deploys, but they may not understand what it is that they do out there, and that’s what this is about.”

It was not long before the crowd donned protective vests and kevlar helmets and boarded buses and trucks for a short, albeit dusty, ride out to the Prospect training area; they were met by the rocking blasts of artillery fire.

“This was really interesting for me because I’ve always wondered what my husband actually does in the field so it was good to see,” said Jackson. “It was hot wearing all the gear out there, though.”

The guests were broken down into three groups with different stations each would cycle through: the operations and firing of the M198 howitzer; shooting M16A4 service rifles, M249 squad automatic weapons (both with blank ammunition) and throwing practice hand grenades; and the firing of the M777, which six guests of each group were allowed to fire.

“I got really excited about this,” said Jackson. “My favorite part of the day was firing the big guns off. It was kind of scary, though, they are really loud.”

Although only a few were able to fire the howitzers, most of the guests who were not able to pull the lanyards still said it was a rewarding experience just watching.

“We only had six rounds to fire for each of our groups, but just to have the opportunity to get out there, see how it works, get up close and be able to ask the Marines questions was great for them,” said Owens. “So even if they did not get a chance to fire, they still could see how it all comes together.”

After the munitions were depleted, the families again loaded up and headed out, soon returning to Del Valle field where music and a barbecue lunch awaited them.

“I thought it was really cool and I had a lot of fun out here,” said Gabriel Montoya, 14, who plans to join the Marine Corps when he is old enough. “This was my first time doing this and I got to fire a howitzer, throw grenades, see how the guns work. I also got to fire a SAW with the blanks in it.”

“I really hope I can do it again,” said Montoya.

For both the battalion and visitors, the day’s events were viewed as a success, said Owens.
“Kilo Battery did a great job performing in the field for us as usual and I think it was a very successful day overall,” said Owens. “Everyone had a really good time. It was a great opportunity and all of the wives and families really had fun out there. And that was what it was all about.”

Last Rest for 'Doc' Funeral for hospital corpsman killed in Iraq draws about 500

The corpsman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Thompson, was buried with military honors yesterday.

http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ%2FMGArticle%2FWSJ_BasicArticle&c;=MGArticle&cid;=1128767848684&path;=!localnews!section!article&s;=1037645509099


By Monte Mitchell
JOURNAL REPORTER

NORTH WILKESBORO - In the black hell of an Iraqi explosion and fire-fight, blood flowed from the eyes of Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Jernigan. "I was wandering around screaming, 'I can't see, where's my rifle?'" Jernigan said.

A Navy hospital corpsman tackled and gave him the initial treatment that saved his life, doctors would later tell Jernigan.

The corpsman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Thompson, was buried with military honors yesterday.

"Chris saved my life," Jernigan said outside the church. "He was one of the best men I've ever met. I'm standing here because of him."

An honor guard of sailors and Marines presented a 21-gun salute at Mountlawn Memorial Gardens. A bugler played taps.

Flags were given to Thompson's parents, Larry and Geraldine Thompson, and to his brothers, David Thompson, also a Navy hospital corpsman, and Jimmy Epley.

"He was a good boy," Larry Thompson said to friends, as they hugged him after the service.

Chris Thompson, 25, of Millers Creek, died Oct. 21, in his second tour in Iraq. An improvised explosive device was set off as his armored Humvee passed by on a road near Al Amariyah, west of Baghdad.

Also killed was Marine Lance Cpl. Kenneth Butler, 19, of Landis, Capt. Tyler Swisher, 35, of Cincinnati, and Cpl. Benny "Gray" Cockerham III, 21, of Conover, were thrown from the vehicle into a nearby canal. Their bodies were later pulled from the water.

About 500 people packed Peace Haven Baptist Church for Thompson's funeral, including about 70 people representing each branch of the military.

Many people lined the road outside and held small U.S. flags. Lois Royal, and her children Christina, 15, Dustin, 13, and Lance, 6, never knew Thompson but stood there for nearly two hours.

"I have a brother in the Army," Lois Royal said. "I want to show support for the military."

At the church service, David Thompson's wife, Mellisa, a corpsman in the Navy Reserves, offered a tribute to her brother-in-law.

"I can remember at our wedding that Chris was always hugging me," she said. "He said he'd always wished for a sister."

She started to cry, but then drew a laugh.

"And after being around Jimmy and David, I can see why," she said.

People wept when her daughter Eva sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Friends and family have talked again and again this past week about how funny Chris Thompson was.

The funeral was somber and tearful for the most part, but Mellisa Thompson broke the tension again by revealing the family's silly nickname for Chris: Poopeyhead.

To his many nieces and nephews, he was Uncle Poopeyhead.

He had other names or titles, she counted aloud: sailor, student, athlete, Viking at North Wilkes High School, mentor and coach.

The name he carried with pride, she said, was one he chose by becoming a corpsman: Doc.

Doc Thompson won the Navy and Marine Commendation with Valor for his actions that saved Jernigan and other Marines. The incident happened during his first tour at 1:55 a.m. Iraqi time on Aug. 22, 2004.

Thompson was in a Humvee behind the one that carried Jernigan that day when an IED exploded.

Another Marine, Thompson's best friend, died in his arms. Another had a head injury. Another lost a leg. Another lost an arm.

Jernigan's skull was crushed. He was bleeding from his eye sockets and had a brain injury. His left kneecap was shattered. The femoral artery in his left leg was nicked.

Thompson put a tourniquet on Jernigan's leg to stop him from bleeding to death. He taped Jernigan's blown off fingers to his hand so they could be re-attached. He bandaged his head.

Jernigan is blind now. Yesterday, he wore sunglasses and carried a white cane with a red tip. He's from St. Petersburg, Fla., but traveled from the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Inside the church, he kneeled in front of his pew, clasped his hands as he prayed, and then crossed himself.

"I wouldn't miss this for the world," he'd said minutes before. "Chris ... saved my life. The least I can do is show up for his funeral."

• Monte Mitchell can be reached in Wilkesboro at (336) 667-5691 or at [email protected]

Marine Enjoys Triumph

Casey Owens completed his first marathon yesterday, which is always a tremendous accomplishment. But it was especially so for Owens, who just over a year ago was injured in an antitank mine explosion in Iraq. As he crossed the Marine Corps Marathon finish line, the 24-year-old Marine corporal from Houston was mobbed by well-wishers, including Marine Commandant Michael Hagee.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/30/AR2005103001348.html


By Kathy Orton
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, October 31, 2005; Page E08

Casey Owens completed his first marathon yesterday, which is always a tremendous accomplishment. But it was especially so for Owens, who just over a year ago was injured in an antitank mine explosion in Iraq. As he crossed the Marine Corps Marathon finish line, the 24-year-old Marine corporal from Houston was mobbed by well-wishers, including Marine Commandant Michael Hagee.

"It went great," Owens said. "It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be, a lot more enjoyable. I couldn't imagine a better marathon."

Owens was the first Marine in a wheelchair to cross the finish line. Because he forgot to wear his timing chip, he did not receive an official time; however, he estimated that he finished in 2 hours 32 minutes. Not bad for a guy who hadn't used a handcrank chair until a month ago.

"Pushing myself around in a wheelchair that was my training, and being a Marine," said Owens, who had his left leg amputated below his knee and his right leg amputated above his knee.

Owens was one of 50 wheelchair competitors -- 35 handcrank chairs, 15 traditional wheelchair -- in yesterday's race, the largest turnout in Marine Corps Marathon history. (Handcrank chairs are not officially recognized in the Marine Corps Marathon results.) Last year, only seven wheelchairs competed. The significant increase was due in part to the large number of military personnel injured in Iraq or Afghanistan who competed yesterday.

Owens was part of a group from the Semper Fi Fund, which provides supplemental assistance to injured Marines and their families. Freedom Team, sponsored by Achilles Track Club, also had several injured military personnel in the race, including amputees who ran the race with prosthetics.

Doug Hayenga, a 22-year-old Marine sergeant from St. Cloud, Minn., flew in from San Diego yesterday morning for the race, arriving at Dulles International Airport at 5 a.m. On just two hours of sleep, Hayenga completed his first marathon in a handcrank chair in 3:31.

"I pushed myself," he said.

Hayenga, a Freedom Team member, was injured in Fallujah in April 2004. Shrapnel shattered his leg and knee. He also suffered a head injury, which led to memory and balance problems.

Owens, who has been rehabilitating at Walter Reed Military Hospital the past year, started walking about a month ago. He would like to run the marathon next year. But if he can't, he said he would do it again in a handcrank chair.

"It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be," Owens said. "It was too short. I got to Mile 20 and was like it's going to be over too soon."

Top Wheelchair Finishers

PEOPLE IN THE PACK

How the runners profiled this past week in The Post finished in yesterday's race.

Mike Huckabee , 50: Arkansas governor, 4:37:29 (personal record)

Ben Knippel , 58: running in celebration of his 30th wedding anniversary and on his wife's birthday, 6:49:49

See Mommy Run: Andrea Vincent, 37, 4:11:35; Jennifer Lagasca, 32, 7:23:53, Jennifer Badolato, 34, 4:30:10

3rd Platoon, Charlie Company: Capt. David Herron, 29, 5:01:09. Herron and those who completed the race earlier went back to finish with the rest of the company, which included Sgt. Alejandro Del Rio and Cpl. Clinton Barkley, who lost limbs in a July attack in Iraq.

Sara Mulhern , 32, and John Guthleben , 63: daughter and dad running fifth marathon together, 6:51:38
Marine Corps Marathon
Marine Corps Marathon
Top 10 Men:
1. Ruben Garcia, 2 hours, 22 minutes 14 seconds.
2. Carl Rundell, 2:22:23.
3. Eric Post, 2:23:51.
4. John Mentzer, 2:24:24.
5. Hipolito Sandovol, 2:27:26.
6. Benjamin Palafox, 2:27:49.
7. Jon Clemens, 2:30:25.
8. Dauvio Roberts, 2:30:39.
9. Keith Matiskella, 2:30:42.
10. Sergio Perez, 2:30:46.

Top 10 Women:
1. Susannah Kvasnicka, 2:47:07.
2. Liz Wilson, 2:49:55.
3. Emily Brozozowski, 2:54:55.
4. Marlene Farrell, 2:55:50.
5. Cathy Pugsley, 2:55:45.
6. Wendy Scott, 2:59:09.
7. Shelly Brand, 3:00:36.
8. Melissa Cole, 3:03:56.
9. Jennifer Richard, 3:05:39.
10. Jill Metzger, 3:06:39.

Ruben Garcia battles a cramped left hamstring to win the marathon with the fastest time since 1997.
Susannah Kvasnicka returns home to claim the woman's title with the second-fastest time in five years.
Notebook: Just over a year after being injured in Iraq, Casey Owens completes his first marathon.
Complete Men's Results (PDF)
Complete Women's Results (PDF)
Photos
_____ People in the Pack _____
Lt. Col. Steve Grass will be running the Marine Corps Marathon remotely from Kirkush Military Training Base in eastern Iraq.
A father and daughter bond by running long.
Most of the Third Platoon will honor a Marine from their unit by running in the race.
For Ben Knippel, a former Marine, it is the Rule of 30 that guides him.
Woman who pair motherhood and marathons.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took up running as part of a weight-loss program that helped him drop 110 pounds.

Michigan Marine, 25, killed in Iraq

Marine Sgt. Michael Paul Hodshire, 25, of North Adams always dreamed of joining the Marine Corps.

http://www.freep.com/news/mich/soldier31e_20051031.htm

October 31, 2005

BY DAN CORTEZ and AMBER HUNT MARTIN
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Marine Sgt. Michael Paul Hodshire, 25, of North Adams always dreamed of joining the Marine Corps.

Army Staff Sgt. Lewis J. Gentry, 48, was a career soldier from Detroit.

Both men died while serving in Iraq within the last five days. They are the 65th and 66th members of the U.S. armed forces with known Michigan ties to die in Iraq.

News of Hodshire's death came Sunday, devastating the small town in Hillsdale County.

"We're a small, rural community here," said Kenneth Kurtz, a family friend. "He had a lot of friends here."

Hodshire, a father of two, was three months into his second tour of duty in Iraq with the 2nd Marine Division when he was killed Sunday morning by indirect gunfire near Fallujah, Kurtz said.

Serving in the Marines fulfilled a lifelong dream for Hodshire, he said.

"That's been a passion of his from his school days," he said. "He wanted to be a Marine."

Four days after Hodshire graduated from North Adams-Jerome High School in 1999, he went to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego for basic training. He spent the next six years on active duty.

Carl Christenson, principal of the North Adams-Jerome Public Schools' junior and senior high schools, said Sunday night that students will be upset by the news.

"It's a small district. Obviously, it will have an impact," said Christenson. The district includes a total of 550 students.

Christenson said he met Hodshire last summer during a Little League baseball game. Christenson's 11-year-old son and Hodshire's younger brother play on a local team together, he said.

A man who answered the phone at the Hodshire residence in North Adams on Sunday night declined to comment.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense could not confirm on Sunday that Hodshire had been killed.

The Defense Department announced Sunday that Gentry had died Wednesday in Mosul from a noncombat-related cause.

Gentry had been assigned to the Army's 94th Engineer Battalion in Vilseck, Germany.

Vianne Gentry, 64, remembers the day when her little brother enlisted in the Army. It was Nov. 26, 1986.

"He was my baby brother, that's why I remember the date," she said Sunday night from her Detroit home. "He was a really good guy."

Vianne Gentry's son, VonEric Gentry, had already enlisted in the military. He encouraged his uncle to join.

"He really wasn't doing that much at the time," said VonEric Gentry, 45, of Detroit. "I wanted him to go into the military. I told him it would give him a good start. Get a career and training."

Lewis Gentry enlisted and served in a transportation unit. That took him to the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War and into Somalia. He was assigned to a transportation unit in Germany most recently, but VonEric Gentry wasn't sure what his uncle was doing in Mosul last week.

Lewis Gentry hadn't been back to Detroit since Christmas. He leaves behind a wife and several children.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Sunday night for both men. A memorial fund is being established to benefit Hodshire's children. He is also survived by his parents, a brother and three sisters.

Contact DAN CORTEZ at 586-469-1827 or [email protected] The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Iraq war vet comes back home to recruit

Marine finds himself in middle of debate

http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051031/NEWS08/510310322/-1/NEWS

By IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The first year after high school for many kids is dominated by getting used to college life. For Ian Mikolajczak it was getting used to a uniform and war.

The Bowsher High School graduate, now 21 years old, knew his calling four years ago.

"I was going to be a Marine, it was that simple," Lance Cpl. Mikolajczak said. "In high school, I was really into sports and challenges, and I knew the Marine Corps was the hardest one and the most challenging. I was going to go big or go home."

The Mikolajczak home on Schneider Road in South Toledo is unmistakable. A United States Marine Corps flag hangs in the front window - casting a red hue in the family's living room when the sun hits the house.

The Marine returned to Toledo on Oct. 14 from a seven-month deployment in Iraq, where he participated in some of the war's heaviest fighting - including a three-hour fire-fight with insurgents.

In a situation like that, he said "training takes over. Everything just takes over. You don't re-ally realize what happened until you get back and sit down."

Now, Corporal Mikolajczak - who is called Toledo's hometown boy by his mother - is home for several weeks working as a recruiter's assistant, talking to young people interested in following the same path he took.

"I just give the kids my experience," he said of his new temporary assignment. "We don't recruit. If you want the Marine Corps, the Marine Corps wants you."

Other branches of the U.S. military, especially the Army, are under pressure to produce recruits. The Army reported earlier this month that it will miss its 2005 goal of 80,000 recruits by about 6,800 or about 8.5 percent. The Army National Guard and the Army Reserve, which are smaller than the regular Army, had even worse results.

Military recruiting has become increasingly difficult, especially with the mounting number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, which last week passed the grim 2,000 milestone.

Corporal Mikolajczak admitted the war and news of soldiers being killed makes recruitment difficult.

"It is sad that people have lost their lives, [but] they all know what they are going into and made the same choice that I did," he said. "They gave their lives and that's more than any of us have done for our country."

Added to that, Toledo has not been immune to a raging national debate over military recruiting in high schools and the tactics of recruiters.

Peggy Daly-Masternak, a West Toledo resident and co-chair of a citizens privacy committee, is leading a local initiative to make it more difficult for recruiters in Toledo-area high schools to meet one-on-one with students.

"It is not clear to me they have made protective measures for young people to be in school to receive an education rather than being recruited into the military," Ms. Daly-Masternak said Friday.

Craig Cotner, chief academic officer for Toledo Public Schools, said the district is drafting a policy to govern the recruiters in its buildings.

Mike Ferner, an anti-war activist, Veterans for Peace member, and former Toledo councilman, is among the dozen or so people on the committee who are looking to work with Toledo Public Schools on restricting recruiters' access.

"We want to have the presence of the recruiters minimized as much as possible and to have access to the students no more than college and job recruiters [do]," he said.

The issue has parents and educators divided.

David Volk, a substitute junior high school teacher for Toledo Public Schools, thinks the military should have a stronger role in the schools.

In an e-mail to The Blade he said: "recruiters should not be allowed to walk the halls and pressure people to join, however, they should not be banned from schools or restricted. … When we had a recruiter for the Marines come to Byrnedale [Junior High School] last year, the kids were just in awe. The kids thought it was great how disciplined and in shape these guys were."

He wrote the e-mail after Larry Sykes, Toledo Board of Education president, said he would work to limit recruiters' access to schools.

Now caught in the middle of the debate, Corporal Mikolajczak said sharing his experiences helps young adults make up their own minds whether or not to enlist.

Since the federal No Child Left Behind Act was signed, recruiters have new tools in their efforts. The law requires high schools to give military recruiters student phone numbers and addresses unless a parent files a written request to "opt out."

Some districts, including Toledo Public, Maumee, and Sylvania, highlighted the opt-out option in brochures or letters sent to families. In a review by The Blade of local school districts, it found that Bowling Green High School has one of the highest number of parents choosing to opt out. Because of the provision, the military will not get information on 221 TPS high school students, but it has gotten information on the remaining 8,847 students who did not choose to opt out.

Nationally, a coalition of parents groups, privacy advocates, and community organizations launched a campaign earlier this month to dismantle a database of high school and college students created by the Pentagon to help target potential military recruits.

More than 100 groups said the database violates federal privacy laws and collects demographic and personal information on young adults.

One of the groups has launched a Web site, www.leavemychildalone.org, on which a spokesman said 34,000 copies of an opt-out form have been downloaded. The Web site features Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war and anti-Bush mother of a fallen soldier.

Corporal Mikolajczak said people underestimate America's young people and he knows only those who really want to enlist will do so. When talking to students just three years younger than himself, Corporal Mikolajczak is honest.

"I tell them the truth. It's war, but it's not as bad as you see on TV," he said. "The news doesn't show how much good this is actually doing."

Contact Ignazio Messina at: [email protected] or 419-724-6171.

Purple-Ink & Other Under-covered Successes

Despite bleeding headlines, real progress is being made in Iraq. (RCT 8 / 6th CAG)

http://www.nationalreview.com/smitht/smith200510310820.asp

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Lance Corporal Tara Pryor has been in Iraq for only three weeks. Already, she has learned that what readers glean from newspapers and television broadcasts back home are not as things really are.

“I am surprised,” says the 21-year-old Strongsville, Ohio, native who currently serves with the Marine’s 6th Civil Affairs Group in Fallujah. “The majority of the [Iraqi] people appreciate what we are trying to do.”

Pryor’s revelation is no surprise to those who have been there. Back home, military servicemen and women contend the daily fare from the various media ranges from disturbing to false to downright manipulative.

“I personally come from a family with varying ideologies,” Marine Col. John Toolan, who last year commanded Regimental Combat Team (RCT) 1 in Iraq, tells National Review Online. “When I come home and explain to them what I saw and what we are doing, their eyes kind of glaze over and they say, ‘gosh, we really didn’t have that perspective.’”

Instead the reported news is grim. The recent focus has been on the 2,000th U.S. soldier killed in Iraq: Opponents of the war eagerly anticipated and capitalized on that number for their own political aims, as if the losses of soldiers 1,998 and 1,999 were somehow not as great. But then propagandists throughout history often have used symbols — like a relatively high, round, even number — that can easily be remembered and thus accurately and frequently repeated for effect.

But the true story of Iraq is far different than what some would have the American public believe. It is story of enormous sacrifice, commitment, political, and military success, and a desire for freedom on the part of the Iraqi people that in many ways parallels our own War of Independence, 230 years ago.

What about America’s military successes and victories in Iraq? They are in many ways, immeasurable: A reality of the overall global war on terror.

What is known is that the war — in Iraq and elsewhere — is being waged and won by the U.S. and its allies. Effective intelligence is being gathered, terrorist cells are being destroyed, fewer countries are willing to harbor the bad guys, free elections have been held in two former totalitarian states, and the American mainland has not been successfully attacked in more than four years.

The latter can be attributed to what any good military commander knows is the ability to lure the wolf away from hearth and home and force him onto ground of one’s own choosing. In that way, the enemy can more easily be controlled, enveloped, and ultimately destroyed.

"Day and Night" Pressure on Terrorists
That is precisely what U.S. and British forces — and their allies — did by going into Afghanistan in October 2001 and Iraq in March 2003, though the original intent in both operations was to strike the enemy at his base. That Coalition forces have done with great effect. But as always, war spawns both unexpected military challenges and opportunities. The challenges in Iraq are myriad, and there is no shortage of pundits eager to point them out. The opportunities are also great, one of which is the fact that al Qaeda, sympathizing fighters, and much of their resources have been unwittingly drawn into that country. Now they are being systematically destroyed, most recently along the porous Syrian border with Iraq that has served as a terrorist crossing point.

Marine Major Neil F. Murphy Jr., a spokesman for Multi-National Force West, says in terms of kinetic operations, U.S. forces are applying relentless “day-and-night” pressure on the terrorists: capturing and killing scores, and seizing and destroying numerous weapons caches across the country, particularly from the Syrian border and into the Euphrates River Valley of the Al Anbar Province.

“We recently conducted Operations Iron Fist, River Gate, and Mountaineer, and we continue to conduct operations along the western border where we are interdicting terrorists and foreign fighters,” Murphy, speaking from Camp Fallujah, Iraq, tells NRO. “The amazing thing that gets me is that the insurgents have absolutely nothing to offer the people. They only kill and create misery, yet the media give them a platform. Bad news sells and the terrorists create plenty.”

On the flipside, Murphy says, there are lots of positive things happening in Iraq. “But those things don’t pull in the ad dollars,” he says. “Conflict outweighs progress in the news value rating we’ve all learned about in journalism class and that’s a hard nut to crack.”

Of course, there is more than one reason good news is cut out of the cycle, and much of it stems from how stories are covered today. Many reporters in Iraq are isolated in safe zones, venturing out only to cover dramatic events like bombings or the discovery of murdered victims. Far different than the spring of 2003, when the vast majority of the journalists in Iraq were embedded with Coalition forces racing toward various objectives during the war’s invasion phase. Then, all the news was on the move, and both good and bad news stories were witnessed and reported.

There is also the impatience factor.

“The real success in Iraq is the daily commitment and grind of our nation's G.I.s steadily transforming the Iraqi society from one of tyranny and oppression to one of democratic governance, opportunity, and freedom,” Brig. Gen. David L. Grange (U.S. Army, ret.), a CNN military analyst and the former commanding general of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, tells NRO. But “the pace of this success does not move at a speed dramatic enough for our media to highlight.”

Iraqis, fighting for their future
Aside from U.S. operational successes, the Iraqis themselves are making enormous gains in terms of gathering intelligence, planning, and conducting combat operations independent of American forces.

“Iraqi Security Forces are taking more and more responsibility for the security of their own country,” Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells NRO. “[They are] providing the environment in which a working economy, and a democratic process can grow and prosper.”

Gen. Pace’s words were demonstrated during the mid-October elections where security was largely an Iraqi show. U.S. reaction forces were waiting in the wings, but not needed.

With Iraqis now pulling more of the internal security and policing responsibilities, U.S. and Coalition forces (including Iraqis) are able to concentrate on the isolated badlands like those found in the western-most sectors of the Al Anbar Province.

Toolan, who currently serves as director of the Command and Staff College at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, echoes the chairman’s sentiments, adding that the strength of the new Iraqi army is in its leadership.

“They are making great strides as far as a professional army is concerned,” he says. “Many of the Iraqi military officers have been fighting and leading at great risk and cost to their personal lives. I know individuals who have lost their homes. Their families have been kidnapped. Yet they remained with their units. They knew if they were to walk away and go home and protect their homes and families that would be an invitation for others to do the same. That kind of dedication you don’t forget.”

From the continued “standing up” of a professional Iraqi security force (military and police), the ongoing development of Iraq’s physical infrastructure, and the forming of a constitutionally based elected government, to the weakening of a now-desperate insurgency; progress is indeed being made.

Capitalizing on Death
Murphy points to the week of October 9-16 as an example: “There were almost 40 weapons caches destroyed. Schools and kindergartens were being refurbished. Men and women were voting. Iraqi Security Force units were patrolling and training was being conducted. All kinds of things that never get covered.”

Unfortunately, the 2,000th U.S. death, anticipated and since promoted by groups like MoveOn.org so they could launch their antiwar advertising campaigns, deliberately shoved any “good news” off the table. The strategy of manipulating the public with the number, deliberately skirted facts like all war is grim and costly; all losses are terrible; or that 1,000 American Marines perished in 76 hours on Tarawa (1943) and 19,000 U.S. soldiers were killed during the six-week (Dec. 1944-Jan. 1945) Battle of the Bulge. What’s worse, groups that promote death number-milestones as a means of discrediting America’s involvement in Iraq only incite the insurgents to do more of the same. The terrorists see their strategy as working on the American home front, which is their only hope since they cannot defeat us militarily — and they are losing politically — in Iraq.

Military family members like Gene Retske say they are “appalled” by those who would capitalize on death numbers. “It is so easy to vacantly mouth the words, ‘I support our troops,’ then go on to marginalize their worth and criticize the mission,” says Retske, whose son, David, is currently deployed with the U.S. Army in Iraq. “Our soldiers are struggling against brutal fascists, who would put us all to the sword if they could.”

He adds, “If you truly realize the value of what our brave people are doing and how meaningful and selfless they are by putting their lives on the line for what they believe, then you will have the respect to avoid trying to measure their contribution in body counts. Round numbers, where human lives are involved, have no relevance.”

According to Maj. Murphy, “the most troubling thing about casualty reporting — especially the 2,000 angle the media is reporting today — is that Americans are never told WHY by the collective press. There's no depth, no explanation that people in Iraq are free and moving toward a future and that it helps our shared future. Every mention of something positive is countered by the talking heads with a ‘yeah, but.’ They barely mentioned the ratification of the constitution, which is huge for the Iraqi people.”

Frustrating for the troops, says Col. Toolan. “Even the guys who have gone back three times know they are achieving something,” he says. “When they are in Iraq, they feel good, because they see the progress everyday. But when they come home they are discouraged by what they hear, see, read, etc.”

Many and Personal Successes
One such Marine is Corporal Adam Rean Bohlen, with RCT 8. He says that successes are many and often personal.

Each week, a particularly outgoing nine-year-old Iraqi girl and her mother, pass by Bohlen’s post in the city of Fallujah. The little girl is usually dressed in pink, and she smiles as she greets the Marines, hoping they have some drawing paper and crayons, which they often do.

“Her face lights up a worn-out Marine’s heart,” Bohlen says. “She is so eager to learn English and can even write the entire alphabet without help, on top of that, she already knows all of the Marine ranks by heart.”

Bohlen has an American flag taped to his rifle that has piqued the interest of the little girl. “One day she saw it as I leaned over to help her sit on a stool,” he says. “She asked if that was our flag. I said yes. She then put both of her thumbs up and said, “Good, go America.”

It is a reflection of the growing trust between Americans and Iraqis in former hells-on-earth for both sides like Fallujah.

Election-Day Tears
Marine Lt. Col. Rip Miles, the executive officer of RCT 8, says he was taken aback by what he witnessed in that city during the Oct. 15 elections.

“This turned out like a movie,” he tells NRO. “The brand new [Iraqi] police vehicles formed up the morning prior to the vote flying huge Iraqi flags. They loaded up and then pulled out of their compound, flags flying and police hanging off each vehicle. The police standing in the station doorway were in tears, they felt they were finally getting to do something important. You have to understand most are local boys.”

That night Miles was positioned on top of the Civil Military Operations Center in downtown Fallujah watching as the police brought in the ballots. “It was a helluva sight,” he says. “Lights flashing, sirens now and then, always in ones or twos, they kept coming. Flags still flying. It made me feel better about the price the Marines have paid for this town over the last year.”

This time last year, Fallujah was a bastion for guerrillas led by Jordanian-born terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi. The Marines were poised to take the city in the spring of 2004, but — after a political calling off of the dogs, followed by a weak attempt at seizing by an ill-prepared Iraqi brigade — the city held and Zarqawi’s numbers swelled into the thousands.

Then in November, U.S. Marines and soldiers along with Iraqi forces stormed the city. The insurgents were ready; armed to the teeth; positioned in houses, shops and mosques; and convinced the Americans would not engage them in close quarters battle. The insurgents were wrong. Fallujah became a veritable tooth-to-eyeball slugfest in which the Americans — often without their tactical edge in air, armor, and artillery — closed with Zarqawi’s headhunters and killed them.

Today Fallujah is a relatively quiet city where, two weeks ago, more than 105,000 people (mostly Sunnis) exercised their right to vote: A huge success by any measure, resulting from a newfound sense of security as well as the efforts of the city’s imams, sheiks, and civic leaders who encouraged the citizenry to go to the polls.

“The Iraqis are seeing this change in their own governance, and that makes them grow even stronger as a nation,” says General Pace.

A stronger nation indeed, but only if Americans back home cease the partisan bickering while our troops are committed in the field.

Yes, there have been lives lost — on both sides and among innocent non-combatants — enormous progress has also been made over the past year: For instance, the new Iraqi military has been established and continues to develop. Nationwide elections have been held, each time with a greater voter turnout than anticipated. The Sunnis are increasingly warming to the idea of democracy. A nationally unifying Iraqi parliament is slated to be elected in December. The economy is growing (though, thanks to the recklessness of the insurgents, with staggered starts and stops). The nation’s physical infrastructure is gradually improving. Women now have a voice. Girls and boys have a free future. And Saddam Hussein is on trial.

In the face of such progress and the purple-ink commitment of the Iraqi people, cutting and running is simply not an option. And public discussions of deaths for naught and exit strategies are not at all helpful.

“The reality is that in this world today with the interactive nature of everything that’s going on, there is no exit strategy,” says Toolan. “We are committed throughout the world. We are not going to exit from anywhere. It’s a long-term commitment to improve conditions that create these insurgencies.”

Certainly, stateside opponents of the war take heart in political bandying over whether or not America should cut and run. So too do the insurgents and others in the Persian Gulf region who want America out of Iraq so that democracy might be uprooted before it takes hold and spreads into neighboring countries. And as long as the bad guys are privy to the effects of casualty numbers used to promote campaigns by Americans hoping to withdraw troops from Iraq (no matter the strategic cost), the insurgency will continue. Bleak, unbalanced stories in American newspapers breathe life into the insurgency.

The bad guys know this. So should we.

— A former U.S. Marine infantry leader and paratrooper, W. Thomas Smith Jr. writes about military issues and has covered conflict in the Balkans and on the West Bank. He is the author of four books, and his articles appear in a variety of publications.

5/14 MP Bn., gets back in fight

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 31, 2005) -- The last time 5th Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division, was deployed to a combat zone Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and the United States was in a world war against the Japanese in the South Pacific.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/09C7E3F3D2A73C26852570AB003F4603?opendocument


Submitted by: II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story Identification #: 200510316316
Story by Cpl. Evan M. Eagan

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 31, 2005) -- The last time 5th Battalion, 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division, was deployed to a combat zone Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and the United States was in a world war against the Japanese in the South Pacific.

Arriving here late September after more than 60 years of readiness, the battalion is back in the fight.

Various elements of 5th Bn., 14th Marines, served in support of Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s, however this marks the first time the whole battalion was deployed to a combat zone since World War II.

Although 5th Bn., 14th Marines, is an artillery unit by trade, they deployed as a provisional military police battalion with Marines coming from various active duty and reserve units throughout the Marine Corps.

“Five-Fourteen is a combination of units,” said Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Tomka, force protection and mobile training team commander, Headquarters Company, Military Police Battalion, 5th Bn., 14th Marines, II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD). “We have Marines from 1st Battalion, 14th Marines, an active duty MP Company from Camp Pendleton, a TOW Company from 25th Regiment, MP’s from Louisiana and Minnesota, and Marines from 4th Force Reconnaissance from Hawaii and [Reno, Nev.,].”

Prior to deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the unit came together at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., for security and stability operations training and a revised combined arms exercise.

“We spent from June, when we got activated, to September at Twentynine Palms training for this,” said Tomka, a Vietnam and Gulf War veteran. “We got acclimated and trained for this mission and we are motivated.”

The battalion is tasked with four main missions while serving in Iraq: area security, convoy security, law enforcement and operating five detention facilities throughout Al Anbar province, to include the detention facility here.

U.S. agrees to move 7,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam

Change will be implemented over the next six years

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Monday, October 31, 2005

ARLINGTON, Va. — Under a plan to realign U.S. and Japanese forces, 7,000 Marines would move from Okinawa to Guam and carrier jets and E-2 Hawkeye aircraft would move from Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, top U.S. and Japanese officials announced Saturday.

http://www.stripes.com/news/u-s-agrees-to-move-7-000-marines-from-okinawa-to-guam-1.40377

October 30, 2005

31st MEU concludes Philippine school improvement

MARAGONDON, CAVITE, Republic of the Philippines (Oct. 30, 2005) -- Marine engineers of the Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group-31 were joined by students and teachers in a turnover ceremony and reopening the Maragondon Elementary School, Oct. 30.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/008C8BE9ACB9C0D4852570AC0019ED01?opendocument


Submitted by: 31st MEU
Story Identification #: 20051031234310
Story by Lance Cpl. W. Zach Griffith

MARAGONDON, CAVITE, Republic of the Philippines (Oct. 30, 2005) -- Marine engineers of the Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group-31 were joined by students and teachers in a turnover ceremony and reopening the Maragondon Elementary School, Oct. 30.

The engineers had been working to improve the school for the past four days. The engineer’s main project was the replacing of the roof on one of the buildings. In addition to the roof, engineers put down gravel on the mud driveway, replaced a wall separating two classrooms, and repainted some of the white walls.

The ceremony opened with the municipal mayor, Mayor Amante Andaman, with the school principal, Sylvia Estabrama, along with students and teachers from the school greeting Col. Walter L Miller, Jr., the commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Estabrama welcomed and thanked Miller along with MSSG Engineer Detachment for their hard work in improving the school.

“We are grateful for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit for fixing our school,” she said. “It will be a legacy left behind by the Marines of the 31st MEU, a symbol of American and Philippine relationship. Thank you again for your dedication.”

Estabrama said she is grateful for the Philippine Marine engineers, who also worked so well with the U.S. Marines.

“I am glad that our forces could work so well together to finish a common goal,” she said. “I hope that I get to see them working together again. It was a pleasure getting to know some of the Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.”

U.S. Navy Lt. Rean Enriquez, a chaplain with the USS Essex (LHD-2) amphibious assault ship, blessed the school during the ceremony. Enriquez is a native of the Philippines, born north of Manila. He gave the blessing in Tagalog, the native languages of the Philippines.

“What better way to foster good relationships with people then to bless them and their school in their own language,” he said.

The ceremony showed the people’s appreciation for the engineers’ hard work. According to 1st Lt. Grissett Gideon, the MSSG engineers platoon commander, despite obstacles, weather and language barriers, the project resulted in a good experience for her platoon to work with their Philippine Marine counterparts as well as get good some practice working in the field.

“It was a great opportunity to work with the Philippine Marines in a field environment,” she said. “Not a lot of my Marines have had a chance to work with foreign militaries. This was a great time for us to apply our skills in a real-world environment as well as build relationships with the Philippine Marines.”

Gunnery Sergeant Kevin C. Hardy, engineering detachment chief, said the Engineering Civic Action Project was the kind of work he enjoys doing with his Marines, and people do not always realize Marines get so involved in the communities they visit.

“This is the work that we do a lot, and that is a good thing,” he said. “People need to know Marines do more than engage in combat, we try and help people.”

Young soldier takes not one but two bullets in same week

John McClellan’s buddies call him lucky.

His mom looks above and thanks a higher power for her son’s relative well being. 2/3

http://www.showmenews.com/2005/Oct/20051030Feat003.asp

By TONY MESSENGER
Published Sunday, October 30, 2005


John McClellan’s buddies call him lucky.

His mom looks above and thanks a higher power for her son’s relative well being.

McClellan is a soldier. Surely, he’s become a man in the past year but still, all things considered, he’s just a boy.

He’s 19 years old, barely a year removed from his high school graduation. He’s a Marine now, fighting for his country in the rocky and violent hills of Afghanistan.

He’s lucky, his fellow Marine grunts say, because twice this month, he’s been shot.

Twice, he’s escaped with his life. Twice, his mother, Connie, has thanked God for his grace.

McClellan became quite the celebrity this week when his story graced the pages of the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

"Shot twice in a week, Marine dubbed ‘Lucky,’ " the headline reads in Wednesday’s edition.

Mom carries the article around proudly. She remembers when her son was 17, and she received the call that he was going to be a Marine.

Unbeknownst to her and her husband, Carl, McClellan had gone to the local recruiting office and told of his intention to become a Marine. He was just a junior at Hickman. He was not old enough to enlist by himself, so the recruiter called his home to talk to mom and dad.

Connie McClellan remembers seeing the caller ID of the "U.S. Government" and thinking briefly that the Internal Revenue Service was calling.

Oh, no, she thought. Not an audit.

On the other side of the phone was a soldier telling her that her son wanted to be a Marine.

She asked her son about it, and he told her he didn’t have a problem fighting for his country, she remembers.

"It was one of a mother’s most wonderful moments," she says. "I thought it might be a good thing for him. I thought he really wanted something … to have a purpose."

Her husband, a Vietnam veteran who was a Green Beret, was more fearful. He knew the perils of war.

Those perils were driven home this week in a nation that paused to recognize passing of a significant milestone in the war in Iraq. Two-thousand American servicemen and women have died fighting to free a country from the clutches of the murderous Saddam Hussein. In the meantime, the McClellans are thankful that their son dodged a bullet not once, but twice.

The first shot came on Oct. 11. McClellan, a lance corporal machine gunner with Company E, 2nd Battalion, was out with his crew checking for roadside bombs in Kunar province. His convoy came under fire and for five minutes or so, they engaged in a battle. Another Marine was critically injured.

When the firefight was over, according to the Stars and Stripes article, McClellan checked his body for wounds and found his right wrist bleeding. A day later, he underwent surgery. Less than a week later, he was back out in the field when his convoy took fire again.

This time, McClellan took a bullet to the shoulder.

"The only reason I knew I got hit was because I felt pressure on my arm and heard a ‘tink’ on the back of the turret shield. I yelled, ‘I got hit. I think I’m hit.’ I look at the back of my arm, and blood’s running down," McClellan told the military newspaper. After assessing his injury, he got back into the fight. "I grabbed my M-16 and started shooting. I figured the enemy is not going to stop firing just because I’m shot."

Back home, his mom wasn’t sure to believe him when he called and said he had been shot again.

"He’s just a kidder," she says of her son. But indeed, the story was true. The second bullet went in and out of his shoulder without causing any serious damage. She’s matter of fact about his ability to dodge the bullet of death.

"It was a miracle," she says. "It’s a testimony to all the people who are praying for him."

Her faith is strong, Connie McClellan says, and it’s why she’s able to keep up on the news in Iraq and Afghanistan without constantly worrying about her son’s safety. Knowing as the death toll rises that her son has survived two bullets only makes her faith stronger.

"The peace I’ve had through this whole thing is what gets me through," she says.

John McClellan is scheduled to return stateside in January. His two Purple Hearts might keep him out of further combat duty, though he tells Stars and Stripes he’s ready to get back out with his unit.

Whether he’s lucky or blessed, he’s still alive.

That’s all that matters to his mom.

Half of U.S. Marines to leave Okinawa


Withdrawal follows years of complaints from local residents

http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/10/29/military.okinawa/index.html


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon has yielded to demands from residents on the Japanese island of Okinawa and committed to cut the number of U.S. Marines in the country by nearly half.

The announcement from the Pentagon came Saturday and stated that the United States and Japan had agreed to shift 7,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam during the next six years. There are 14,460 U.S. Marines in Japan, and almost all of them are stationed in Okinawa.

About 47,000 troops from all U.S. military branches are in Japan, and most of those also are in Okinawa.

Earlier in the week, Japan and the United States agreed to close the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the crowded southern part of Okinawa and move its functions to Camp Schwab in the north, according to The Associated Press.

Local residents have held widespread protests periodically during the past decade in response to U.S. military personnel committing crimes.

Protests boiled over in 1995 after three American servicemen were found guilty of raping an Okinawan schoolgirl.

Since 1995, U.S. service members have been convicted at least five times on sexual assault charges. An airman was convicted of rape in 2002.

In July, Okinawa police in July charged another U.S. airman following the molestation of a 10-year-old girl in a parking lot. Sgt. Armando Valdez, 27, later pleaded guilty, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported.

Saturday's announcement followed talks among U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Japanese Defense Minister Yoshinori Ono and Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura.

Rumsfeld told a news conference Saturday that the United States and Japan "agreed to findings and recommendations to strengthen the alliance and reduce the impact of U.S. military on local communities."

Ono said the agreement represented a "transformation of the alliance" between the two countries that will provide it with "a fresh start and new energy."

Both sides affirmed plans for closer military cooperation, sharing intelligence, and expanding training opportunities in deterring and defending against ballistic missile attacks. They also pledged to dissuade other nations from development and proliferation of ballistic missiles.

Copyright 2005 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

In Iraq, U.S. soldiers focus on mission — not danger

TIKRIT, Iraq — The incoming rocket makes a nasty, whooshing sound as it passes over your head, a noise that tends to freeze you in place the first time you hear it.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-10-30-iraq-essay_x.htm

By John Carlson, The Des Moines Register
TIKRIT, Iraq — The incoming rocket makes a nasty, whooshing sound as it passes over your head, a noise that tends to freeze you in place the first time you hear it.

"It's good if you hear it go over," a soldier told me after that first time. "If you hear it, you're not dead."

A friend back home told me he'd go berserk in that situation.

No, I told him. Soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen in Iraq realize they have three choices.

They can stay awake nights wondering if the next trip down the highway or into town will be the one that kills them. Or they can believe that nothing out there can get them, that they're big and bad and invincible.

Most, though, don't give it a lot of thought. They're careful, but they understand there's nothing they can do if the insurgent detonates a half-dozen artillery shells under the Humvee or the mortar hits them on that long walk to the mess hall.

It's how to live what amounts to a reasonably normal life in Iraq. You survive whatever craziness comes your way and, sometimes, laugh at the absurdity of it all.

It didn't take long to figure out that things had changed since I was in Iraq two years ago.

I'd been in the country less than an hour last month when a car bomb went off in Baghdad. I was having lunch in a room full of American soldiers in the Al Rashid hotel. The lights flickered. The soldiers went silent for a second, then continued their conversations.

That's the way it would be for the next month. Two years ago, in the summer of 2003, things were relatively quiet. Soldiers traveled the cities and countryside pretty much whenever they wanted. Now, convoys travel almost exclusively at night, when they're not such easy targets.

Improvised explosive devices were something to worry about but not obsess over two years ago. Now, they're the leading killers of Iraqi civilians and U.S. military. They're using TNT and buried propane tanks and the IEDs are getting bigger and nastier.

A nightmare? Sometimes. A 24-7 hell? Not necessarily. It's simply a part of day-to-day life.

That's what's important to remember about this trip. The living.

I'll remember:

• The young second lieutenant whose mother back home thought he worked in an office — until she read about him and the exploding IEDs in the Sunday paper.

• Looking through night vision goggles and seeing Marine snipers on rooftops, waiting to fire at anybody ambushing the Americans, then seeing the muzzle flashes when the attack comes.

• Seeing American and Iraqi soldiers sitting side-by-side, talking quietly in a half-Arabic, half-English conversation that somehow makes sense to both.

• Shaking hands with a smiling, elderly Iraqi with a purple index finger who moments earlier voted for the first time in his life.

• Watching barefoot kids run through the rubble of downtown Tikrit, waving at soldiers, then running for cover when gunfire breaks out a couple of blocks away.

• Realizing that the Iowa National Guard soldiers facing this will go back to their jobs at stores, schools, filling stations, factories and farms, spending time with families and co-workers who won't have the first clue what they've been through.

I come away with no sweeping conclusions about this war. You visit Iraq for a month, moving from place to place, seeing only what's in front of you and a little of what's going on in the general area.

People wonder if it's stable here. Depends upon where you are. In the south, mostly yes. Even in Sunni-dominated Tikrit. Same in the Kurdish north.

Baghdad, Ramadi and the western desert? No. Not even close.

But it's certainly not hopeless. The vast majority of Iraqis I met said they want stability and peace. It won't come easily. The insurgents are dedicated and well funded. Coalition troops are determined to beat them down. Iraqi Security Forces are under-equipped and won't be ready to operate without coalition help for years.

There are thousands of questions and no easy answers, so be wary of people who speak with certainty about the future of Iraq.

Just never doubt the sacrifices the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors are making.

Best Corps face forward

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. - There are more than 5,500 recruits at various stages of their basic training schedule at the Marine Corps Training Depot. They come in various sizes, with different aptitudes and attitudes and ethic backgrounds.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/10302005/business/70601.htm


By Michael McCord
[email protected]

Complete Business Index

PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. - There are more than 5,500 recruits at various stages of their basic training schedule at the Marine Corps Training Depot. They come in various sizes, with different aptitudes and attitudes and ethic backgrounds.

What they have in common, beyond the drive to survive this grueling training and graduate, is that they were recruited.

Recruited, for example, by people like Marine Corps Master Sgt. Aaron Winchenbach, who runs the recruiting office in Dover. It’s hard to imagine a more daunting task in this era. It can’t be easy to recruit a young man or woman for a potential starting annual salary around $13,000 and the promise of a 13-week orientation process that challenges both physically and psychologically. And, oh yeah, reminding them they could be deployed to global hot spots and die in the line of duty in a war growing more unpopular with the American people.

The Marines aren’t kidding when they talk about their slogan of wanting a few good men. When a recruiter comes metaphorically knocking at a recruit’s door, recruiters like Winchenbach have their own marching orders. Don’t settle for just anybody. The Marine Corps is the smallest of the armed services with around 175,000 members. And talking to them, I learn they much prefer quality over quantity.

"We want kids who want to be Marines," Winchenbach, a 19-year veteran of the Corps and considered one of the top recruiters in New England, told me days before I traveled to Parris Island. The trip is courtesy of a Marine Corps public affairs junket for educators and media members to see what recruits experience and to talk to a few from the Seacoast.

Winchenbach said his recruiting angle is to challenge potential recruits with the idea of benefits beyond the material ones of college, money and career with something more spiritual - becoming a Marine, a challenge in its own right with the reward of joining a small band of warrior brothers and sisters defending the country.

"We aren’t a jobs program," Capt. David Baril told me succinctly.

Baril, executive officer of the Portsmouth recruiting station, said the Corps has a very scientific approach, which includes mountains of paperwork and calculated screening of those who might be overwhelmed by the demands of military life, Marines style.

While the Pentagon spends hundreds of million annually in marketing the armed services to potential recruits, the Marine Corps is at the back of the budget bus when it comes to recruiting. This requires a shrewd marketing strategy to both recruits and their parents.

"Even if their son or daughter is 18 and don’t need their parents’ permission to enlist, we want the parents on board because it makes for a better Marine," Baril said.

He also said the "millennial" generation wants the approval of their parents far more than those of Generation X.

Baril explained the calculus of recruiting - 33 percent of American youth will never serve in the military, 33 percent want to - the other third "is up for grabs."

"We have to redouble our efforts to do a better job of appealing to those who are curious about the longest, most demanding training, and why the drill instructors yell at them and push them to do the same tasks," Baril said. "We don’t do half-assed training, and that’s why we are the best fighting force in the world."

Which is another way of saying our son or daughter could very well be deployed, but training pays off in keeping them as safe as possible.

Michelle Hill-Dugal’s 18-year-old son Daniel graduated from Dover High School in June and left for Parris Island last month.

"When there’s a war on, it’s very difficult to let go," Hill-Dugal told me. But, she said, her son carefully considered his options for 18 months and talked about his choice as if it were a "calling." As headlines referred to mounting casualties in Iraq, Hill-Dugal showed them to Daniel, but he told her he understood the risks.

Hill-Dugal said she considered the information and counsel she got from Daniel’s recruiters to be "awesome." But a lot of parents and their potential recruit are less receptive because of the volatile state of global and domestic affairs.

Winchenbach acknowledged the obvious: "We have to deal with a lot of rejection because of what’s happening in the world."

The war is testing recruiters’ mettle as never before - it has become the longest conflict in U.S. history fought by the volunteer military. Recruiters, who often don’t have the best reputations with the public at large, are under more pressure as combined recruiting numbers for the armed services have dropped. They have also come under more scrutiny.

Last month, The Boston Globe ran a front-page story about a Massachusetts college student who joined the Marine Corps Reserve and felt his recruiter misled him about when he could be deployed. The student was called up for active duty and he insisted the recruiter told him that could not happen until he graduated from college.

Baril said the incident, which happened in his district, was a misunderstanding and is being investigated. "It rarely happens and that’s because we go to painstaking lengths to explain every detail of the contract we sign. We don’t need to be unethical because it doesn’t serve our needs."

While the Portsmouth recruiting district (which includes Maine, New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts) reached 104 percent of its quota in the most recent fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, recruiters admit this is a tough area to work. Portsmouth High School hasn’t had one student join the Marines in a while. As of this past week, there were nine Seacoast recruits at Parris Island. Reasons include this being one of the wealthiest areas in the Northeast and high school graduates’ wide range of life and career options that mostly don’t include dying at the hands of insurgents in Iraq.

At Parris Island, recruiter Sgt. Phillip Baugh, said his recruitment area of New Haven, Conn., is becoming tougher. On the one hand, he said, interested recruits are hot on joining the infantry, the most demanding of military occupations.

"A lot of these kids are action junkies who have played a lot of Nintendo. But they will get sobered up quick," said Baugh, an infantryman (his specialty: machine guns). Baugh saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and also served with a Marine humanitarian relief unit in Kosovo.

Baugh, a native of Jamaica, faces increasing difficulty breaking through to potential recruits and especially their parents. He’s encountered a political wall hard to jump over.

"The kids want to live their life and so many parents don’t want to hear it," he told me. "They say ,‘We don’t want our son dying in an unjust war for oil.’ They tell me, ‘I didn’t vote for (President) George Bush and (I) hate this war. Call back when a Democrat is elected.’"

On the other hand, Stephen Bolz, 18, of Kittery, Maine, must qualify as a recruiter’s dream. Bolz said he’s wanted to be a Marine since "I was seven."

He graduated from Traip Academy and arrived at Parris Island last month when he was still a 17-year-old. Bolz confidently said he liked the support he got from his parents, but "I was going to join no matter what." As for the war in Iraq, Bolz didn’t blink. He plans to join the infantry and become a "scout sniper."

"I can’t wait to get over and serve my country."

Michael McCord is business editor of the Portsmouth Herald and Herald Sunday

Pieces Of Brian

He says he never, ever wonders who was responsible for digging that hole in that field on the outskirts of Fallujah and packing it with scraps of metal and explosives and rocks and anything else that could destroy vehicles and shred skin.

October 30, 2005
By JIM FARRELL, Photographs By BRADLEY E. CLIFT

He says he never, ever wonders who was responsible for digging that hole in that field on the outskirts of Fallujah and packing it with scraps of metal and explosives and rocks and anything else that could destroy vehicles and shred skin.

He says he never, ever wonders who detonated the bomb that erupted with a boom and a flash and sprayed the shrapnel that tore through the night.

"Don't even think about it," Brian Johnston says. "What difference would it make?"

He's right, of course, as he is about so many other things. He knows that the who and the how and even the why are not relevant.

Just the what.

Brian's right arm is gone, except for a stub of about 3 inches. The skin that is left has been folded and patched so that remnants of two tattoos remain like a perverse puzzle, hints of a once-bold tribal pattern interspersed with parts of the letters USMC.

His right leg is also gone, at mid-thigh. The stump is circled by a U-shaped scar, a 40-stitch souvenir from more than 50 surgeries and two skin grafts performed months after the amputation to clean up stubborn problems with recurring bone formation and infections. He is 24 years old.

Since Nov. 8, 2004, when that bomb went off and Brian felt not pain but rather his arm and leg simply go dead, his focus has been on those two limbs.

Never a word of regret about joining the Marines or any second-guessing of politicians who decided to wage a war that started promisingly but has become mired in bloodshed.

Anger and frustration, sure, but no prolonged depression, not even two months later when 28 Marines from his beloved Charlie Company, including five close friends, died in a helicopter crash during a sandstorm in Iraq.

And only occasional expressions of exasperation despite facing so many obstacles during rehab - like an emergency tracheotomy - that one of his therapists dubbed him "the setback king."

Hardly a word about how his wounds have brought his divorced parents back into each other's lives, a rancorous reunion if ever there was one.

Oh, Brian whines a lot, about stupid military commanders and bad hospital food and his electronic arm, which cost $75,000 to make but is practically useless because it's too f-ing heavy (although he would use his favorite obscenity in its full, most vulgar form there).

But such churlishness is part of the surprising bad-boy charm that has led many of the middle-aged parents Brian has met lately to hope to match him up with their daughters.

As for any wholesale bitterness, any lament of "Why me?"

Nope.

He prefers not to dwell on the past or, for that matter, to speculate about the future but instead to live in the moment, which leads to another moment, the moments stringing out in an unending series of moments that Brian has filled mostly by watching TV (hardly ever the news), or DVDs or playing some handheld game, solitaire being a favorite choice.

Fact is, other than a trip out west in February for the funerals of his friends Matt Smith and Joey Spence, and a junket in June to Chicago for some R&R; and an appearance at a fundraiser, Brian's life has been marked mostly by tedium, which, apparently, is how he has preferred it during his interminable wait to get better.

And so there's no way he is going to spend any of his time or energy asking questions that don't have answers and wouldn't change anything even if they did.

But others do.

(to view other pages of this article please go to: http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-johnston1030.artoct30,0,6577908.story?coll=hc-big-headlines-breaking

WNY Marine Injured in Iraq Received a Hero's Welcome

(Western New York, October 30, 2005) - - A Western New York Marine injured in the line of duty in Iraq received a hero's welcome Saturday in his hometown.

http://www.wivb.com/Global/story.asp?S=4047846


(Western New York, October 30, 2005) - - A Western New York Marine injured in the line of duty in Iraq received a hero's welcome Saturday in his hometown. News 4's Alysha Palumbo Reports.

It seemed all of Alden rolled out the red carpet for Lance Corporal Mark Beyers. Because of the Police escort through town, you might have thought the president was coming to Alden, but instead hundreds of people lined the streets for a surprise homecoming for a hometown hero.

Lc. Cpl. Mark Beyers: "It was overwhelming, I didn't expect that, I was coming over to play Texas Hold Em with 8 or 10 people, not the whole town of Alden."

Marks Dad David Beyers: "It was the best day since he left, that's for sure. He's been gone about 10 months now and i'm just happy to have him back here."

Two months ago, Beyers lost his right arm and part of his right leg when he stepped on an explosive device while on patrol in Iraq. Mark Beyers: 'It was bad in the hospital, just being in the hospital setting. Once you get out you start feeling a lot better. That's half the cure right there, just getting out of the hospital."

He says what got him through, was the support of his family and his fiance. Mark Beyers: "My fiance, she never left my side. She slept in a bed right next to my bed in the hospital for two months."

Mark's Fiance Denise Lauck: "I had no other priorities whatsoever. I did not care about anything else but him."

With a little more physical therapy, Beyers will have his prosthetic arm and leg. Mark: "I don't like this wheel chair very much, putting a marine in a wheel chair isn't too much fun."

Mark and Denise have been engaged since January, but dating since high school. Denise says they haven't set a date yet for their wedding. Denise: "He wants to be able to walk down the aisle, so whatever he wants!"

Ohio Marine's dying wish to be kept

He `made me promise to have him buried in Arlington,' mother says

http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/13035139.htm

From staff and wire reports

An Ohio Marine and former Medina resident in his third tour of duty in Iraq made his mother promise to bury him in Arlington National Cemetery if he was killed.

Lance Cpl. Robert F. Eckfield Jr. of Cleveland died Thursday from injuries sustained in an explosion, the military said late Friday.

He was the son of Virginia Taylor of Cleveland and her former husband, Robert Eckfield of Medina.

Before he left for Iraq on Sept. 18, the younger Eckfield asked his mother to bury him at Arlington.

``He was scared about going back,'' said Virginia Taylor. ``He said he knew he would not return. That's when he made me promise to have him buried in Arlington if the worst happened.''

Eckfield, 23, and Lance Cpl. Jared J. Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, N.Y., died from an ``indirect fire explosion'' in Saqlawiyah, Iraq, the military said.

Direct fire would be something like a gunshot aimed at an individual, a Marine spokesman said. A mortar attack on a building would be an example of indirect fire.

``They said he was killed when something, a shell or something, went through the building he was in,'' Taylor said.

Kremm died at the scene while Eckfield died at a nearby medical center, according to the Defense Department.

Both were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Eckfield had lived in Medina until he was about 5 years old, said his stepfather, Norman Taylor, on Saturday.

According to the military, he attended John Marshall High School and graduated from Cleveland Christian Academy. He had also worked at a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

``Right from the start, he wanted to do his duty,'' his mother said. ``He went right into boot camp after graduation. I understood it. My father was a Marine, but he died in 2000. They talked about the military service.''

His mother, in a statement added: ``He is remembered and loved by so many. I'm sure there will be many people going to Arlington on his behalf. I wasn't happy with him going to Iraq, but I supported him because I knew how important the military was to him.''

Eckfield would have finished this tour of active duty next spring.

A military spokesman said he had looked forward to returning to Northeast Ohio to attend his sister's high school graduation next year. He also planned to attend college and work for the Central Intelligence Agency or the State Department.

This was Eckfield's third deployment to southwest Asia: his earlier overseas tours of duty were in Kuwait and Baghdad.

Eckfield is survived by his mother, father, stepfather and siblings Nathan, Rachel and Norman.

Amputee helps wounded Marines run marathons

Ten injured veterans to run in Marine Corps Marathon

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, October 30, 2005

WASHINGTON — In 1976, Richard Traum became the first amputee to run a marathon. Now he is helping wounded Marines cross the finish line

To continue reading:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article;=32640

Camp Lejeune Marine featured in Cosmo's 50 sexiest bachelors

Iraq has always been warm. Now it's hot.

That's because Pvt. Jake Lybrook, a 21-year-old Camp Lejeune Marine who is currently deployed there with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, is featured in the current issue of Cosmopolitan magazine as one of America's 50 sexiest bachelors. (3/6)

http://www.kinston.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID;=31626&Section;=Local


October 30,2005
BY Francine Sawyer View stories by reporter
Freedom ENC

By CHRIS MAZZOLINI

Iraq has always been warm. Now it's hot.

That's because Pvt. Jake Lybrook, a 21-year-old Camp Lejeune Marine who is currently deployed there with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, is featured in the current issue of Cosmopolitan magazine as one of America's 50 sexiest bachelors.

That's right, ladies: one of the nation's "most eligible studs" lives here in Onslow County - when he's not in Iraq waging war on terrorists.

Lybrook's transformation from just another Marine into a to-die-for Devil Dog began when his mother, Robin Edinger, and sister were passing time while waiting at an airport. They picked up some magazines to pass the time, including a Cosmo. Inside was an ad for the sexiest bachelor's contest.

The inspiration came when Edinger saw the male model featured on the advertisement.

"I said, 'He's not very good looking,'" she recalled. "My daughter was like, 'Jake would probably win that if we put him in.'"

It gave them a good chuckle, but what started as a joke between a mother and daughter evolved into a silly idea among family friends. Next thing they knew, it was a full-fledged campaign to get Lybrook entered into the contest.

Edinger said her phone rang constantly as friends and family pestered her about submitting her son. Eventually, just days before the deadline, Edinger pulled together the required photos and information and sent it in - never really expecting him to win. When he did, Edinger said she was surprised.

"He is a good-looking kid, but I don't view him as sexy or hot," she said. "He's a cutie pie to me."

Lybrook, of course, knew none of this.

So the unaware Marine was checking his phone messages one night while out in the field training for his unit's upcoming deployment to Iraq. One message, drowned out by the loud chatter of his comrades around him, mentioned winning a contest. So he tried his best to shut his buddies up.

It didn't work, so he put it on speaker phone - and learned both that he won the contest and that his fellow Marines would never let him hear the end of it.

"All the guys just started laughing and hooting and hollering," Edinger said. "They made a banner for him and started going around calling him Mr. North Carolina."

Lybrook was initially hesitant about accepting the award, but it was nothing good old-fashioned peer pressure couldn't fix.

"His buddies said, 'Are you crazy? You know how many girls you're going to meet?' " Edinger said.

While the winners of the magazine's annual contest are usually treated to fancy parties, modeling contracts and TV deals, Lybrook's training and subsequent deployment in August would not allow it. While most of the models were pictured outdoors, Lybrook had his photo shoot during his leave before deployment, in a studio in New York.

The magazine spread features pictures and bits of info offered by the models, including an e-mail address where the bachelors can be reached. Lybrook's photo, at the bottom of page 78, features a quote explaining why he joined the Corps.

"I used to watch news reports on the struggle to defeat terrorism and think that more people should do something," he told the magazine. "I finally thought, why not me?"

Edinger echoes Lybrook's sentiments, saying that 9/11 changed her son in a profound way.

"He was supposed to go to college, and then one day he came and said, 'Oh, and I joined the Marine Corps,'" she said. "He was so upset about (9/11), he just wanted to fight back. He wanted to defend his country and off he went."

Now that he's in Iraq - Lybrook's unit is fighting insurgents in western Iraq's bloody and chaotic Al Anbar province - Edinger said her son has been telling her not to send the magazine because he wants to avoid the teasing. But she thinks it's likely a copy will make it over there.

Teasing from buddies isn't the only attention Lybrook's received. Edinger said there are already 300 e-mails from interested women.

"He just can't keep up with them," she said. "He tells me, 'I don't want to be mean, but we're really busy over here. I can't answer all these women back, and I don't want to send a chain letter to them.'"

Trying to be a helpful mother, Edinger offered to help him respond to some of the e-mails.

"He said, 'No way, because some of them are sending pictures.'"

Contact staff writer Chris Mazzolini at [email protected] or at 353-1171, Ext. 229.

Away from bases in Iraq, GIs often become univited guests

HADITHA, Iraq - The Marines call it a necessary evil - taking over houses and buildings for military use. For the Iraqis who become unwilling hosts, it can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a disruption that tears apart lives. (3/1)

http://www.billingsgazette.com/index.php?id=1&display;=rednews/2005/10/30/build/world/60-univited-guests.inc

Associated Press

HADITHA, Iraq - The Marines call it a necessary evil - taking over houses and buildings for military use. For the Iraqis who become unwilling hosts, it can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a disruption that tears apart lives.

In a recent offensive in Haditha, the headmaster of one school where Marines were based pressed them for a departure date so he could resume classes. At another school, Marines fortified the building with blast walls and sandbags for long-term use.

A trembling woman wept when Marines tried to requisition her home to set up an observation post with a view of a nearby road where a bomb had been planted. The Marines quickly left, using her neighbor's rooftop instead.

"We try to be respectful and not destroy anything in their homes," said Cpl. Joseph Dudley of Los Gatos, Calif., with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. "We just borrow their house and try to complete our missions."

Requisitioning homes or other buildings has been widespread in Iraq for U.S. troops on missions who stay far away from bases, sometimes for several days or weeks. During major offensives, the temporary bases deep inside cities allow troops to send out more patrols and respond quickly to attacks rather than going all the way back to bases on the outskirts of town.

Some homeowners politely treat the Marines as welcome guests. During an offensive in May, one man whose home was being used served rounds of tea to the Marines while his wife remained discreetly out of sight. He let the tired troops catch naps on his living room couch and floor, then waved goodbye to them from his front doorsteps when they left to search more houses.

But the Marines also run the risk of alienating residents.

Dhiya Hamid al-Karbuli, a truck driver from a village near the Syrian border, said he fled with his wife, six children, his brother, sister and mother after U.S. troops commandeered their home last month.

"They broke into my house before Ramadan and they are still there," he said. "We were not able to tolerate seeing them damage our house in front of our very eyes.... I was afraid to ask them to leave."

"They were eating our food. They took all the food from the refrigerator, and used all our stored junk food too. The major gave me $20 so we could shop for ourselves and for them. It was not enough."

Sometimes the Iraqis are allowed to stay in one room in their home; other times they have to move in with relatives or neighbors until the forces leave.

"You see that place up there," one Marine said to his platoon leader during a recent offensive in Haditha, pointing to a two-story hilltop house with columns.

"Yeah, that looks good. I've been looking at that," replied his captain, before trudging up the hill to explain to the owners that the platoon would be camping inside for several hours.

In a school courtyard, a handful of Marines sang gospel hymns in unison as they filled sandbags. In another building, Marines rested on dusty tile floors, their heads leaning against the walls. Some read paperbacks while others flipped through magazines with unclad women splashed on the covers. Johnny Cash's rendition of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" resonated from small speakers a Marine had brought along.

Most U.S. troops in Iraq live in air-conditioned, relatively comfortable bases with such luxuries as Internet access and widescreen televisions. But others have to rough it, particularly when patrolling western Iraq, a turbulent area the size of West Virginia where few bases are within city centers.

Running water and electricity are prized but unreliable amenities in these temporary homes. A shower is usually a bottle of water dumped over someone's head and baby wipes to scrub off layers of dirt. Crude toilets are fashioned from wooden pallets and benches.

"That will go down as one of the more unpleasant memories of my life," said one Marine leaving a latrine with walls of camouflage netting.

Marines often are packed into small rooms, sleeping in rows with their weapons and backpacks brimming with gear alongside them and eating an endless series of prepackaged meals. A Marine suffering with a cough can keep his entire unit awake through the night.

Some Marines seem to relish the difficult conditions, boasting that they are better than other harsh deployments in Somalia or Afghanistan. For others, the rough accommodations evoke fond memories of childhood camping expeditions.

For the Iraqis, the intrusion can be disruptive, especially when troops conduct nighttime drills with loud but harmless explosions and armored vehicles pass through at all hours of the day.

Many Iraqis also fear the makeshift barracks in their neighborhoods will attract insurgent attacks, possibly putting them in the crossfire. Checkpoints can also make it difficult to travel to local markets.

Some Marines buy the Iraqi families pop, or purchase snacks and other goods for their fellow troops from local merchants, injecting a little money into poor neighborhoods.

Lounging in new quarters, the troops reminisce about other places they've used, from air-conditioned luxury to bare shelters.

Talk of the "pink hotel," a home in the city of Hit, brought smiles to the faces of some Marines who recalled the soothing flow of the Euphrates River outside.

Then Capt. Timothy Strabbing of Hudsonville, Mich., also of the 3rd Battalion, reminded them of the house near Fallujah where they had set up a checkpoint. "All it had were dirt floors. It was the nastiest place," he said.


Copyright © 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.

The many, the proud, the grunts

In praise of the military NCOs who get things done

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/editorial/outlook/3424605


By ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Whether in New Orleans or Baghdad, at home or abroad, the real workhorses of our post-9/11 military have not come from among the generals and colonels, or even the captains and lieutenants, but from the enlisted ranks of sergeants and corporals.

As any West Pointer or Annapolis-educated officer will tell you, these noncommissioned officers — NCOs or noncoms in military lingo — are the heart and soul of the U.S. military, the repository of its culture and traditions.

They are a poorly paid, blue-collar corps, many of them just high school graduates. Two-thirds of all Marines are noncommissioned and in their first four-year enlistment. Nearly 90 percent of Army Special Forces soldiers, or Green Berets, are sergeants of one grade or another.

The average American has not worn a uniform since the draft ended more than three decades ago, so perhaps we may be forgiven for clinging to the stereotype of the growly sergeant hovering over a recruit doing push-ups, as in the 1960s comedy series Gomer Pyle, USMC.

But the truth is that the sergeant of today (or chief petty officer in the Navy) is generally a technical expert and corporate-style manager who may speak several exotic languages. One Special Forces master sergeant with whom I recently traveled in Algeria, who grew up on a family farm in New Hampshire, had handled military and humanitarian emergencies in 73 countries in the course of a 17-year Army career.

Never before in military history have noncommissioned officers — who deal at the lowest tactical level, where operational success or failure is determined — been so critical. This is because of the changing nature of conflict.

As the age of mass-infantry warfare closes — and the battlefield disperses and empties out over vast deserts, jungles and poor, sprawling cities — armies increasingly operate unconventionally in small, autonomous units, at the level of the platoon and below, where sergeants reign supreme.

It was the Prussian Baron Friedrich von Steuben who, during the 1777-78 winter at Valley Forge, laid the groundwork for the NCO corps as it exists today. Thus, he created the genius of the American military: the radical decentralization of command so that the general directive of every commissioned officer is broken down into practical steps by sergeants and corporals at the furthest edge of the battleground. Com-missioned officers give orders; NCOs get things done. Because the world of NCOs is tactical, they do not voice opinions about such things as "should or should we not have inter-vened," and thus for the media they often remain invisible.

The idealistic captain or lieutenant has become a mainstay of much military reporting, including my own. NCOs, by contrast, are generally tight-lipped, except when you ask them about the technical task at hand. Then they can't stop talking. Ask them what they do, never how they feel, has become my motto.

But the captains and lieutenants are useless without their sergeants. And in Fallujah, Iraq, when a young Marine lieutenant was killed along with his staff sergeant, I observed a corporal seamlessly take command.

NCOs are a particularly American species, perhaps because the ever-expanding frontier of Western settlement in North America was all about doing, not imagining: clearing land, building shelters, obtain-ing food supplies. Though the family farm is dying across the continent, almost half of the 12-man Special Forces A-team with which I was embedded in Algeria had grown up on family farms.

This fine NCO corps is also a product of America's middle-class society. In many a Third World army, the gulf between officers and enlistees is that between aristocrats and peasants. Because such class distinctions do not really exist here, the consequence is an NCO corps that deals confidently with its superiors, so that lieutenants revere and depend upon their sergeants. It is that bond that is at the core of a military that gets the greatest possible traction out of the worst possible policies.

But NCOs are not sufficiently listened to. The three most desperately needed items in Iraq today are ones that NCOs have long been emphasizing: armored Humvees, "blue-force" trackers for situational awareness of the battlefield and SAPI plates (small-arms protective inserts for flak vests).

NCOs now complain about the heavy equipment they have to carry: all the latest gizmos merely make it easier for an insurgent in flip-flops and armed with an AK-47 to outrun the fittest Marine. NCOs keep the military focused on basics — the overlooked stuff that wins wars.

Defense policy is only as good as its application by NCOs. In Afghanistan, I saw how general discussions in Washington about building an Afghan national army had limited relevance to NCOs and their immediate superiors in the field, who had to decide — based on matters of ethnicity and personality — which tribal militias to keep in place and which to disband.

Especially in an age when field troops are scrutinized under media Klieg lights, the actions of individual NCOs can have untold political consequences.

Although reinstituting ROTC at elite universities is central to healthy civilian-military relations, the far more pressing issue today is providing more NCOs with educations at state and community colleges during their time in the military, and further invigorating NCO leadership courses at places such as Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Bragg, N.C.

NCOs will not become proficient at foreign languages until such study is integrated into their training schedules and becomes relevant to their rank promotion.

Despite all the buzz about "transformation," policy-makers forget that real transformation is about human beings, not weapons systems. It's about the lowliest grunts.

Kaplan, a correspondent for Atlantic Monthly, is the author of Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground, published last month by Random House. This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

October 29, 2005

Marines learn how to win over Afghan town with aid, respect, sensitivity

By Steve Mraz
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 29, 2005

CAMP BLESSING, Afghanistan — Just steps outside the gate of this eastern Afghanistan fire base, camp commander 1st Lt. Matt Bartels is met with a warm smile, a hug and a handshake, followed by the Afghan villager respectfully placing his hand over his own heart.

To continue reading:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article;=32612

Marines learn how to win over Afghan town with aid, respect, sensitivity

By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, October 29, 2005

CAMP BLESSING, Afghanistan — Just steps outside the gate of this eastern Afghanistan fire base, camp commander 1st Lt. Matt Bartels is met with a warm smile, a hug and a handshake, followed by the Afghan villager respectfully placing his hand over his own heart.

To continue reading:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article;=32612

Utah native continues family legacy

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Oct. 29, 2005) -- Growing up, a young boy looked up to his grandfather, a Bronze Star recipient who served in the Army during World War II, and grew up to follow a legacy that he continues today in Iraq. (II MEF)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/8f4b7f2d8153b07a852570a9002c6b5a?OpenDocument


Submitted by:
II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by:
Computed Name: Lance Cpl. Josh Cox

Story Identification #:
200510294510

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(Oct. 29, 2005) -- Growing up, a young boy looked up to his grandfather, a Bronze Star recipient who served in the Army during World War II, and grew up to follow a legacy that he continues today in Iraq.

Corporal Quinnon W. Duke, 27, said his grandfather’s service in WWII called him to pursue a career in the military, and the nobility of the Corps motivated him to become a Marine.

“My grandfather was a strong man with good morals,” he said. “He was successful in life. He fought in many campaigns during WWII, to include Guadalcanal. I knew that I wanted to be a successful person with strong values. Even after he had a stroke that confined him to a wheelchair, he pushed on for another 12 years; this is how he inspired me.”

“I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to be the best,” said the Logan, Utah, native.

Duke, a manpower analyst, supports manpower information database software, and teaches administrative Marines how to utilize and operate the crucial software here.

The 1996 Logan High School graduate initially served as a reserve Marine while attending Utah State University, and worked in restaurants during the late 1990’s.

In 2001, Duke, who is currently operating with Manpower Information System Support Office 11, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Headquarters Group, II MEF (FWD), decided to transition to active duty because he enjoyed his career in the Marine Corps.

“I liked the Marines, and I decided that is what I wanted to do,” he said.

Before deploying to the Middle East in August, Duke served in Chicopee, Mass., assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, and in Kansas City, Mo., with MISSO 16-17.

“Massachusetts was a culture shock,” he said. “I never really spent time on the East Coast. I reenlisted while I was there.”

While serving in Kansas City, Duke was augmented to II MEF to support Operation Iraqi Freedom here.

“I enjoy the work I do,” he said. “I have the pride of being a Marine.”

Duke said his job requires him to instruct others on the manpower software, which can be challenging.

“The challenges are introducing new systems, and giving classes,” he said. “I’m definitely not a public speaker.”

Even though Duke isn’t keen on public speaking, he overcomes the anxiety in several ways.

“Practice, study and hard work are the only ways to overcome it,” he said.

Duke’s superiors have picked up on his attitude for success.

“Cpl. Duke is capable of communicating on any level,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Terry L. Slater, MISSO-11 staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “He is an outstanding instructor and truly enjoys passing on the experience he’s gained. I would love to work with him any time, anywhere.”

Duke said he is glad to be a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and looks forward to reading about the events in history books.

“To me, it’s good to know I’m a part of a world event; part of freeing a country from oppression,” he said. “…part of a big event that will go down in history.”

Like many Marines serving in the Corps today, Duke is working to become an expert in his field, and is pursuing a college education in conjunction with his duties in the military.

“My goal is to become proficient enough at what I do to become a warrant officer,” he said. “In the meantime, I’m working on an electronic engineering degree.”

EDITOR’S NOTE
Please feel free to publish this story or any of the accompanying photos. If used, please give proper credit to the writer/photographer, and contact us at: [email protected] so we can update our records.

'To Iraq and Back'

2/7 families tread same distance as deployed loved ones

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/DCDD37212AEA113A852570A8007E2A3C?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCAGCC
Story by:
Computed Name: Pfc. Michael S. Cifuentes
Story Identification #:
2005102818583

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.(Oct. 28, 2005) -- Families and friends of the Marines and Sailors of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, joined together Oct. 22 at the Combat Center’s Physical Fitness Test course on Del Valle Road to walk three miles as part of their “To Iraq and Back” program.

The "2/7 Families: To Iraq and Back" is a program intended to promote well-being, relieve stress and build cohesiveness among the 2/7 family.

“This program allows all family members to actively support the Marines and Sailors who are fighting in Iraq right now,” said Sally Salmons, wife of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark R. Salmons, battalion gunner.

The walk began with the goal to replicate the distance 2/7 has traveled, as well as their return home.

The total distance from Twentynine Palms to Iraq and back is 16,416 miles.

Each person involved in the program commits to walking, running, biking or swimming several miles each week and collectively will eventually have "traveled" the same distance to Iraq and back.

The unit is over three months into deployment and the participants of the program have blown past their goal by traveling over 25,433 miles.

“Today we are here not only to walk, but to celebrate making it halfway through the deployment in good spirits,” said Laura Adams, wife of Capt. Claude L. Adams, company commander of Headquarters and Services Company. “This has been a great way to meet some of the family members of the brave men who are deployed. There’s a great sense of camaraderie here and we all just can’t wait to meet each other when [the unit] returns.”

A monthly newsletter is posted on the 2/7 Web site informing families the miles walked per month and the total amount. 7,938 miles were walked in September, 9,195 miles were walked in August and 8,299 miles were traveled in July.

An update of the miles walked and program events are sent to the Marines and Sailors of 2/7 every month.

There are about 360 family members committed to the seven-month program in places all over the world, said Adams. From New Zealand to Germany, 2/7 has family members in different countries that are participating in the program and showing their support by walking the miles and making efforts to keep in-step with their loved ones who are deployed.

“We encourage other units interested in creating a similar program to contact us at
[email protected]” said Salmons. “It’s a good way to do our part and stay active until our Marines and Sailors return.”

More information on the program can be viewed on 2/7’s Web site at http://www.29palms.usmc.mil/fmf/2-7.

LI Marine Killed in Iraq

At Hauppauge home of his mom, Pentagon tells her that her son and a fellow Marine died in an explosion

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lidead294489227oct29,0,1958099.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines

BY SAMUEL BRUCHEY
STAFF WRITER

October 29, 2005

Nancy Young Kremm came home from work Thursday and wanted to write a letter to her son in Iraq.

She said she wanted to tell Jared, a lance corporal in the Marines, that everything was great, that he'd be home very shortly, and how happy she'd been to receive his letter one day earlier.

But before she could heat up her tea and sit down at her kitchen table, two Marines knocked on her door.

A U.S. Department of Defense news release said Jared Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, and a soldier from Cleveland, were killed Thursday "from an indirect fire explosion" in Saqlawiyah, Iraq.

Kremm was in the 2nd Marine Division, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. He was the 13th soldier from Long Island killed in Iraq.

Kremm's mother said she had not been told the details of her son's death.

"They told me that I didn't want to hear it," she said, "that he had extensive damage to his head and the rest of his body. And they tried even though they could see it was hopeless."

Kremm died at the scene, the military said.

Kremm graduated from Hauppauge High School, where he played football and lacrosse. He then attended Suffolk County Community College and enlisted after 9/11. He trained at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and shipped out a year ago. Kremm returned in March, was on leave in April, then shipped out again last month, his mother said.

"He believed in everything he did," said Kremm's mother. "He told me that it was something that was necessary. He joined to make a difference."

Kremm said her son was a crew leader in the special forces. Their mission was to train Iraqi police officers, she said.

Other than that, Jared told her little about his life in Iraq.

In a letter she received from him this week, he told her he loved and missed her, and that the mission was going well. "He candy-coated everything for me," she said. "He tried to make me feel that he was in a resort."

Marine from Dallas decorated

Silver Star honors captain who led platoon to safety in Iraq

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-silverstar_29met.ART.North.Edition2.865b3d6.html

12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, October 29, 2005

By MARY C. SCHNEIDAU / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – Marine Capt. Joshua Glover said the dilemmas his platoon found itself in during combat in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 were at times "hazy" because of the unpredictable nature of the insurgency there.

But what is clear now, the military believes, is that Capt. Glover's actions then were a heroic demonstration of his devotion to duty. Capt. Glover, a Dallas native and 1997 graduate of Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, received the Silver Star on Friday for courage in battle.

The Silver Star is the nation's third-highest award for combat valor. Gen. Michael Hagee, the commandant of the Marine Corps, pinned it on Capt. Glover, 26, during a ceremony at Marine Barracks Washington.

The award "reflects the performance of all Marines and really all servicemen and servicewomen," Gen. Hagee said. Capt. Glover was a platoon commander in the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

The combat in Fallujah in the spring of 2004 was some of the toughest and deadliest since the war in Iraq began in March 2003. It was there that Iraqi insurgents captured and killed four private American security contractors before publicly mutilating their bodies on March 31, 2004.

Just two weeks later, on April 13, Capt. Glover's platoon was ordered to retrieve classified material from a downed American CH-53 helicopter. After accomplishing their mission, the Marines were attacked by Iraqi insurgents. Capt. Glover led the platoon to safety, according to the Silver Star citation.

Later that night, Capt. Glover's force was sent to recover a destroyed military vehicle and rescue another platoon. As he directed relief and recovery operations, Capt. Glover's platoon was attacked again, according to the citation. His response to a group of about 120 insurgents firing at his platoon at point-blank range "really stood out as valorous," 2nd Lt. Elle Helmer, a Marine spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

"It's kind of humbling," Capt. Glover said of the Silver Star, "because I've never been anything without my Marines."

Capt. Glover's combat in Fallujah occurred during the second of three deployments to Iraq. He was recently assigned as executive officer of headquarters at Marine Barracks Washington.

Capt. Glover's Silver Star, the 35th awarded since the Iraq war began, came in a week that marked the 2,000th American casualty in the war.

The award ceremony included a Marine battalion formation and comments from Gen. Hagee. Capt. Glover's mother, Lynn, and sister, Amie, traveled from Dallas to be at his side. His girlfriend, Heather Morris, was also at the ceremony.

"You are our future," Gen. Hagee told Capt. Glover. The general added that he was impressed that during battle, Capt. Glover was able to "make the right decision, to do what is right for the Marine Corps and this nation."

E-mail [email protected]

Former Marine returns home to serve his city

MERIDEN — A city native who once guarded the president of the United States has returned to guard his hometown.

http://www.record-journal.com/articles/2005/10/29/news/news05.txt


MERIDEN — A city native who once guarded the president of the United States has returned to guard his hometown.

Jason Welles, 23, protected the U.S. Marine Corps helicopter Marine One, often standing silent with his hand held firmly to the brim of his hat. He traveled to London, Rome and Prague, and played basketball with the president at Camp David in Maryland. Still, he yearned to come home and serve the city in which he grew up.

Welles has wanted to become a Meriden police officer for as long as he could remember. He rose quickly through the ranks of the Meriden Police Explorers program, which is designed to provide experience for young people interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Joining at age 13, Welles often talked about graduating from the police academy and enlisting with the department.

“That’s all he wanted to do. That’s all he talked about,” said Officer Mike Lane, former Explorers’ advisor. “Before he even left the Marines, he tested for (police officer). He just showed total dedication and had the foresight that this is what he wanted to do. He worked hard at it.”

Since he didn’t meet the department’s age requirement of 21, Welles joined the Marine Corps and was assigned to guard the president’s helicopter. Putting his experience is difficult to put in words, he said.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” Welles said Friday afternoon. “A lot of the time when I did it, I thought, ‘Wow. If people could see what I can see now.’ ”

Despite the moments of exhilaration, Welles said, there is a lot of down time when he sat in a hangar waiting for his next mission. He thrives on excitement in small doses, he said, which led him to Meriden.

“It’s not a Cheshire, where there’s nothing to do. It’s not a Hartford, where I fear for my life every day. It’s a diverse community,” Welles said. “I can’t find another career that has such a diverse atmosphere. I love driving around and meeting new people and having new experiences.”

Chief Jeffry Cossette said Welles’ enthusiasm and military background would help him thrive within the department. “Their structure, their discipline, the way they’re able to control their emotions — all are very useful in our field,” Cossette said.

[email protected]

(203) 317-2230
By Jennifer Manes, Record-Journal staff

Friends, family mourn fallen Fulton County Marine

For many, finding the strength to go inside the church was a challenge in itself. Szwydek’s parents, Nancy and Mike, greeted visitors as they entered the church. They were embraced by mourners with endless streams of tears pouring from their eyes, wishing both parents did not have to endure pain like this.

http://www.publicopiniononline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051029/NEWS01/51029002/1002

By LINWOOD OUTLAW III
Staff writer

For those who knew Lance Cpl. Steven Szwydek, it was a day of mourning no one was emotionally prepared for.

Family and friends gathered at the Needmore Bible Church in Needmore on Friday to say goodbye to a beloved son, friend and Marine who died doing what he loved most –– protecting his country.

For many, finding the strength to go inside the church was a challenge in itself. Szwydek’s parents, Nancy and Mike, greeted visitors as they entered the church. They were embraced by mourners with endless streams of tears pouring from their eyes, wishing both parents did not have to endure pain like this.

On Oct. 20, Szwydek, along with two other U.S. Marines, was killed by a roadside bomb during combat in Iraq. He is the second member of the military from Fulton County to be killed while serving in Iraq. Szwydek served in the Weapons Company Second Battalion in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Before Rev. Doug Poffenberger delivered his sermon, pictures of Szwydek, from childhood to manhood, were projected on a wide screen, reminding loved ones just how far the 20-year-old Southern Fulton High School alumnus had come.

“He was a lovable kid, and a typical teenager. Like most teenagers, he had his share of misadventures,” uncle Stanley Szwydek said. “And he loved to eat steak. No matter what restaurant we went to, he wanted steak.”

About eight people approached the podium inside the church and shared their memories of Szwydek with an audience who struggled to fight back tears during the funeral.

A friend, Robert Bard, said, “He paid the ultimate sacrifice for the people he knew and the people he never met. I’ll always remember Steve for that. He did what he could to protect this country.”

Many recalled that Szwydek aspired to be a Marine since childhood.

“He was always interested in the military life. He loved military history. Even though I’m very sad he’s gone, I’m very proud of Steven. I know being a Marine was what he wanted to do,” Stanley Szwydek said.

Poffenberger spoke about the last time he had seen Szwydek alive.

“I told him I’ll pray for him. He looked back at me and said ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. We’ll talk when I get back.’ He was a beautiful human being,” Poffenberger said.

Fourteen U.S. Marine troops attended the service and fired seven gunshots in salute of Szwydek at its conclusion. Szwydek was buried in Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery in a private ceremony. The family invited everyone to share a meal with them in honor of Szwydek’s life inside the church’s fellowship hall.

At the very front of the dining hall, there was a table covered with dozens of Szwydek’s awards and war memorabilia, showcasing his interests and array of accomplishments. Among those rewards on display was the Purple Heart he was given for wounds received in action resulting in his death.

The table also displayed 13 of Szwydek’s favorite military-themed books, including “The Guns of the South” by Harry Turtledove and “When Thunder Rolled” by Ed Ragimus.

“He was a cherished brother and a good son. But most of all, he was proud to be a part of the U.S. Marine core,” Poffenberger said.

Perhaps Szwydek’s second love in life besides the Marines was baseball. He earned several awards and trophies for his performance in the sport during his elementary and secondary school years, including a “Gatorade Will To Win Athlete Award” he earned in 2003. Szwydek’s former teammates signed a baseball bat and placed it on his display table.

Stanley Szwydek said people will not only remember his nephew for his accomplishments, but also his generosity and love for others.

“Steven was the kind of person where, if you ever talked to him once, he was your friend,” he said.

A photograph of Szwydek was perched on top of his coffin prior to the funeral featuring a metaphor summarizing his life: “You must not judge a life by its length, but instead by its depth.”

Originally published October 29, 2005

Marine gave life for cause

1 year after death, loved ones recall patriotism (1/3 fallen hero- Oct 30, 2004)

http://www.azcentral.com/community/westvalley/articles/1029gl-lplapka29Z1.html

David Madrid
Glendale Republic
Oct. 29, 2005 12:00 AM

Christopher J. Lapka was born a Marine.

One year ago Sunday, he died a Marine.

Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher Lapka, a member of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Hawaii, would be 23 years old now.

He died Oct. 30, 2004. A year later, the toll from the war in Iraq has reached 2,000 such deaths.

Tina Lapka, Christopher's mother, remembers the near-perfect son, who even as a child already had the requisite traits of a Marine.

"You could tell him to go stand in a place, and he would do it," she said. "He would never cry. All he wore, until he was about 7 years old, was camouflage."

Christopher accomplished much in his short life. He had perfect attendance throughout most of his school and earned straight A's. He was a wrestler at Sunrise Mountain High School. He left Arizona State University, where he was studying to become a civil engineer, to join the Marine Corps.

In the end, Christopher was what he most coveted in his young life: a Marine.

The Peoria resident was serving as a fire-team leader in Bravo Company and had just completed a mission near Fallujah that he had volunteered for.

As the company returned to Camp Fallujah, Christopher was riding in a seven-ton truck when a sports utility vehicle full of explosives rammed it, instantly killing him and seven other Marines.

Among the letters his family received after his death from his friends and officers, some of the same words appear over and over again: "respect," "patriotic," "mature," "humble," "leader," "unselfish," "professional," "dedicated" and "brave."

Many noted his smile.

"He had an amazing balance of clumsiness and grace," wrote a fellow Marine, Cpl. David R. Coan. "He made tripping on a cot and falling into water jugs look like a ballet. Most of all, he always greeted me with a smile, and I will never forget his smile."

Perhaps it is best to hear Christopher explain how he came to be in a war in Iraq.

"Before graduating high school, I had decided I would come into the Marine Corps after college to become an officer unless war broke out, then I would just enlist," he wrote.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001.

"I could not sleep well at night, and all I thought about was how my friends would be sent to combat and risk life and limb so that I could live a safe, quiet, protected life back in the United States.

"I felt that I could not see myself as a man unless I was willing to put myself in the same situation that my friends would soon be in. I could not ask another man to risk his life for me without being willing to do the same for him."

Christopher is survived by his mother; his father, Ken; and his sister, Michelle.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or (602) 444-6926.

Evesham Marine receives warm send-off

EVESHAM
"I'm confident in my unit," said Macready, 20. "My platoon knows how do the job. I've lost close friends in Iraq, friends I went to infantry school with. That doesn't make me afraid. It just makes me want to make sure their deaths were not in vain." (1/2 / pic at ext link)

http://www.courierpostonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051029/NEWS01/510290354/1006

Saturday, October 29, 2005

By BILL DUHART
Courier-Post Staff

EVESHAM
Ann Macready said she was aware of indictments Friday against a key member of the Bush White House on a charge related to the start of the war in Iraq.


But Macready said she didn't want to talk about that. She just wanted to talk about the party she was having for her son, Chris, who is headed to the Middle East with the Marines.


"Tonight is about Chris," said Macready, 52, a media consultant. "It's not about politics. It's about my son putting his life on the line for all of us."


Chris Macready, a 2004 graduate of Cherokee High School, said this is something he has wanted to do since he was 5 years old. He has been a Marine for the past year, based in North Carolina.


"I'm confident in my unit," said Macready, 20. "My platoon knows how do the job. I've lost close friends in Iraq, friends I went to infantry school with. That doesn't make me afraid. It just makes me want to make sure their deaths were not in vain."


Macready is part of the First Battalion, Second Marine Division. His unit is scheduled to leave for Kuwait on Nov. 7 and Macready said he expects to be in Iraq shortly thereafter.


But Friday, he was with about two dozen friends and loved ones who wanted to let him know how much they cared.


"I'm here for you, man," said Anthony D'Alonzo, 20, Macready's best friend. "Just know that when you're out there by yourself. There are plenty of people here thinking of you."


Macready also got a going-away present from the Burlington County Military Affairs Committee. Lisa Post, chairwoman of the volunteer group, gave Macready 50 10-minute international calling cards and other items to keep him feeling close to home.


"I'm just here to let the young people from our county who are leaving us to go into harm's way know that we care," said Post, a retired Army reserve captain. "I never say goodbye on these occasions. I always say we'll look forward to you coming home."


Reach Bill Duhart at (856) 486-2576 or [email protected]

Fox Company gets a lift for insertion

Marines from 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Fox Company standby to board a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter. (31st MEU / pic at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/87244C4319AE4887852570AC003D7848?opendocument

Submitted by: Headquarters Marine Corps
Story Identification #: 200511161124
Story by - Navy Seaman Adam R. Cole

ABOARD USS JUNEAU (LPD 10), At Sea, Republic of the Philippines (Oct. 29, 2005) -- Marines from 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's Fox Company standby to board a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter on the flight deck aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Juneau (LPD 10) during Amphibious Landing Exercise 06.

PHIBLEX is an annual bilateral Republic of the Philippines and United States exercise designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and continue professional relationships between the United States and Philippine Armed Forces.

Battle-scarred Marine yearns for his buddies

Now resting at home, he wants to return to Iraq

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051028/NEWS01/510280408/1002/NEWS


Ernst Lamothe Jr.
Staff writer

(October 28, 2005) — BATAVIA — After being attacked twice in three weeks in Iraq, first in a roadside ambush, then by a suicide bomber, most people would want to stay home for good.

Not Lance Cpl. Scott Calkins.

The Batavia native is ready to go back to the front lines.

"I feel bad leaving my friends behind," said Calkins, 19, of the 2nd Marine Division, a ground combat outfit.

Calkins is resting at home after being awarded the Purple Heart on Oct. 3 by Vice President Dick Cheney. He is to be deployed to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina on Wednesday.

"We're a family here, but he has an adopted family in the Marines, and sometimes it is hard to share your son with another family," said his father, Rick Calkins. "But they have been really positive for him and we appreciate that."

The Purple Heart is awarded to any member of the armed forces who has been wounded or killed during battle. With cuts under both eyes and multiple scars on his left hand, Scott Calkins' battle scars are hard to miss.

He suffered his first injury on Sept. 2 during an ambush.

"I remember shooting and then shrapnel came into my hand," he said. "My weapon jammed, and there was blood all over the place." In what was considered a minor injury, he said, shrapnel entered his index finger and crossed the knuckles on his left hand.

The second injury, on Sept. 23, was more serious.

He and seven other men were in a Humvee near a vehicle checkpoint in Al-Karmah. The Marines didn't know that a suicide bomber was 15 feet away in the car ahead of them. When the bombs exploded, all the men suffered various wounds.

The military flew Calkins to Germany, where he was treated for cuts under both eyes, damaged eardrums and more cuts to his left hand, this time to his middle finger just above his knuckles, where new pins were inserted.

"My hand is not sore, but I don't have the range of movement I should have," Calkins said.

He added that he has a hard time hearing now but describes his overall health as good.

'Leave no man behind'

While the phrase "A few good men," has become synonymous with the Marines, a lesser-known motto is "Leave no man behind." Because of this, Calkins hasn't fully enjoyed being honored with the Purple Heart.

"We were actually excited about it, but he was kind of depressed because his unit was over in Iraq and he got to come home," said Calkins' father. "He's concerned about leaving his friends over there."

In addition, the younger Calkins wanted his whole unit recognized for bravery.

Dawn Calkins would rather her son set up a permanent base in Batavia, but she knows he has a heart for military life. When he was 16, Scott told his parents that he wanted to join the Marines after countless talks with recruiters. On Nov. 7, 2003, he officially signed up. He went to boot camp in South Carolina on Sept. 13, 2004, three months after graduating from Batavia High School. He went to Iraq on July 18, 2005.

"It was scary because we knew a war was going on and we knew he would be going to Iraq," said Calkins' mother.

However, she said she always supported his decision and was proud when he was stationed at Camp Lejeune in July.

Mother's intuition kicked in when her son called in late September. She knew how many days he was scheduled to be in the field and that he was calling too early. While it was hard hearing that her son had been injured again, she was happy her worst fears weren't realized.

"The second time he got injured, it didn't sink in right away and then I started getting really nervous, wondering if he had lost a limb," said Calkins' mother. "He was kind of downplaying everything. It feels good that he is home now."

Meanwhile, he's enjoying pizza, subs and Mom's home cooking, a definite upgrade from meals ready-to-eat.

"After a couple of days," Calkins' father said, "he went back to eating us out of house and home."

[email protected]

October 28, 2005

Looming deployment casts fear over Marines' families

Next spring, Denise Barone's only son will leave Mason - most likely for Iraq - trading a world of certainty and safety for one of confusion and danger. (1/24)

http://www.lsj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051028/NEWS01/510280354/1001/NEWS

By T.M. Shultz
Lansing State Journal

Next spring, Denise Barone's only son will leave Mason - most likely for Iraq - trading a world of certainty and safety for one of confusion and danger.

Her son, Lance Cpl. Jason Roenicke, 21, and more than 100 other men from Lansing's Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, expect to get their orders as early as January. They could leave in May or June.

"It's very hard," Barone said as she stood inside the Navy and Marine Corps Reserve Center on Saginaw Street during Charlie Company's recent Family Day.

"He wants to help things be better in the world and not just sit around doing nothing," Barone explained. "I feel extremely proud for that, but I'm also extremely afraid."

She isn't alone.

Other parents have been through this before.

Richard Ochoa of Muskegon said this tour will be the second for his son, Lance Cpl. Jonathan Ochoa, 21.

Waiting out his son's first deployment was incredibly difficult: "I felt like I was going to go out of my mind."

But his son thought he could do some good in Iraq.

"He has a heart for protecting people," his father explained.

Find out more about how the families are handling the impending departure in Saturday's Lansing State Journal.

Shooting suspects appear in court

John Thomas Turpin and Gary Lynn Goodwin, the two men accused of shooting a produce stand owner and his wife during an attempted robbery, were arraigned Friday morning in Clearwater County District Court.

http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID;=21354&SectionID;=3&SubSectionID;=&S;=1


Saturday, October 08, 2005

By Julie Bratvold
Staff Writer
[email protected]


John Thomas Turpin and Gary Lynn Goodwin, the two men accused of shooting a produce stand owner and his wife during an attempted robbery, were arraigned Friday morning in Clearwater County District Court.

Both men received identical charges of one count of first-degree aid and abet aggravated robbery, one count of first-degree aid and abet assault, and two counts of second-degree aid and abet assault.


They are currently being held in the Clearwater County Law Enforcement Center on $500,000 bail each.


Details of Wednesday’s shooting were released in a criminal complaint on Friday.


The complaint states that the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 12:26 p.m. Wednesday regarding a shooting at A & E Produce, a small produce and used gun stand located on U.S. Highway 2 between Bagley and Shevlin.


Two injured


The owners of the business, Arnie and Evelyn Erickson, were injured in the shooting. They were transported to Clearwater County Memorial Hospital, where Arnie was treated for a gunshot wound in the upper arm. He was released Wednesday afternoon.


Evelyn was later transported to North Country Regional Hospital in Bemidji with a gunshot wound in the leg. She was listed in stable condition as of Friday afternoon.


In an interview with a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent, Arnie stated that he and Evelyn were inside the store unpacking boxes when a Native American male, later identified as Turpin, came in and asked to use the bathroom.


Arnie stated that Turpin came back into the store and grabbed a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun off a rack. Arnie watched as Turpin filled the gun with ammunition.


The report states that when Turpin swung the loaded gun toward the couple, Arnie pushed the gun away. The gun discharged, shooting Evelyn in the leg.


Arnie stated that Turpin then pulled the gun away and began to back out the door. Turpin allegedly fired a second shot, which hit Arnie in the upper arm.


As Arnie ran outside, he stated he saw a second Native American male, later identified as Goodwin, throw up his arm and shout “I didn’t shoot anyone,” before fleeing.


Into the woods


The suspects reportedly fled on foot into a wooded area behind the store. They were apprehended at approximately 2 p.m. about a quarter-mile away from the business. A double-barreled shotgun was found near where Turpin was located, according to the report.


A different BCA agent later interviewed Turpin, who stated that he and Goodwin drove to A & E Produce to rob the store. Turpin said he had visited the business a week earlier and discovered that the owner buys and sells used guns. He told the agent that he decided to rob the store for money and guns.


During that initial visit, Turpin stated that he recalled seeing a .357 handgun and other guns, including a double-barreled shotgun, in the store. He said that he purchased a box of .357 cartridges with the intention of loading them into the handgun he saw at A & E Produce.


According to the complaint, Turpin went on to explain that he entered the store Wednesday afternoon, picked up the double-barreled shotgun and loaded it. He said he pointed the gun at Arnie, but Arnie pushed it away. Turpin said he began to back out of the store after a struggle for the gun.


Owner’s self-defense


The complaint states that he confessed to firing a shot at Arnie, at which point Turpin stated Arnie pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun. Turpin stated that he then fled the scene.


Turpin further stated that he brought along rope and plastic zip-ties to restrain the couple, but he never got the chance to use them because the store owner fought back, the complaint states.


On Thursday, officers conducted a search of the 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass driven by the suspects. Inside the vehicle they found a box of .357 cartridges, two 12-gauge shotgun shells, and a hand-drawn sketch of the interior of the A & E Produce store.


Long rap sheets


Both suspects have extensive criminal histories, with numerous robbery convictions in the Metro area, according to Clearwater County Attorney Kip Fontaine. He added that both men have spent significant periods of time in state prison.


Fontaine was not sure if the two had ever committed crimes together before. He also said that neither man appears to have ties to the Clearwater County area.


Turpin (also known as John Thomas Goodwin), 56, of Mahnomen, is currently on probation in both the state and federal systems, Fontaine said.


Turpin’s felony criminal record dates back to a 1967 robbery conviction, when he was 18 years old. He has a total of eight robbery convictions, as well as convictions for burglary, assault and possession of a sawed off shotgun.


In 1990, Turpin was sentenced for aggravated robbery. He was released in 2003, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.


Goodwin, 51, of Minneapolis, also has a long history of felony convictions. His first conviction was for simple robbery in 1970. He has also two other robbery convictions, and convictions for third-degree murder, assault, kidnapping and illegal possession of a firearm.


His most recent felony conviction was in 2003 for fifth-degree controlled substance crime. However, records from Yellow Medicine County show that Goodwin received a misdemeanor conviction on Sept. 30 of this year for issuing dishonored checks.


If convicted, the men face up to 20 years in jail and a $35,000 fine for the first-degree robbery charge, 20 years and a $30,000 fine for the first-degree assault charge, 10 years and a $20,000 fine for one second-degree assault charge, and seven years and a $14,000 fine for the other second-degree assault charge.

Marine detachment honors fallen comrades

The “Tribute to the Fallen” run began Oct. 28 and will continue 24 hours a day until Nov. 10, the Marine Corps' birthday.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/7CBCDBB4B29C0DD8852570A800639DE2?opendocument

Submitted by: Fort Gordon Public Affairs
Story Identification #: 200510281484
Story by - Charmain Z. Brackett

FORT GORDON, Ga. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Lance Cpl. William W. White of Brooklyn, N.Y., was only 24 years old when he died March 29, 2003 in Iraq.

"I had to make the casualty call," said Gunnery Sgt. James Meek, who will run three miles in honor of White during a 15-day memorial run at Barton Field. The run will cover more than 1,800 miles.

The “Tribute to the Fallen” run began Oct. 28 and will continue 24 hours a day until Nov. 10, the Marine Corps' birthday.

The final lap is scheduled to begin about 6 a.m. that morning.

There are only a handful of Marines in the detachment stationed here, but they have garnered the support of former Marines and members of the Marine Corps Reserve unit in the community.

Meek said he expects about 100 people to run.

Each runner will run three-miles in honor of the more than 600 Marines and Naval corpsman attached to the Marines who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A presentation with photographs and information on the fallen will be shown during the run.

On the final leg of the event, the entire company will run, a Marine will play "Taps," and there will be a 21-gun salute.

"Marines take care of their own," said Meek. "We also stand on the tradition of Marines, our forefathers, who gave their lives."

Meek said that other former Marines who are living in the area and interested in showing their support may participate.

"A lot of soldiers are former Marines," he said.

Meek said they will send certificates to the families of the fallen to let them know what took place.

Marine receives Silver Star medal for combat valor

MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON, Washington D.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The annals of Marine Corps history are filled with stories of men and women who have sacrificed their all in service to their country. Puller, Basilone, Lejeune, Butler, Daley—names that are synonymous with valor in combat and Marine Corps lore.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/22F0091B94881C65852570A80064F29E?opendocument


Submitted by: Marine Barracks 8th & I
Story Identification #: 20051028142237
Story by Cpl. Aaron K. Clark

MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON, Washington D.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The annals of Marine Corps history are filled with stories of men and women who have sacrificed their all in service to their country. Puller, Basilone, Lejeune, Butler, Daley—names that are synonymous with valor in combat and Marine Corps lore.

"There is a fellowship of valor that links all U.S. Marines, past, present, and future," said Joseph Alexander, retired Marine Colonel in his book The Battle History of the U.S. Marines: A Fellowship of Valor.

Now, another story of valor can be added to the Marine history books and for one Marine officer assigned to the Corps' "Oldest Post," that story is one of modesty and simply taking care of his Marines.

Dallas native, Capt Joshua L. Glover was presented the nation's third highest award for valor in combat—the Silver Star medal.

Glover, a 2001 United States Naval Academy graduate, received his award during a chilly early morning ceremony held aboard the Post Oct 28, 2005 from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Michael W. Hagee.

The 26-year-old received the award for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as 81mm Mortar Platoon Commander with Weapons Company and Quick Reaction Force Platoon Commander, 1st Marine Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on April 13, 2004 in Al Fallujah.

When asked about the award, Glover humbly diverts attention away from himself.

"I received this award because of something we did as a platoon, and I am really proud of what we accomplished that day," he said.

Occurring during the second of his three deployments to Iraq, Glover led and directed his platoon through enemy lines to recover classified material from a downed CH-53 helicopter. The platoon was attacked by Iraqi forces employing machinegun, small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Glover skillfully maneuvered his force and assaulted through the ambush to friendly lines, inflicting numerous enemy casualties.

After successfully completing the mission, Glover was ordered that same evening to recover a destroyed Assault Amphibious Vehicle and assist in the rescue of a besieged rifle platoon deep behind enemy lines. Glover and his Marines found themselves up against a company-sized Iraqi force along the enemy's main line of resistance where as stated in Glover’s Silver Star citation, "...he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he engaged enemy targets at point-blank range while directing the rifle platoon's relief and coordinating recovery operations."

Glover attributes the battle as a success because of the hard work of the Marines in his charge, and his common sense approach to leadership.

"When you train Marines you have to get them to focus on the basics. In a chaotic situation such as combat, the basics will get them through," said Glover.

According to Glover, it's more than just training that makes a platoon of Marines successful in combat. Strong leadership in your Non-Commissioned Officers is vital. In order to be successful, with the dispersion between elements in today's combat environments, your NCOs have to be equipped and empowered to make decisions, he said.

And through something very challenging, Glover has earned a new outlook on his life.

"I have learned to appreciate what we have here in the U.S., both the general safety we enjoy and the quality of our lives," said Glover.

And while the battle for which Glover was awarded was a success, he feels the enormity of the price that was paid.

"I lost a Marine that day, as did another unit in the battalion. We can not separate [the victory from the loss], and I think we need to do our best to make them and their families proud," he said.

For those Marines who have been called upon to defend freedom in far off lands, sacrifice is the common thread that binds them together. The desire to join their brethren in combat keeps them ready to go. And, at the Corps' "Oldest Post," another story can be added to the history books—-one of sacrifice, humility and valor.

Clerk sees deployment as the ‘real’ Corps

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 28, 2005) -- When you think of a Marine who isn’t an infantryman being deployed to a combat zone, your first thought would be they’ll only be there for about six to eight months and then they’ll never have to go again.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/269D058A392F3DB2852570A8006BCE45?opendocument


Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 20051028153731
Story by Pfc. Edward C. deBree

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 28, 2005) -- When you think of a Marine who isn’t an infantryman being deployed to a combat zone, your first thought would be they’ll only be there for about six to eight months and then they’ll never have to go again.

For Sgt. Phillip H. Cuppernell, postal clerk, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, six to eight months is a small portion of the time he’s spent in combat situations.

“To be honest, the best part about my Marine Corps experience, so far, has been being deployed,” said Cuppernell. “It may seem like a cliché, but I originally joined the Marine Corps, because I wanted to do something that I could be proud of and show thanks to my country.”

Cuppernell has spent 22 months in Iraq since he left Cobleskill College, where he studied computer programming and began his transformation from an everyday college student to one of the “few and proud.”

“I was in Iraq from February 2003 until September 2003,” said 24-year-old Marine. “Then I received orders to go back in January 2004, and didn’t return this time until March of 2005. It was a crazy long time.”

Cuppernell described his life while deployed as a lot simpler than life back in garrison.
“The uncertainty of not knowing what’s going to happen to you the next day -- much less the next five minutes -- is a pretty scary feeling when deployed,” admitted Cuppernell, a Williamson High School graduate. “I missed my family a lot, but the hardest part of my deployments, for me, was losing friends and seeing good people get hurt. That’s a rough situation.”

Cuppernell said that being in a combat zone is a “big wake-up call” and is quite different from when you’re laid back on the couch, safe at home.

“I’m actually trying to get deployed again as soon as possible,” said the self-proclaimed motivated mailman. “I’d rather be in Iraq then in my office. I didn’t join the Marines to sit behind a desk.”

According to the Williamson, N.Y. native, when a Marine is deployed, it makes him or her feel like they’re actually doing something worth doing.

“It’s the real Marine Corps, when you’re deployed,” Cuppernell said. “Marines in the infantry get to experience the real Marine Corps with their training, but POGs (people other than grunts) don’t get all those experiences.”

Cuppernell, a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program brown-belt instructor, said his parents supported him throughout his Marine Corps career.

“My parents were all for me joining,” said Cuppernell. “My mom didn’t understand why I kept volunteering to go to Iraq. She wasn’t a big fan of having guns pointed at me and having bullets being shot over my head. I guess, all in all, she just didn’t want her little boy in harm’s way. She didn’t understand that this was the happiest I’ve been since I joined the Marine Corps -- especially when I got promoted while I was over there.”

Cuppernell said his worst experience, thus far, in the Corps has been to witness the change in the younger Marines.

“The Marine Corps has changed a lot, even in the short amount of time I’ve been in -- I’ve seen it,” said Cuppernell. “The younger Marines need to take things more seriously. They don’t understand that everything can always be better. A Marine can always improve himself and help Marines assigned under them.”

Uncertain about what he wants to do in the future, Cuppernell said he would like to go into the drill field and to someday be a warrant officer and get his degree.

“I love being a Marine,” said Cuppernell. “I’m unsure, as of now, whether or not I’m going to reenlist, but if I don’t, I’ll still be proud that I was once a Marine and part of the number-one fighting force in the world.”

Combat Center Toys for Tots kicks off collection drives, looks forward to strong season

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Combat Center Marines and volunteers with the Toys for Tots program attended a Twentynine Palms High School football game at the Twentynine Palms Junior High School field Oct. 21 to kick off events for this season’s collection drives, which gathers toys for needy area children.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/E85168F66B91E960852570A80077F083?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAGCC
Story Identification #: 2005102817503
Story by Lance Cpl. Brian A. Tuthill

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Combat Center Marines and volunteers with the Toys for Tots program attended a Twentynine Palms High School football game at the Twentynine Palms Junior High School field Oct. 21 to kick off events for this season’s collection drives, which gathers toys for needy area children.

The Combat Center Toys for Tots advisory committee, in coordination with the Reserve Support Unit here, is responsible for more than 15 cities in two counties, spanning more than 6,120 square miles. More than 17,200 children received toys through the program during the 2004 holiday season.

The Marine Corps Forces Reserve Toys for Tots campaign, which began in 1947 in Los Angeles, now encompasses all 50 states and has distributed more than 19 million toys nationwide in 2004.
For those attending the football game, a discount was offered on ticket prices if they donated an unwrapped toy at the gate.

“We started out pretty early this season,” said Sgt. Domingo Adame of the Reserve Support Unit who was one of the Marines in dress blues at the game. “We got a few toys tonight, but this is really just to get the word out that way we can try for a better turnout this year.”

“This is really not about the number of toys that we get out here tonight, it’s more about public awareness and having people see the Marines and the Toys for Tots banner,” said Capt. Mark Bodde, chairman of the Combat Center’s Toys for Tots advisory committee. “That way, later on, they might be more willing to donate.”

Although the number of toys collected so far is only in the hundreds, there is no worry as most of the donations come closer to Christmas.

“We are very early in the season right now we have less than one percent of the toys we are going to collect, which come mainly in November and December,” said Bodde. “That’s when we have all of the functions and events out in town.”

“Our biggest events of the year typically are held in the low desert area,” said Bodde. “For instance, our softball game usually raises about 3,000 toys. But on base we also have the [Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School] run, where we collect anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 toys, depending on the number of Marines that run it.”

This year’s campaign will not implement many new ideas, but will aim to improve and expand on additions made in recent years.

“One of the other things I’d like to see also is we could maybe decrease the number of toys per child on average and to increase the number of children with toys,” said Bodde. “The Toys for Tots program means quite a lot to our community, and I think that’s because the community not only donates but receives toys. So it’s community members helping community members.”

The Marines of RSU look forward to a busy season this year, which means more toys for more kids, and the football game donations were a strong start for local families.

“This is all about giving to the kids and giving back to the community,” said Adame. “As Marines, we are able to help out on the home front and help these needy families here in the desert. We cover a very big area out here, but we know everyone is behind us and it’s worth the effort.”

For families in need of assistance this holiday season, a hotline has been established to call and request a donation for children.

“The hotline is the way in which we sign people up to receive toys in the high desert,” said Bodde. “People in need are able to call up the hotline and we will qualify the parent or guardian for a toy pickup date.”

“Each year we try to get the word out to commands around base that Marines and Sailors also qualify for the program and that they should not hesitate about calling in because they are part of the community, too,” said Bodde.

3rd LAR Wolfpack's Charlie Company sinks fangs into combat readiness

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- A legion of light armored vehicles appeared at dawn traveling in a pack through the Combat Center, journeying into a training area. (3rd LAR / pic at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/0AD1BEE46B1572B1852570A800792B3B?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAGCC
Story Identification #: 2005102818329
Story by Pfc. Michael S. Cifuentes

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- A legion of light armored vehicles appeared at dawn traveling in a pack through the Combat Center, journeying into a training area.

They snarled and growled as their expedition climbed the heights of Mainside’s hills. They traveled as a pack and fought as a pack, barking with their co-axial M240G machine gun and 25 mm main gun. These pack of wolves make their presence by surrounding their prey, as their scouts retrieve them by locking on to them with a fierce bite.

They are known as ‘Wolfpack,’ and their mission is to carry out reconnaissance, security, limited offensive, and defensive operations; dogfights commanded by their leader.

One of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion’s ‘Wolfpacks,’ Charlie Company, executed their Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation at the Combat Center’s Range 200 from Oct. 17 to Oct. 21.

The MCCRE uses set standards by which a unit is evaluated in the performance of all tasks, as they pertain to combat readiness. Commanders conducting a MCCRE make a total assessment of a unit's training readiness during a single exercise, or it evaluates a unit's performance through a series of given scenarios and combine the results to determine total training readiness. When correctly executed, it can assess unit capabilities, aid in planning, and serve as an evaluation tool to measure readiness in terms of combat performance standards.

Platoons from Charlie Company spent a day conducting the MCCRE and were given five scenarios: a convoy security patrol, vehicle check points, a security and stability operation in the range’s military operations on urban terrain town, urban patrolling and a cordon-and-knock search operation.

“The MCCRE is the culmination of our training,” said Capt. Mark C. Brown, commanding officer of Charlie Company. “We have an upcoming deployment and this training and readiness evaluation allows us to test out our skills and see how we place when we evaluate. We have sufficient amount of time before the deployment so that, if needed, we can correct ourselves in any aspect that needs work.”

The evaluation began when the company convoyed out from the LAV lot toward the training area. The lead vehicle put out a message a few miles before reaching Range 200 that there had been an improvised explosive device sighted.

The reaction to the IED caused the vehicles to establish a guard by forming their vehicles away from each other, as the lead vehicles left to investigate the threat.

The mock-IED led to one “casualty” and crewmen quickly recovered the Marine who lay wounded from shrapnel.

After the area was secure, the company continued their expedition to the range where they prepared for the rest of the MCCRE. Brown and 1st Lt. Andrew D. Bedo, executive officer of Charlie Company, briefed the company on their upcoming events.

“We’ve done an outstanding job preparing the past several months,” began Brown. “It is time for another deployment and we need to be ready for whatever is thrown at us. There will be no more time to get ‘shown the ropes.’ If you hit this training hard, there will be nothing that you won’t be able to handle out there.”

“The reaction to the IED was done well,” said Bedo. “We will continue on the [evaluation] with more scenarios that you will see during deployment. We will paint a fairly similar scenario of Iraq and what situations occur. Just follow what you were trained to do.”

The next scenario was a vehicle checkpoint.

The platoons established a mock-checkpoint outside the range’s MOUT town. The main road leading out the town was closed off with concertina wire.

Marines from the company who were role-playing as aggressors approached the checkpoint with a 7-ton truck and a humvee. When approached by threatening aggressors, the Marines opened fire using simulated rounds of paint and apprehended them.

The third test Marines received was a SASO operation. The platoons convoyed to the range’s MOUT town and made their presence known by interacting with the inhabitants of the town, again Marines role-playing as civilians, and asking questions about suspicious activity and the presence of a weapons cache.

Two urban patrols followed their SASO operation.

During the first patrol, Marines found a weapons cache inside the home of a man who claimed he knew nothing of it. He and two other habitants were apprehended. Aggressors from nearby houses looking at the commotion began to open fire on the Marines. The aggressors were stopped and taken inside LAVs as the platoons returned fire to other aggressors, leaving no threats behind.

On their second patrol, Marines were given intelligence of a man who was leading the attacks. The patrol was basically a combat scenario that mimicked a cordon-and-knock search mission. The Marines suffered a few casualties, as their strength was matched by the aggressors. Nonetheless, the Marines managed to complete the mission and seize their targets.

“Our goals were met,” said Bedo during the company’s debrief. “We utilized our skills after the scenarios were developed with unknown situations. We were forced to use our standard operating procedures, which led us to success.”

“Usually on a MCCRE, commanders see the plans not being carried out,” added Brown. “But we overcame that. Things got crazy in there. The buildings and alleys were filled with chaos but we dealt with them. When there were problems, I saw the Marines with the knowledge take charge and pass on what they knew to each other. I heard yelling, which meant there was heavy communication. We approached you with the worst and you beat it.”

The MCCRE for Charlie Company was evaluated with high regard to their actions, said Bedo.

“It was our last field operation and we all knew we had to show them what we’ve learned,” said Lance Cpl. Michael S. Nelson, infantry scout with 3rd Platoon. “Although the scenarios were artificial, we had to try projecting ourselves to the scene and place. We can’t take this training lightly at all in this field. It’s like in boxing – you train bad, you perform bad. You train bad in ‘the field,’ you die and your friends die. As a [Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran], this stays in the back of my mind at all times.”

Charlie Company’s training led them through a successful evaluation. Ferocious battles on convoy operations and patrolling through urban streets is what the “Wolfpack” is bred to do. Their fierce bite left the role-playing aggressors tending to their wounds – a harbinger for their upcoming deployment.

“You can go in soft or you can go in hard,” said Bedo. “Or, you can go in really hard, and that’s what we do.”

Deploying again excites Marine

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 28, 2005) -- One of the most important jobs Marines do, especially in a combat situation, is stand guard to help protect their fellow Marines. (3/3 / pic at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/78ADEFA197532D08852570A8006AB20A?opendocument


Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 20051028152524
Story by Pfc. Edward C. deBree

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (Oct. 28, 2005) -- One of the most important jobs Marines do, especially in a combat situation, is stand guard to help protect their fellow Marines. On Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted an exercise to improve their skills as guards. One Marine who knows the importance of this training exercise is Lance Cpl. Eric W. Funk.

Funk said he is ready for 3/3’s upcoming deployment to Iraq and that he is no stranger to deployments. His first deployment was to Afghanistan last year with 3/3. Funk said that he wasn’t afraid to deploy to Afghanistan, nor is he afraid to deploy to Iraq. As a matter of fact, he said the upcoming deployment has him excited -- but ready.

“When I was in Afghanistan, I thought it was boring,” said Funk, guard for Headquarters & Service Company, Communications Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. “I was on guard most of the time, and I only got to go out on patrols once every three days. But Iraq is going to be a lot harder than Afghanistan was. I know, because I watch the news about what’s going on in Iraq.”

Funk said that the main reason Afghanistan wasn’t what he thought it would be is because everyone he talked with built it up to be a hostile environment, but when he arrived there, it was calm.

“The most combat I saw there was rocket attacks, but I never got in a direct firefight,” said the 20-year-old Waterloo, Iowa native. “It was really scary at first, but after a few of them, you just get used to them because they have really bad aim. The closest one was 50 meters away from us. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”

With one deployment under his belt, the 20-year-old said he made the decision to join the Corps after graduating from high school, because he didn’t know exactly what career field he wanted to enter and didn’t want to remain at home.

“I know that after high school I didn’t want to go to school, and I didn’t want to mooch off my parents,” said Funk.

“I decided on the Marine Corps because I wanted to be a tough guy — so I joined to see if I could do it.”

When Funk isn’t deployed, he spends his free time checking out local punk bands on Oahu.
“It’s a chance for me to unwind after work,” said Funk. “It’s nice to get away from work once in awhile.”

Marine earns two awards, trip home from Iraq

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC (Oct. 28, 2005) -- When Marines do an outstanding job, they might hear an ‘Oohrah’ from fellow comrades, but when they go above and beyond the call of duty some receive a lot more than a motivating shout.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/8C48DF279AA3AECF852570A8006CEA18?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAS Beaufort
Story Identification #: 20051028154938
Story by Lance Cpl. Katina J. Johnson

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, SC (Oct. 28, 2005) -- When Marines do an outstanding job, they might hear an ‘Oohrah’ from fellow comrades, but when they go above and beyond the call of duty some receive a lot more than a motivating shout.

For Gunnery Sgt. Joseph A. Dobbins, the assistant Marine Air Traffic Control mobile team leader and ATC crew chief for Marine Air Control Squadron Detachment A, the story is no different.

On Oct. 12, Dobbins received the Kenneth A. Innis Aviation Command and Control Marine of the Year Award at an awards banquet in Reno, Nev. Every year, one Marine from an Aviation Command and Control Unit in the Corps is awarded based on outstanding service.

“The award is a way for the Marine Corps to say thank you,” said 1st Lt. Kapell Eugene, an ATC watch commander aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. “Dobbins is an outstanding Marine and we should be saying thank you to him for all he does for us.”

Dobbins received the award for developing forward arming and refueling points at Forward Operating Base Mudaysis, Iraq and for providing safe and expeditious handling of more than 12,000 military personnel and 1,400 medical evacuations and combat sorties. He also provided extended aviation support for the II Marine Expeditionary Force by establishing a landing area on a section of closed highway in Fallujah, Iraq. The landing area became the initial collection point for wounded personnel during heavy combat operations. His actions were a force multiplier for all coalition forces supporting the war on terror and in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and United States Naval Service, according to the award citation.

“This Marine is the epitome of unselfishness,” said Sgt. Maj. Alexander McBride, the sergeant major for the Air Station. “I am so proud to have him as one of my Marines.”

To receive the award, Dobbins was flown from Iraq to Beaufort and then to the awards ceremony in Reno.

“I was presented the award by the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (General) William L. Nyland,” Dobbins said. “It was quite an honor.”

After the awards presentation in Reno he was flown back to Beaufort so he could return to Iraq. However, before Dobbins could board his return flight on Oct. 19, he was presented with another award from Tri-Command Military Housing, a check for more than $1,000, which was equal to one month’s basic housing allowance.

“We wanted to do something special for him and his family to show how much we appreciated his service,” said Katie Smith, the director of marketing for TCMH. “We don’t want him over there (Iraq) worrying about his family; that’s our job. We hoped this check would be of use so he could do his job over there and not have to worry about how his family was doing over here.”

On Oct. 17, Smith, Vicki Sharp, the director of property management for TCMH and Denise Dominguez, a service accountant for TCMH, presented Dobbins with the check during a ceremony at the Welcome Center aboard Laurel Bay.

“I was so shocked when they gave me the check,” Dobbins said. “I thought I was coming for a letter of appreciation or something. This has been such an outstanding experience, from getting an award in Reno, to receiving the check. I‘m just glad to represent the Marine Corps as best I can.”

Three days after receiving the check, Dobbins departed the Air Station one final time to return to his unit in Iraq.

“This whole experience has been very memorable,” Dobbins said. “When I left Iraq to come here, a lot of people wanted to be my ‘battle buddy.’ In Iraq, you have to have a ‘battle buddy’ wherever you go, so a lot of them volunteered. They were happy a Marine from the unit was being recognized. Overall I’m just honored to serve.”

Sgt. Maj. reflects on 30-years of service

NORFOLK, Va. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- After 30 years of service to the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Clifford L. Milton-Stewart will retire Oct. 31st. Over the years he has seen many changes in the Marine Corps. One contrast between past and present is the level of education Marines obtain before and after joining the Marine Corps.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/65F855F047C7FB24852570A700700888?opendocument


Submitted by: Marine Forces Atlantic
Story Identification #: 20051027162342
Story by Sgt. Chad Swaim

NORFOLK, Va. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- After 30 years of service to the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Clifford L. Milton-Stewart will retire Oct. 31st. Over the years he has seen many changes in the Marine Corps. One contrast between past and present is the level of education Marines obtain before and after joining the Marine Corps.

“When I first came into the Marine Corps we had a lot of non-high school grads. Today over 90 percent of our young men and women who come in are high school grads,” said Milton-Stewart. “They’re smarter. They ask a lot of questions you know; back in those days (70s) a lot of questions weren’t asked.”

His career began during the 70s, right after the Vietnam War. According to Milton-Stewart, it was a time when many members of the Corps had drug habits, and there were race riots as well.

“It’s changed for the best; you don’t see those things anymore,” he added.

Regardless of these early problems, Milton-Stewart is convinced that the Marine Corps is headed in the right direction.

“I think that we are giving our young noncommissioned officers a lot more responsibility than in the past, and I think that has proven that the young NCOs and officers that we have in the Marine Corps have always been ready to step up and do whatever needs to be done,” said Milton-Stewart.

Another change for the Marine Corps is technology. Since technology has advanced, the Corps has to recruit people who are more educated and place them in technologically advanced billets, according to Milton-Stewart, a native of Green Pond, N.C.

Although the Marine Corps has become more modern over the years, Milton-Stewart is insistent that Marines not forget the past and the traditions that have made the Marine Corps what it is today.

“In order to know where we are going in the future, we need to know where we’ve been in the past, and we can’t forget about traditions,” said the 49-year-old sergeant major. “Our traditions the things that we started back in 1775, are still the things that we take pride in.”

Milton-Stewart is also concerned about the attitude of young Marines and their future service to the Marine Corps. He stresses that anyone who joins the Marine Corps has to realize that they’ve got to give 100 percent.

“A lot of young Marines don’t understand that they can’t just look at being a Marine while they’re on duty and feel that when they’re not on duty, they’re not a Marine,” said the 30-year veteran. “You’ve got to give everything that you have, 24-7 to this institution.

However, he believes that Marines should be able to do all of this without taking quality time away from their families.

“It’s a balancing act. It’s no different from having a job in the civilian sector,” said Milton-Stewart. “You’ve got to be able to take care of your family as well as be a Marine.”

During his career, Milton-Stewart has seen many changes in the Marine Corps. Technology, people, equipment: all changing over the years, but he is leaving the Corps with little trepidation for its future.

“I leave the Marine Corps in a few weeks. I leave happy because I know good and well the Corps is still going to be moving forward,” he demanded.

“I’m not worried about the NCOs or staff NCOs that we’ve got. I know they are of the caliber we need to continue on, and I think we’re going to get better everyday."

Sgt. Maj. Milton-Stewart is scheduled to retire Oct. 31st in a ceremony near the MarForLant Headquarters.

Division football team confident, ready

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- When a few Marines with Headquarters Battalion and 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division get off work they don’t put on civilian clothes and go out into town, they dawn a helmet and pads and head off to the gridiron to represent their unit. (2/8 / pics at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/0FF697D292D0C2E0852570A80052D138?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102811435
Story by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- When a few Marines with Headquarters Battalion and 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division get off work they don’t put on civilian clothes and go out into town, they dawn a helmet and pads and head off to the gridiron to represent their unit.

The 2nd Marine Division Intramural Tackle Football Team won their first game against the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade team Oct. 25, 12-6, kicking off their season with a bang.

The division team coach, 1st Lt. Leslie Morrison explained what he thinks is the teams strongest asset.

“We play smash mouth football, and our running game is definitely the strongest point on offense. We have an overall strong defense, but our run defense is probably the best,” Morrison explained.

The team is comprised of mainly players who have had experience in high school and some in college, but the one unique thing about this team, according to Morrison, is their heart.

“The level of play is higher, because we’re not kids anymore. And there’s more team camaraderie. You’re playing football with people you work with everyday,” explained Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael “Doc” Robinson, the team’s quarterback from Enterprise, Ala., who played running back for Enterprise High School until he graduated in 2001.

“We just all enjoy playing football, love the game and want to win and will,” Morrison said with confidence.

The team’s confidence and desire to win will be an important factor in the team’s success this season, which is scheduled to end at the end of January with the start of the play-offs.

The Intramural Football League is divided into two conferences, the Gold Conference and the Scarlet Conference.

The division team is scheduled to play teams within their conference, the Gold Conference, during the regular season, including, in order, 6th Marines on Oct. 31, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base on Nov. 21, New River on Dec. 5, the Brig Company on Jan. 9 and 2nd Maintenance Battalion on Jan. 23.

Morrison is confident that his team will go undefeated this season and reach their ultimate goal of winning the league championship scheduled for Feb. 17, 2006.

“I look forward to winning mainly, but we are setting out to go undefeated and we will. Nobody will beat us,” he explained.

Their confidence is always high and they are players that believe in their team, according to Robinson.

“Our level of confidence never drops. We believe in our team, and that’s how we’re going to play,” Robinson explained.

Intuition propels twins through training

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- "Recruit Wombles times two!" yelled the drill instructor as two heads popped up simultaneously. Acknowledging the call, they both rose to their feet and ran to the front of the barracks.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/518A2DA0BA077A47852570A800543796?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 20051028111952
Story by Pvt. Charlie Chavez

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- "Recruit Wombles times two!" yelled the drill instructor as two heads popped up simultaneously. Acknowledging the call, they both rose to their feet and ran to the front of the barracks.

Cody L. and Kyle D. Wombles grew up in the small town of Pleasant Hill, Ill. Living in a town with less than 1,000 people, the two Company F recruits welcomed the idea of being identical twins in a new, ethnically diverse environment with new experiences.
Said Cody: "The only way our drill instructors can tell us apart is by the ... "

" ... mole on my face," said Kyle, finishing his twin's thought.

They take turns finishing each other's sentences, and they do it frequently.

"Other recruits in the platoon always tells us how lucky we are and how they wish that their brothers could be here training with them," said Kyle.

Taking on the challenge of joining the military was an ambition the twins shared as young boys.

"We decided on the Marines because it looked like it was the hardest," said Kyle as Cody nodded his head in agreement. "Our mother didn't want us to go, but we told her when we turned 18 we were going to join."

"They probably put it mildly," said their mom Cheryl Wombles about their choice.

After the several discussions and heated words that the family shared, she ultimately found herself supporting their decision to join.

"Kyle didn't voice his opinion to want to leave Illinois as much as Cody, but they both want to see different things," said Cheryl.

A year of persuasion helped the twins, who were born on Dec. 17, 1986, to get their mother to sign the parental consent form to allow them to join at 17.

"She signed our papers and we asked our recruiter to get us to go as soon as possible," said Cody.

"But he didn't have any open spots until after the summer," said Kyle.

Putting themselves on the waiting list for open spots, the two did encounter an opening, but for only one of them.

"At first I was ready to take it," said Cody. "Then I realized it wasn't enough time to say goodbye to everyone, so I passed it up."

In early August, the twins finally made it into boot camp as infantrymen.

Having each other to rely on during training has helped them to excel and make it through. In a letter that Cheryl received from Kyle, she believed that he was becoming homesick and needed reassurance

"I told him that he needed to buck up and take it like a man," said Cheryl. "I also told his brother to look out for him, which makes me look hard, but I knew they would be fine."

The twins followed their mother's guidance and did well throughout training.

"They are basically joined at the hip," said Sgt. Jefferson A. Rivas, Platoon 2126, Co. F drill instructor. "Whenever one reports for something, instead of picking them apart they both come up."

Showing their drill instructors that they have no problems getting through training, both recruits averaged about the same score on almost every competitive event.

"Every time we went through the obstacle course, the drill instructors would make us race one another," said Kyle.

"Most of the time we were pretty even, but occasionally I beat my brother," finished Cody.

The twins' kindred mind set made boot camp easier to bear.

"When the drill instructors would count down to get us to do things quickly, other recruits were digging through their stuff to look for what was asked," said Kyle. "My brother and I would be much further ahead of everyone else because without a word my brother would have what I needed or I would have what he needed."

Doing everything alike in a place where conformity is comfortable only helped the twins excel with no problems except for small heckling.

"During chow, the drill instructors would ask the second one of us why we were in line trying to get seconds," said Kyle.

Having completed the first part of their journey in the military, the Wombles twins look forward to the School of Infantry and a chance to see more of the world.

MCRD San Diego's newest Marines graduate Oct. 28

List of New Marines

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/1036CCC25C86AA84852570A80055371B?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 20051028113046
Story by - MCRD San Diego, Public Affairs

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- These are America's newest Marines and their leaders at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Company F graduates 489 men today:

SECOND RECRUIT TRAINING BATTALION
Commanding Officer
Lt. Col. V. A. Ary
Chaplain
Lt. Cmdr. E. S. Pease
Sergeant Major
Sgt. Maj. T. T. Hoskins
Drill Master
Gunnery Sgt. P. A. Duncan

Company F
Commanding Officer
Capt. A. Smith
First Sergeant
1st Sgt. J. Hidalgo
Corpsman
Petty Officer 3rd Class O. M. Santos

Series 2121
Series Commander
Capt. J. P. Voorhees
Series Gunnery Sergeant
Gunnery Sgt. J. L. Kappen

Series 2125
Series Commander
Capt. S. T. Jones
Series Gunnery Sergeant
Staff Sgt. D. R. Neel

PLATOON 2121
Senior Drill Instructor
Sgt. A. C. Bueno
Drill Instructors
Sgt. J. A. Espinoza
Sgt. W. W. Davis

Pvt. R. M. Abeyta
Pfc. B. A. Aguilar
Pfc. T. Aldape
*Pfc. S. Alonzo
Pfc. A. Alvarez
Pvt. S. Anderson
Pvt. B. C. Aviles
*Pfc. R. P. Barnes
Pfc. I. Barrera
Pvt. C. A. Baumeister
Pfc. P. J. Beaubien
Pfc. D. R. Bible
Pvt. K. W. Bodkins
Pfc. J. J. Bodnovits
Pvt. D. M. Bowman Jr.
*Pfc. W. R. Bradley
Pvt. M. R. Bradshaw
Pvt. J. D. Breaux
Pfc. R. B. Brown III
Pvt. K. G. Buckmaster
*Pfc. R. P. Burton
Pfc. J. R. Castillo
Pfc. E. M. Cheney
Pvt. N. P. Christian
Pfc. D. R. Clay
Pvt. B. M. Cox
Pvt. D. W. Crise
Pvt. J. Cristerna
Pvt. A. C. Crockett
Pvt. D. M. Dake
Pvt. K. M. Delfin
Pvt. R. M. Dillon
Pvt. T. B. Dixon
Pvt. B. P. Dougherty
Pfc. D. J. Enloe
Pfc. D. G. Ferguson
Pvt. T. O. Fierova
Pvt. F. Finau
Pfc. M. A. Fraire III
Pfc. M. D. Friedman
Pfc. C. Gant
Pvt. K. D. Garber
Pvt. J. J. Garchow
Pvt. D. E. Garcia
Pvt. A. S. Gauthier
*Pfc. A. P. Gilbert
Pfc. E. I. Gonzalez
Pvt. C. L. Hadden
Pfc. J. D. Haines
Pvt. D. G. Hensler
Pvt. C. S. Herbert
Pvt. W. A. Holden
Pvt. A. D. Holloway II
Pvt. J. M. Holt
Pvt. A. J. Horton
Pvt. C. M. Huffman
Pvt. P. M. Iams
Pfc. D. L. Iglehart
Pvt. M. C. Ingalls
Pfc. J. Jaimes Jr.
Pvt. E. W. Jenn
Pvt. H. A. Jensen
Pvt. J. J. Johnson
Pfc. C. D. King
Pvt. S. Lee
Pfc. G. B. Lentsch
Pfc. T. N. Lobb
Pvt. R. A. Magby
Pvt. C. L. Marek
Pvt. D. R. Martinez
Pvt. C. P. Masdonati
Pvt. C. A. Masters
Pvt. M. V. McDonald
Pfc. J. E. Meyers
Pvt. A. G. Ruiz
Pvt. J. E. Stanberry
Pvt. S. E. Sterling
Pvt. A. Terrazas
Pfc. V. C. Vega
Pvt. A. D. Williamson

PLATOON 2122
Senior Drill Instructor
Sgt. R. W. Cardon
Drill Instructors
Sgt. J. E. Baker
Sgt. J. Mondloch

Pfc. O. R. Aragon
Pfc. C. J. Audleman
Pfc. D. S. Bahrenburg
Pvt. D. B. Baldridge
*Pfc. K. R. Bantz
Pvt. D. R. Barnes
Pfc. J. M. Barrett
Pvt. M. A. Bartosh
Pvt. S. Bektasevic
*Pfc. J. D. Bell
Pvt. F. A. Bellavia
Pvt. A. R. Bernal
Pfc. C. R. Bigelow
Pfc. R. A. Black
Pvt. K. P. Bloomfield
Pvt. D. J. Borden
Pvt. J. G. Boyer
Pvt. D. T. Brunner
Pvt. D. J. Buchheit
Pvt. J. D. Buxkemper
*Pfc. B. L. Carpenter
Pvt. C. Chavez Jr.
Pvt. V. R. Compton
Pvt. A. T. Conly
Pvt. B. J. Craddock
Pvt. S. T. Crum
*Pfc. R. A. Cutler
Pvt. C. A. Davis
Pvt. C. Delossantos
Pvt. D. L. Demars
Pvt. J. J. Dinsmore
Pfc. P. W. Doerr
Pvt. W. G. Dolmer
Pfc. C. J. Duty
Pvt. E. M. Ellis
*Pfc. J. W. Entenman
Pvt. K. J. Erickson
Pvt. J. T. Flowers
Pvt. R. J. Fulgham
Pvt. A. E. Garcia
Pvt. J. M. Genin
Pvt. L. N. Glaze
Pvt. J. J. Green
Pvt. J. M. Green
Pvt. O. Gutierrez
Pvt. J. W. Harden
Pfc. J. M. Harris
Pfc. R. P. Hehir
Pfc. G. Hernandezrangel
Pfc. J. D. Hess
Pvt. M. D. Hoag
Pvt. T. C. Hotema
*Pfc. J. L. Howton
Pvt. N. R. Huisman
Pvt. D. A. Jaramillo
Pvt. M. C. Jasper
Pvt. B. T. Jeffers
Pvt. A. L. Johnson
Pvt. N. J. Juncer
Pfc. K. C. Kasher
Pvt. N. A. Knight
Pfc. E. W. Koester
Pvt. M. T. Konczal
Pvt. R. L. Lamb
Pfc. J. R. Lange
Pvt. S. A. Legaard
Pvt. K. R. Lopez
Pfc. I. A. Markert
Pvt. A. W. Martinson
Pfc. D. A. Mendezvilla
Pvt. C. J. Miller
Pvt. R. K. Miller
Pvt. R. R. Milliken
Pfc. D. Ordunez
Pvt. P. P. Peralez
Pvt. J. A. Ramsey
Pvt. S. E. Rountree
Pvt. J. A. Smith
Pfc. N. J. Sullivan
Pvt. J. D. Vincent
Pvt. K. K. Wendt

PLATOON 2123
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. J. J. Fuentes
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. A. J. Hawkins
Staff Sgt. W. R. Hill

Pvt. I. A. Alvaradoaguilar
Pvt. P. G. Anacta
Pvt. J. P. Anderson
*Pfc. J. Anrubio
Pvt. S. A. Araiza
Pfc. M. J. Asay
Pvt. A. Barcenas
Pvt. D. M. Baublit
Pvt. A. J. Bayle
Pfc. P. T. Birley
Pfc. J. D. Bischoff
Pvt. A. J. Burgett
Pvt. B. J. Buys
Pvt. U. Campa
Pfc. A. J. Castanon
Pvt. L. A. Castillo Jr.
Pvt. J. M. Castilloravell
Pvt. C. D. Charpilloz
Pvt. D. Q. Chu
Pvt. K. E. Clark
Pfc. J. D. Cranfill
Pvt. B. A. Daniels
Pfc. E. J. Diaz
Pvt. A. D. Do
Pvt. A. P. Dow
Pvt. V. D. Dydasco
Pvt. J. A. Ellman
Pvt. A. D. Engelking
*Pfc. D. R. Eslinger
Pvt. M. A. Falcon Jr.
Pvt. D. J. Faull II
Pvt. D. J. Favre
Pfc. C. D. Franklin
Pvt. B. M. Gabriel
Pvt. E. S. Galicia
Pvt. A. M. Garrett
Pvt. B. R. Gilbert
Pvt. R. M. Grabau
Pvt. J. A. Greidanus
*Pfc. B. W. Grzyb
*Pfc. M. A. Guerrero
Pvt. T. L. Haynes
Pvt. J. P. Hinds
Pvt. J. M. Hodges
Pvt. J. M. Horishnyk
*Pfc. C. J. Huinker
Pvt. J. L. Inmon
Pvt. K. A. Jacobs
Pfc. C. W. Jensen
Pvt. F. A. Jimenez
Pvt. J. G. Kasparek
Pfc. A. C. Kilcup
Pvt. D. E. Kimballpope
Pvt. R. M. Knox
Pfc. C. D. Krumrei
Pvt. J. J. Larson
Pvt. S. R. Lawson
Pvt. M. C. Leabo
Pvt. C. J. Little
Pvt. R. Lopez Jr.
Pfc. T. L. Manchester
Pfc. M. J. Martinez
Pvt. S. Martinez
Pfc. G. Maturino
Pvt. C. R. Mayen
Pvt. J. L. McClung
Pvt. R. H. Miller
Pvt. M. H. Montgomery
Pvt. Y. D. Moreno
Pvt. A. J. Morris
Pfc. M. L. Neal
Pfc. E. V. Ochoa
Pvt. J. W. Padron
*Pfc. J. P. Pakes
Pvt. S. A. Pallares
Pfc. B. V. Paul
Pvt. B. D. Pearson
Pfc. R. M. Peralta
Pvt. J. N. Pesha
Pvt. M. V. Prunk
Pfc. G. A. Reinhardt
Pvt. M. G. Rodgers
Pfc. V. R. Varela

PLATOON 2125
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. J. B. Noel
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. P. A. Valdez
Staff Sgt. P. D. Livingston

*Pfc. S. A. Aguilar
Pvt. T. R. Alcoser Jr.
Pfc. L. A. Alfaro
Pvt. D. Anderson
Pfc. E. Antunez
Pvt. J. R. Arrastio
Pvt. C. A. Arroyo
Pvt. D. M. Bell
Pfc. J. M. Beverly
Pfc. J. J. Buda
Pfc. F. Carrillo Jr.
Pfc. J. D. Caruso
Pvt. C. D. Castillo
*Pfc. J. Cerda
Pvt. M. S. Chen
Pvt. T. J. Christensen
Pvt. M. G. Clark
Pvt. P. K. Coleyamaguchi
Pfc. M. A. Crall
Pfc. P. J. Denison
Pfc. J. R. Dunn
Pvt. E. L. Ehly
Pvt. S. B. Febre
Pvt. R. Garcia Jr.
*Pfc. B. R. Gash
Pfc. T. E. Gillham
Pfc. J. Gonzalez Jr.
Pvt. J. A. Goss
Pvt. D. S. Grandbois
Pvt. M. M. Griffin
Pvt. R. A. Grijaiva
Pvt. D. T. Hagan
Pvt. J. G. Hansen
Pvt. B. J. Henton
Pfc. P. J. Hergert
Pvt. G. C. Hoglen IV
Pvt. T. M. Holland
Pvt. T. J. Huneycutt
*Pfc. B. M. Hunter
Pfc. K. A. Jenness
Pvt. N. P. Jolly
PFC. S. S. Koehler
Pvt. J. A. Koontz
Pvt. B. S. Kyle
Pfc. T. D. Latcher
Pvt. S. M. Lohrey
Pfc. O. Maciasmacias
Pfc. J. R. Magurn
Pvt. N. A. Mather
*Pfc. J. C. Mckay
Pvt. J. A. Medaris
Pvt. I. A. Monson
Pvt. J. R. Morris
Pvt. P. Munatonez
Pvt. P. Munatonez
Pvt. E. M. Music
Pvt. G. Nacpil
Pfc. J. D. Nichols
Pvt. W. G. Nobles
Pvt. T. D. O'Brien Jr.
Pvt. K. D. Oliver
Pfc. N. C. Olson
Pvt. N. Ortiz Jr.
Pvt. Z. R. Patzer
Pvt. T. J. Perry
Pvt. J. D. Phelps
Pvt. D. S. Phillips
Pfc. V. Polancolazaro
Pvt. B. R. Poole
Pvt. J. J. Portillo
Pfc. D. R. Quinonez
Pfc. R. T. Ramirez
Pfc. M. J. Randoll
Pvt. B. W. Rhoads
Pvt. A. J. Ribic
Pfc. B. A. Robinson
Pfc. T. A. Rokov
Pvt. J. P. Smethurst
Pfc. G. Vasquez
Pvt. S. D. Zacarias

PLATOON 2126
Senior Drill Instructor
Sgt. J. A. Rivas
Drill Instructors
Sgt. S. P. Engs
Staff Sgt. E. Khanthasa

Pfc. M. Abdouch
Pvt. C. M. Anderson
Pfc. D. M. Barbadillo
Pfc. J. A. Canales
Pvt. D. L. Clifton
Pfc. J. R. Dennis
Pvt. K. K. Dorethy
Pvt. G. W. Dosmann Jr.
Pfc. N. Z. Duarosan Jr.
Pvt. J. E. Ewing
Pvt. S. O. Faris
Pvt. R. F. Highet
Pvt. J. O. Leonard
Pvt. T. A. Lewis Jr.
Pvt. J. D. Lopez
Pvt. G. Lozolla
Pvt. A. Martell Jr.
Pvt. R. C. Oliva Jr.
Pvt. B. M. Paulick
*Pfc. M. J. Perez
Pvt. M. C. Ramey
Pvt. R. E. Ramos
Pfc. R. J. Randolph
Pvt. K. I. Redmond
*Pfc. C. D. Reinwand
Pfc. J. A. Rendero
Pfc. S. V. Rolon
Pvt. D. L. Romo
Pvt. D. Rosas
Pvt. A. R. Sanchez
Pvt. S. Sanchez
Pvt. J. S. Shanks
Pvt. T. A. Shields
Pfc. M. J. Skala
Pvt. S. A. Slay
Pvt. J. W. Smith
*Pfc. T. R. Smith
Pvt. D. R. Song
Pfc. A. T. Spaise
Pfc. T. E. Squire III
Pvt. C. T. Stechman
Pfc. B. E. Stowers
Pfc. M. J. Strickler
Pvt. A. M. Stupfel
Pvt. J. E. Tadej
Pvt. J. A. Taylor
Pvt. T. E. Taylor
Pvt. J. R. Tenorio
Pvt. R. Thomas Jr.
Pvt. E. C. Thomas
Pvt. K. A. Tittman
Pvt. N. A. Toon
*Pfc. A. R. Tritt
Pfc. R. B. Turrieta
Pvt. C. C. Vadnais
Pvt. M. A. Vasquez
Pvt. M. B. Vegas
Pfc. A. Velasquez
Pfc. D. J. Villicano
Pvt. K. D. Wagner
Pvt. D. A. Walker
Pvt. R. L. Walker
Pvt. B. W. Warloe
Pvt. N. L. Warner
Pvt. K. S. Warren
Pvt. R. K. Weaver II
Pvt. T. L. Weaver
Pfc. J. T. Webb
Pvt. T. J. Weiss
Pvt. D. R. White Jr.
Pvt. J. L. White
Pvt. D. R. Williams
Pvt. L. A. Williams
Pfc. A. M. Wisenbaugh
Pvt. C. L. Wombles
Pvt. K. D. Wombles
Pfc. D. A. Wyatt
Pvt. N. A. Xavier
Pvt. J. A. Zalce
Pvt. M. Zamora
Pfc. M. A. Zapata
*Pfc. M. H. Ziemke

PLATOON 2127
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. D. M. Lowery
Drill Instructors
Sgt. R. D. Fraser
Staff Sgt. K. R. Warren

Pfc. D. A. Barrios
Pvt. J. M. Christianson
Pvt. W. K. Cushenberry
Pvt. J. R. Jones
Pvt. R. C. Logan
Pvt. D. B. McEachern
*Pfc. N. J. Mease
Pvt. S. C. Melgar
Pvt. M. F. Metten
Pvt. D. M. Miller
Pvt. J. M. Miller
Pvt. D. J. Miner
Pvt. D. D. Minker
Pvt. B. S. Monigold
Pvt. M. R. Montgomery
Pfc. M. A. Moore II
Pfc. H. H. Morales
Pfc. J. W. Morgan
Pvt. P. J. Morrow
Pfc. L. G. Muschamp
Pvt. K. W. Nesbitt III
Pvt. T. M. Nguyen
Pfc. G. L. Nickels
Pvt. M. T. Old
Pfc. C. R. Orozco
Pfc. F. A. Patillo
Pvt. B. J. Patrick
Pfc. A. Paz
Pfc. H. E. Perez Jr.
Pfc. J. R. Perez
Pfc. J. H. Peyton
Pvt. J. G. Pineda
Pvt. S. K. Pippett
Pvt. M. A. Ramirez
Pvt. B. W. Reynolds
Pvt. C. S. Richards
Pfc. D. E. Risko
Pvt. J. S. Ristow
Pvt. D. J. Rodriguez
Pvt. I. Rojas
Pfc. A. A. Romerozamora
Pvt. M. A. Ruiz
Pfc. R. F. Salazar Jr.
Pfc. R. Salazar
*Pfc. D. J. Salmela
Pvt. E. Saucedapuentes
Pvt. K. J. Schneider
Pvt. N. M. Serrano
Pvt. B. D. Shackelford
Pvt. D. H. Shropshire
*Pfc. J. Sierra
Pfc. M. E. Smith
Pvt. R. Z. Smith
Pvt. T. H. Soptich
Pvt. A. D. Sprauer
Pfc. T. J. Staggs
Pvt. P. M. Stehno
Pvt. N. R. Stevens
Pfc. J. E. Stivers
Pvt. J. V. Stoker
Pvt. C. C. Stroud
Pvt. R. A. Sturgill
Pvt. J. P. Takahashi
Pfc. A. C. Taylor
Pvt. K. N. Taylor
Pvt. T. S. Thornbro
Pvt. V. D. Topolski
Pvt. M. J. Trejo
Pvt. T. J. Vaile
Pvt. B. A. Venhuizen
Pfc. S. N. Vergara
Pfc. N. C. Wardle
Pvt. C. J. Watson
Pvt. D. W. Watson
Pvt. C. W. Webb
Pfc. J. S. Weems
Pvt. J. T. Williams
*Pfc. M. W. Wilson
Pvt. J. M. Wittmaack
Pfc. Z. Z. Zavodny
*Pfc. J. Zequeida
Pvt. R. F. Zuidema
Pvt. J. C. Zwetzig

*Meritorious promotion

“Doc Bibi” recognized as Sailor of the Quarter

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Side by side on the battlefield, in a desert camouflage utility uniform, Marines know they can count on the person on their left or right to protect them, provide moral support and look over them. This person is courageous, dependable and competent in his or her duties, especially when that person is a corpsman. You can look to your corpsman in times of need as a Marine’s personal guardian angel.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/828CE8E40F1FDCEC852570A800556C26?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102811332
Story by Pfc. Terrell A. Turner

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Side by side on the battlefield, in a desert camouflage utility uniform, Marines know they can count on the person on their left or right to protect them, provide moral support and look over them. This person is courageous, dependable and competent in his or her duties, especially when that person is a corpsman. You can look to your corpsman in times of need as a Marine’s personal guardian angel.

Hospitalman Jonatha "Doc Bibi" Bibriesca Ramirez of Pomona, Calif., was distinguished as the Junior Sailor of the Quarter with the 2nd Marine Division Nov. 24 for outstanding performance while serving in Iraq.

“I’m proud of myself and my unit,” Doc Bibi said. “We all work very hard.”

While deployed to Iraq from March to October, Doc Bibi was in charge of supplies for the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion’s aid station. He put together medical supplies for their deployment and made sure they kept an ample amount of essentials.

While attached to Division Motor Transportation, the 20-year-old performed convoys as well as provided medical attention to anyone when in need.

Doc Bibi, a 2003 graduate of Mount Clair High School, enjoyed playing soccer while he was in school. After graduation he traded in his soccer ball for a field medical bag to help fight the Global War on Terrorism.

“The sailors that deployed with me helped a lot,” Doc Bibi said. “They all deserve recognition.”

Whether it’s providing medical attention to a wounded Marine or just being there for peace of mind, you can always count on a Corpsman to be your guardian angel, according to Doc Bibi.

Fifth SMMC to celebrate Corps birthday here

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The fifth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps will review the depot's ceremonies celebrating the Corps' 230th birthday at Shepherd Memorial Drill Field Nov. 9.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/E53CC22EC2FF3131852570A800592CAB?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 2005102812141
Story by Lance Cpl. Dorian Gardner

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The fifth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps will review the depot's ceremonies celebrating the Corps' 230th birthday at Shepherd Memorial Drill Field Nov. 9.

Retired Sgt. Maj. Joseph W. Dailey will be honored at a cake cutting and uniform pageant where organizers expect more than 5,000 Marines, recruits, sailors and civilians to attend.

The ceremony will begin with the traditional reading of Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune's birthday message written in 1921, as well as birthday messages from the Commandant of the Marine Corps and commanding general of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Brig. Gen. John M. Paxton Jr.

Following the messages, individual Marines and a sailor will march onto the field in uniforms from periods spanning Marine Corps history.

Dailey enlisted in the Marine Corps and underwent recruit training in 1941 aboard the depot. Soon after, Dailey was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton where he served with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division in World War II island-hopping combat. Dailey served with the same division during fighting in the Korean War.

He was promoted to sergeant major in December 1955, and immediately reported to Houston where he was assigned duty as sergeant major of Inspector-Instructor Staff, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, serving in that capacity until July 1962.

After serving in various billets and detachments throughout the Marine Corps, Dailey became the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Aug. 1, 1969 and served as such until his retirement in Jan. 1973.

His personal decorations include the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V", the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V", the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Jacksonville community goes 'all-in' on New River poker night

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- “All-in!”

Excitement builds as a steely-eyed Marine pushes all of his hard-earned chips towards the center of the table. His tournament life at stake, he’s willing to lose it all on the chance that his two cards are best.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/4A45FE4778CD8B1A852570A8005F1D49?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAS New River
Story Identification #: 20051028131854
Story by Pfc. Samuel D. White

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- “All-in!”

Excitement builds as a steely-eyed Marine pushes all of his hard-earned chips towards the center of the table. His tournament life at stake, he’s willing to lose it all on the chance that his two cards are best.

With a stone-cold face he stares down weak-willed opponents who fold their cards one after another.

Thinking he’s about to take it all, he shows his first sign of weakness: an eager look flashes in his eyes. His mistake is easily noticed by the last man standing who quickly snaps, “I call.” Wide-eyed and eager, the other four players start counting each of the players’ stacks to determine the total amount of dough on hand.

The room collectively leans back on the hind legs of their chairs to get a better look, curious at the commotion.

Ready to seal their fates, the two contenders slam their cards face up for all to see, neither of them prepared for the outcome.

No matter what cards show their faces this is a scene that is all too familiar to most Texas Hold ‘Em players.

A scene that was acted out here several times by players from all over the area at the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Club Friday, Oct. 21.

“Ever since we started poker night, the response has been very good,” said Staff Sgt. Craig J. Alley, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting section leader. “(Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune) has had several poker nights, but their turnouts can’t even compete with ours.”

Poker night at the SNCO club was started in April 2004 and has sparked an overwhelming amount of support from the community ever since.

“Normally we’ll have between 75 and 80 people show up,” said Alley. “One time we had a month where we sold 100 tickets and had 20 people on a waiting list hoping to get a seat on the floor, so you never know how many players you might get.”

Texas Hold ‘Em, the host game to poker night, is a type of poker where a player receives two cards and tries to make the best possible hand out of his cards and the five placed in the center of the table for everyone’s use.

The players bet money, or chips, on their cards depending on the strength of their hand. In the end, the player with the best hand wins all the chips that were bet.

It’s a game that has taken off in television and movies and has quickly turned from a leisure pastime to a professional sport.

“Texas Hold ‘Em is a huge thing now,” Alley explained. “It’s on a lot of (TV) stations like (Entertainment) and ESPN. Around here you’ll even see a lot of people wearing sunglasses and headphones trying to imitate the people they watch on TV.”

The different style of play and diversity in the number of people is one of the best experiences of poker night, said Alley.

“You meet people from all over the place,” he added. “You’ve got civilians from out in town, civilians that work on base, Marines, wives; you’ve got everything from sergeants major down to (privates first class) playing.”

Stephen Powers, a retired master gunnery sergeant with 28 years experience in the Corps, said that the people who play are a big factor to the reason he continues to come to poker night.

“The other players are usually very sociable and considerate,” said Powers. “A majority of the time it isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about having a good time, so you’ll rarely see anyone get upset and ruin the game for everyone else.”

Such was the case for Lance Cpl. Michael Nelson, an air traffic control clerk and the first person eliminated from the October tournament.

“I had pocket kings, went all-in and got called by another guy who had a queen and a ten,” said Nelson. “He ended up catching both a queen and a ten to make two pair, but I still had a good time coming out here.”

The only complaint the staff club representatives have received about poker night is the fact that it only happens once a month, said Alley.

“I personally would like to see it happen two to three times a month,” said Powers. “Normally I leave the state to (play cards) so it’s nice to be able to drive a short distance once a month and play closer to home.”

The first hand of poker night at the SNCO club is dealt at 6:30 p.m. and takes place on the third Friday of every month. The entry fee is $20 and prizes are awarded to those who come in first through fifth place. Although no one will argue that it isn’t a friendly atmosphere, everyone is playing for that big payoff.

“Poker is a sixth sense,” said Staff Sgt. Andrew C. Wickenden, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron squadron gunnery sergeant and winner of the October tournament. “It takes a lot of determination and a lot of luck, but it also takes a lot of intuition; a gut feeling and I’m just glad the (SNCO) club gives us an opportunity to test those senses.”

AIRSpeed program helps MALS-29 conduct business

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The Marines of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron-29 are getting a series of in-depth courses to help reduce the cost of repairing aircraft components while increasing throughput in their production process. The net effect will be increased readiness. (2nd MAW)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/E3A64B805A8D3375852570A8005E812B?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAS New River
Story Identification #: 20051028131214
Story by Lance Cpl. Jonathan A. Tabb

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The Marines of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron-29 are getting a series of in-depth courses to help reduce the cost of repairing aircraft components while increasing throughput in their production process. The net effect will be increased readiness.

According to Maj. Daniel Granado, Commander, Naval Air Forces AIRSpeed Officer, AIRSpeed is Naval Aviation Readiness Integrated Improvement Program’s architecture for improving cost-wise readiness throughout the Navy and Marine Corps aviation enterprise.

He complemented the outstanding support that he and his team have received from LtCol. Matthew Bonnot, MALS-29 Commanding Officer, and the Marines under his command.

"The projected outcome of the Design Implementation Phase of the AIRSpeed program is for the site to have a ready to deploy AIRSpeed design for wave-one work centers," Granado explained. "We're teaching the Marines of MALS-29 what we know about the AIRSpeed tools of Theory of Constraints, Lean, and Six-Sigma so that their Site Core Team and Design Team members can design, and deploy additional work centers in the future," he said.

While MALS-29 began its Design Phase on Oct. 3, the AIRSpeed program itself began designing other intermediate maintenance and supply activities during the summer of 2004, Granado said.

"We should be finished with all shore based, intermediate maintenance and supply, wave one designs throughout the Navy and Marine Corps sometime in 2007," he explained. "And we're scheduled to be finished with MALS-29’s wave-one design in mid-December."

"People always want to point fingers and this is an opportunity for them to take action," said Laurin P. Eck, AIRSpeed implementation contractor lead and retired Marine colonel.

"We will conclude the Design Phase for wave-one work centers with a final out-brief currently scheduled for December 16," said Granado. "We’ll walk away knowing that the Marines of MALS 29 have the necessary skills to sustain their AIRSpeed program with reach back capability to the Program Core.”


H&HS; Motorcycle Club rides for safety

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Nine members of the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron motorcycle club participated in a ride to Fort Macon State Park Oct. 21 to raise awareness about safety.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/7C0826FC20BE3924852570A8005EC4F1?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAS New River
Story Identification #: 2005102813158
Story by Lance Cpl. Brandon M. Gale

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Nine members of the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron motorcycle club participated in a ride to Fort Macon State Park Oct. 21 to raise awareness about safety.

According to Gunnery Sgt. Jacquelyn D. Somers, H&HS; career planner, the club meets once a month to ride as a group and discuss issues that affect motorcycle riders on and off base.

“The club began after safety representatives from Headquarters, Marine Corps stated that we needed some type of training within our units to help people understand the responsibilities that come with riding,” she said. “The club gives riders hands-on experience and makes the safety message more interesting.”

Riding experience among club members ranges from several years to only a few months, but anyone can benefit from attending the safety briefs and group rides, she added.

“I learn new things every time I ride,” said Staff Sgt. Shawn Ballew, Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting section leader. “Many of the mistakes I see young riders make are the result of a lack of experience.”

A big draw for the riders is the chance to ride as part of a group, which increases the
overall safety and enjoyment of riding.

“Riding with a group makes the bikes easier to see,” said Ballew. “We become more visible to the people in the cars around us.”

Somers said many accidents involving motorcycles are not the fault of riders themselves, but of the drivers in cars who are unaware of the riders around them.

“That’s something we hit on quite often in our briefs before we ride,” she said. “Making sure we are aware of what’s going on around us increases our chances of having a safe ride.”

Before beginning the ride to Fort Macon, members of the club discussed what might happen if Marines continue to be injured or killed in motorcycle accidents. One possibility being considered by commanders is the total termination of all motorcycle operations aboard instillations.

“I think they were startled enough by the message to be more concerned with preventing accidents and getting the safety message out,” said Somers. “No one wants to lose their riding privileges.”

The trip to Fort Macon was another success for the club, which is open to riders, including civilians, from other units, she said.

“We had a good time. The weather was wonderful and everyone followed directions. We had a lot of experienced riders this time”

The riders were thankful for the opportunity to get away from their jobs for an afternoon and do something they enjoy, and for the opportunity to learn new things.

“It’s good the Marine Corps wants to allow things like this as a way to protect everyone and prevent accidents,” said Staff Sgt. Eric J. Rockwell, Marine Aircraft Group-29 career planner. “There is always something you can learn from more experienced
riders.”


Postal service to release exclusive USMC stamps

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- In honor of the 230th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps, the U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to release the U.S. Marine Corps Heritage Collection of four distinguished Corps postage stamps.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/08238311F5FBFF89852570A80056FB20?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 2005102811503
Story by Pfc. Kaitlyn M. Scarboro

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- In honor of the 230th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps, the U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to release the U.S. Marine Corps Heritage Collection of four distinguished Corps postage stamps.

The Distinguished Marine Stamps honor four of the most reputable Marine Corps war heroes including Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, Sgt. Maj. Daniel J. Daly, Lt. Gen. John A. Lejuene and Lt. Gen. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller.

Purchase of the stamps will be available exclusively on Marine Corps installations Nov. 10 at $7.40 for a book of 20 stamps. Other post offices will begin sale of the stamps on Nov. 11.

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., are scheduled to host the unveiling ceremonies Nov. 10. Brig. Gen. Michael Lehnert, Commanding General Marine Corps Installations West, is scheduled to speak at the West Coast event.

Each of the stamps features a picture of the respective Marine Corps hero and the military insignia of the unit with which he is most identified.

Basilone, also known as "Manila John," fought on Guadalcanal with the 1st Marine Division in 1942 and received the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

Daly is one of only two Marines in history to receive the Medal of Honor twice for separate acts of heroism.

Lt. Gen. Lejuene was the first Marine to command an Army Division and later became the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Lt. Gen. Puller was a battalion and regimental commander with 1st Marine Division during World War II and the Korean War, and he earned five Navy Crosses.

The commemorative stamps will be printed only once and will be available for one year after being issued, according to USPS officials.

The Marine Corps specially produced two postmarks of the 1st Marine Division Fleet Marine Force unit insignia and the Camp Pendleton base insignia for the stamps. The postmarks are specific to Camp Pendleton and will only be available there and Washington, D.C.

"The special postmarks will be available on base for 30 days after the event and never again," said Mike Cannone, a USPS public affairs representative.

Also available for purchase is a U.S. Marine Corps silver dollar with a memorial of the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima on one side and the Corp's emblem on the other side.

"We are honored to be the first military service to receive a commemorative coin issued by the United States Mint. And we are particularly pleased that proceeds from this coin will help build the Marine Corps National Museum in Quantico (Va.)," said Marine Corps Assistant Commandant, Gen. William L. Nyland.

San Diego Hats meet: Past and present DI's gather aboard depot for first West Coast drill instructor reunion

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- More than 200 former San Diego drill instructors and guests visited the depot Oct. 20-22 for the first West Coast drill instructor reunion.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/76B58E3B79C0333C852570A80059A8CF?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 20051028121919
Story by Lance Cpl. Dorian Gardner

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- More than 200 former San Diego drill instructors and guests visited the depot Oct. 20-22 for the first West Coast drill instructor reunion.

With annual depot events like the Turkey Trot and the Boot Camp Challenge, some Marines here were anxious to hold an event for some of the depot's most recognizable personnel: the drill instructors.

"We had a lot of people asking about doing a depot drill instructor event," said Sgt. Maj. Terry T. Hoskins, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion sergeant major and event coordinator. "The depot sergeant major asked me to organize an event that we could continue annually."

One-hundred-twelve retired drill instructors and more than 150 active duty drill instructors came together to share ideas about their craft, past and present. To one former drill instructor, almost everything was the same.

"They come from the same mold," said retired Sgt. Maj. Gary Truscott, former drill instructor. "They still wear their covers too low and lean back too far when they march."

Some of the drill instructors found that things had changed since they joined the drill field.

"It was pretty cool to know how it actually was back when they were drill instructors," said Staff Sgt. Darrick M. Lowery, a 2nd Bn. senior drill instructor. "Some of them were telling me how things were different back then. One (retired) drill instructor noticed that a drill instructor took off his cover while his recruits were in a classroom. They didn't do that back then. He said they didn't want the recruits to think they were on the same level."

Shortly after, drill instructors observed a graduation as Company C marched across Shepherd Field. A few of the old-school drill instructors shot the breeze with the new-school hats, while others just absorbed the familiar aura of the trenches.

"It's like a home," said retired Sgt. Maj. John Clampitt, who is one of the original "Dirty Dozen," which formatted one of the original close-combat training programs for recruits in the 1960s. Clampitt worked with 2nd Bn. from 1961 to 1962 and 3rd Bn. from 1966 to 1969.

"They are doing a great job," said Clampitt. "It is evident by the troops in Iraq that these drill instructors are training good Marines."

After chow, drill instructors moved to the Drill Instructor Monument for a memorial service to honor fallen drill instructors and corpsmen.

A formation was held for seven retired drill instructors who passed in the last two years. Marines dedicated a wreath to their comrades and read words written by Marines and recruits.

"In honor of those drill instructors and corpsmen who are unnamed but not unknown nor forgotten by us, we present this wreath," read Sgt. Herb Johnson, Special Training Company drill instructor. "It is placed as a symbol to their sacrifice. The lives they willingly laid down allowed many others to rise up in freedom."

The ceremony ended with a rifle volley before a social drill instructor call at the Bay View restaurant where the men recognized outstanding drill instructors and paid tribute to the late Sgt. Maj. Leland D. "Crow" Crawford. Crow, as his friends called him, was a drill instructor and the ninth Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. His widow Faye Crawford and several former Marines, including familiar depot personality retired Sgt. Maj. Bill Paxton, spoke on his behalf. The Marines broke bread together afterward.

"The bottom line is that there was a shared vision for us, (and we) wanted to show our appreciation for all drill instructors - past, present and future - and to allow an opportunity to renew old friendships and make new friends," said Sgt. Maj. Frank E. Pulley, depot and Western Recruiting Region sergeant major. "Our commanding general encouraged and approved the event, and the turnout was great. We were humbled and honored to have so many drill instructors and families back to the depot."

Cleveland native killed in Iraq

CLEVELAND - An Ohio Marine in his third tour of duty in Iraq died Thursday from injuries sustained in an explosion, the military said Friday.

http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/13026391.htm

Associated Press


CLEVELAND - An Ohio Marine in his third tour of duty in Iraq died Thursday from injuries sustained in an explosion, the military said Friday.

Before he left Sept. 18, Lance Cpl. Robert F. Eckfield Jr. of Cleveland asked his mother to bury him at Arlington National Cemetery.

"He was scared about going back," Virginia Taylor told The Plain Dealer. "He said he knew he would not return. That's when he made me promise to have him buried in Arlington if the worst happened."

Eckfield, 23, and Lance Cpl. Jared J. Kremm, 24, of Hauppauge, N.Y., died from an explosion in Saqlawiyah, Iraq, the military said.

"They said he was killed when something, a shell or something, went through the building he was in," Taylor said.

Kremm died at the scene while Eckfield died at a nearby medical center, according to the Defense Department.

Both were assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Taylor said her son joined the Marines after graduating from high school.

"Right from the start, he wanted to do his duty," his mother said. "He went right into boot camp after graduation. I understood it. My father was a Marine, but he died in 2000. They talked about the military service."

ATC Marine leads the way

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- “Every Marine is a rifleman.”
Staff Sgt. Michael A. Knowlton, Air Traffic Control, Crew “B,” crew officer, learned the true meaning of this essential Marine Corps adage while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II from December, 2004 to May, 2005

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/D17D30162FF2DEB7852570A8005E209D?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAS New River
Story Identification #: 200510281387
Story by Lance Cpl. Jonathan A. Tabb

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (Oct. 28, 2005) -- “Every Marine is a rifleman.”

Staff Sgt. Michael A. Knowlton, Air Traffic Control, Crew “B,” crew officer, learned the true meaning of this essential Marine Corps adage while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II from December, 2004 to May, 2005

“When I was stationed at (Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan), I deployed with the 31st (Marine Expeditionary Unit) to Iraq,” said Knowlton. “When we first got there, we moved from place-to-place establishing (landing zones) and moving forward with the grunts.”

While Knowlton’s primary military occupational specialty is with ATC, he was tasked as a vehicle commander directly in charge of eight Marines.

“We were on our way to (Al Asad Air Base), which ended up being a five-day convoy,” Knowlton explained. “On the way there, we got ambushed by insurgents.

“They had snipers on an overpass, long-range machine guns and vehicles stopped in front to block our advancement,” Knowlton said. “As the vehicle commander I had to ensure (the Marines) knew where to direct their fire.”

For his actions, Knowlton, a native of Denver, Colo., received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with a combat distinguishing device during a Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron formation Oct. 1.

According to Knowlton’s award citation, “Under his cool direction, his team laid down suppressive fire until the remainder of the convoy moved through the kill zone.”

According to Sgt. Maj. Grant VanOostrom, H&HS; sergeant major, Knowlton is a Marine who stepped up in a hostile situation and performed admirably.

“This award is symbolic of the old adage that every Marine is a basic rifleman first,” said VanOostrom. “Regardless of MOS, you never know when you’re going to be called upon to serve outside your (job) – specifically, in this day and age, with the Global War on Terrorism and taskers for individual augments.

While he is credited with having performed above and beyond the call of duty, Knowlton remains very modest about the events that transpired.

“To be honest, (the Marines) did all the work themselves,” he said. “Just as a Marine should.”

Marines ‘borrow’ Haditha homes

HADITHA, Iraq — The Marines call it a necessary evil — taking over houses and buildings for military use. For the Iraqis who become unwilling hosts, it can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a disruption that tears apart lives. (3/1)

http://www.navytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1208393.php

By Antonio Castaneda
Associated Press

HADITHA, Iraq — The Marines call it a necessary evil — taking over houses and buildings for military use. For the Iraqis who become unwilling hosts, it can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a disruption that tears apart lives.

In a recent offensive in Haditha, the headmaster of one school where Marines were based pressed them for a departure date so he could resume classes. At another school, Marines fortified the building with blast walls and sandbags for long-term use.

A trembling woman wept when Marines tried to requisition her home to set up an observation post with a view of a nearby road where a bomb had been planted. The Marines quickly left, using her neighbor’s rooftop instead.

“We try to be respectful and not destroy anything in their homes,” said Cpl. Joseph Dudley of Los Gatos, Calif., with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “We just borrow their house and try to complete our missions.”

Requisitioning homes or other buildings has been widespread in Iraq for U.S. troops on missions who stay far away from bases, sometimes for several days or weeks. During major offensives, the temporary bases deep inside cities allow troops to send out more patrols and respond quickly to attacks rather than going all the way back to bases on the outskirts of town.

Some homeowners politely treat the Marines as welcome guests. During an offensive in May, one man whose home was being used served rounds of tea to the Marines while his wife remained discreetly out of sight. He let the tired troops catch naps on his living room couch and floor, then waved goodbye to them from his front doorsteps when they left to search more houses.

But the Marines also run the risk of alienating residents.

Sometimes the Iraqis are allowed to stay in one room in their home; other times they have to move in with relatives or neighbors until the forces leave.

“You see that place up there,” one Marine said to his platoon leader during a recent offensive in Haditha, pointing to a two-story hilltop house with columns.

“Yeah, that looks good. I’ve been looking at that,” replied his captain, before trudging up the hill to explain to the owners that the platoon would be camping inside for several hours.

In a school courtyard, a handful of Marines sang gospel hymns in unison as they filled sand bags. In another building, Marines rested on dusty tile floors, their heads leaning against the walls. Some read paperbacks while others flipped through magazines with unclad women splashed on the covers. Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Sunday Morning Coming Down” resonated from small speakers a Marine had brought along.

Most U.S. troops in Iraq live in air-conditioned, relatively comfortable bases with such luxuries as Internet access and widescreen televisions. But others have to rough it, particularly when patrolling western Iraq, a turbulent area the size of West Virginia where few bases are within city centers.

Running water and electricity are prized but unreliable amenities in these temporary homes. A shower is usually a bottle of water dumped over someone’s head and baby wipes to scrub off layers of dirt. Crude toilets are fashioned from wooden pallets and benches.

“That will go down as one of the more unpleasant memories of my life,” said one Marine leaving a latrine with walls of camouflage netting.

Marines often are packed into small rooms, sleeping in rows with their weapons and backpacks brimming with gear alongside them and eating an endless series of prepackaged meals. A Marine suffering with a cough can keep his entire unit awake through the night.

Some Marines seem to relish the difficult conditions, boasting that they are better than other harsh deployments in Somalia or Afghanistan. For others, the rough accommodations evoke fond memories of childhood camping expeditions.

For the Iraqis, the intrusion can be disruptive, especially when troops conduct nighttime drills with loud but harmless explosions and armored vehicles pass through at all hours of the day.

Many Iraqis also fear the makeshift barracks in their neighborhoods will attract insurgent attacks, possibly putting them in the crossfire. Checkpoints can also make it difficult to travel to local markets.

Some Marines buy the Iraqi families sodas, or purchase snacks and other goods for their fellow troops from local merchants, injecting a little money into poor neighborhoods.

Lounging in new quarters, the troops reminisce about other places they’ve used, from air-conditioned luxury to bare shelters.

Talk of the “pink hotel,” a home in the city of Hit, brought smiles to the faces of some Marines who recalled the soothing flow of the Euphrates River outside.

Then Capt. Timothy Strabbing of Hudsonville, Mich., also of the 3rd Battalion, reminded them of the house near Fallujah where they had set up a checkpoint. “All it had were dirt floors. It was the nastiest place,” he said.

Mount students hear Marine’s speech from Iraq

Marine Cpl. Ryan Groves, who was injured while on military duty in Iraq, returned to Mount Union College on Thursday to discuss his personal experiences. Groves, 25, who is from Portage County, lost much of his left leg when a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near him. (3/1 Marine)

http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?Category=9&ID;=249617&r;=1


Friday, October 28, 2005
By Malcolm Hall Repository STAFF WRITER


ALLIANCE - Ryan Groves’ personal journey to find fulfillment led him from the relative security and serenity of the Mount Union College campus to the Marine Corps.

Eventually, Groves wound up in the Iraqi war zone where he suffered a horrific injury that cost him his left leg.

Groves, 25, returned to Mount Union on Thursday with no regrets over his decision to take part in a bloody conflict.

“My purpose was to give them (students) a perspective they could relate to and make the most of the opportunities instead of learning lessons the hard way,” said Groves, who spoke to an audience at Mount Union College Theatre.

An explosion from a rocket-propelled grenade injured Groves a year ago while he was in the Fallujah area of Iraq. He still requires rehabilitation therapy at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

“I was outside my vehicle, the rocket came,” Groves said. “That is how I got hurt. There are a lot more glamorous stories out there. Mine is not one of them.”

Before the United States became engaged in the twin war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, Groves decided to withdraw from Mount Union to join the Marines.

During the speech, Jack DeSario, a Mount Union political science professor, recalled Groves’ years at the college. While remembering Groves as an outstanding student, DeSario still said the young man — a college sophomore at the time — needed to mature.

“Ryan was convinced he needed the discipline of the Marines and withdrew in the middle of a semester,” said DeSario, who introduced Groves.

Groves, with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines of Camp Pendleton, Calif., volunteered to serve in Iraq once he was in the Marine Corps.

“I tried to explain it many times,” Groves said. “It is hard to grasp if you have never been in that situation. I volunteered for all the reasons that you could think of and a couple that are only understood by a Marine infantryman.”

Groves planned to enter law school after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Despite his injuries, that remains his goal.

“If anything, it has made my convictions stronger,” Groves said.

The effects of the war, and the loss it brings, are being felt in Stark County and beyond. More than a week ago, a funeral for Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel McVicker was held here. And this morning, a funeral for Army Spc. Richard Hardy is planned in Bolivar. Both are casualties of the conflict, and are among the seven Stark County-area soldiers killed in Iraq.

“There is only one thing you can think, they were doing it for their country,” Groves said. “Don’t disrespect their deaths by making a political issue out of it.”

You can reach Repository writer Malcolm Hall at (330) 580-8305 or e-mail: [email protected]

Dedham Marine mourned: Cause of death still undetermined.

DEDHAM -- Military investigators are still trying to determine what caused the sudden death of a Dedham Marine whose body was found earlier this week at a North Carolina military base.
Family and friends will say their final farewells to William D. Guiod during a burial ceremony Monday morning, 25 years to the day after his parents adopted him and welcomed him into their lives. (2/8)

http://www.dailynewstranscript.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=66053&format;=&page;=1


By Ryan J. Halliday / Daily News Staff
Friday, October 28, 2005

DEDHAM -- Military investigators are still trying to determine what caused the sudden death of a Dedham Marine whose body was found earlier this week at a North Carolina military base.
Family and friends will say their final farewells to William D. Guiod during a burial ceremony Monday morning, 25 years to the day after his parents adopted him and welcomed him into their lives.
Guiod, 25, a private in the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, was found dead at about 5:30 a.m., Tuesday, in his barracks at Camp Lejeune, slumped in a chair in his room in front of a television.
Marine investigators have yet to determine the official cause of Guiod's death, but have ruled out homicide or foul play, said Gunnery Sgt. Mark Bradley of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp Lejeune.
"As of right now we have found no evidence of foul play," Bradley said yesterday.
A Naval doctor performed an autopsy on Guiod, but the results so far are inconclusive, Maj. Cliff Gilmore of the II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune said yesterday.
Guiod's father, Christopher Guiod, of 50 Pacella Drive, said yesterday Marine officials have told him investigators expect to know the cause of his son's death within the next week.
Guiod said his son, an athlete and avid runner, was in top physical condition, and bested his fellow Marines in a 5K Fourth of July road race in Iraq.
Guiod had served a tour of duty in Iraq this summer and was home in Dedham for a two-week leave earlier this month.
Christopher Guiod said he and his family have "not even considered" the possibility his son took his own life, pointing to William's happy state of mind and the fact his body had suffered no physical trauma.
"That night (Monday) he had spoken with a friend and was making plans to come back home for Veteran's Day," he said. "He had also made plans to come home for Thanksgiving.
"He was in a good frame of mind, and he was happy to be back on U.S. soil, he said"
Known as "Willie" to his friends, Guiod was a popular sports fan always ready for a game of football, soccer or basketball, his father said.

Guiod was a 1998 graduate of Dedham High School, where he played soccer and basketball.
Meredith Stratford, a childhood neighbor of William Guiod, said he was a popular athlete at Dedham High, and had kept in touch with many of his friends after graduation.
"He had so many friends and he loved them all," she said. "He missed us so much when he was away, and we really had a good time when he was home."
Stratford said Guiod was "in really good spirits" when he was back in town earlier this month, but was also looking forward to returning to Camp Lejeune, where she said he had made a lot of friends.


"He had a lot of good friends down there," she said. "He was happy in both places."
Stratford said Guiod was interested in becoming a Boston firefighter when his tour with the Marines was up.
A shoulder injury kept Guiod from joining the Corps immediately after graduation. He eventually enlisted in January 2004, finishing his basic training at Parris Island, S.C., in April 2004.
He finished infantry training at Camp Geiger, N.C., in June 2004 and then went on a series of deployments across the globe -- in Spain, Italy, Israel and eventually a six-week stint in Iraq.
Guiod was set to return to Iraq for a year-long tour in September 2006, according to his father.
Major Gilmore said Guiod's death is being felt at Camp Lejeune, where this month alone six other soldiers have died in unrelated training accidents and off-base motorcycle accidents.
"We are all real tight, and we feel every loss," said Maj. Gilmore, adding that 581 soldiers from Camp Lejeune have died serving their country in Iraq.
"There was a lot of attention in the media earlier this week with the 2,000th (Iraqi War) causality, but we make no distinction between the 2,000th casualty and the 500th," Gilmore said. "And we make no distinction between the Marine who dies overseas and the Marine who dies over here. Every loss is felt."

That loss will forever be felt in the Guiod family, where Halloween always rekindled special memories. It was the day Christopher Guiod and his wife, Martha, adopted the eight-month-old boy and brought him into their home.
A funeral Mass will be held for Guiod Monday at 9 a.m. at St. Mary's Church in Dedham. Burial will follow at Brookdale Cemetery at 86 Brookdale Ave.
Visiting hours will be Saturday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Doherty Funeral Home at 456 High St.
Besides his mother and father, William is survived by his brothers, Christopher and James, his sister, Danielle and nephew, Damon.

Iraqis assuming bigger security role as Fallujah continues progress

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- In a city once wracked by insurgent turmoil, hundreds of native troops with the Iraq Intervention Force conduct daily security and stability patrols in the neighborhoods and marketplaces here today. (2/6 detachment)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/199AE91259084273852570A9005E2829?opendocument


Submitted by:
II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre
Story Identification #:
2005102913826

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- In a city once wracked by insurgent turmoil, hundreds of native troops with the Iraq Intervention Force conduct daily security and stability patrols in the neighborhoods and marketplaces here today.

One recent October afternoon typified this as Iraqi soldiers, part of 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, IIF, moved out on a foot patrol in the midst of local school children, pedestrians and shopkeepers continuing their daily livelihoods in Fallujah.

Their mission is to maintain peace and order in a city humming with the return of people and commerce.

As the Iraqi troops moved out on patrol on dusty streets and narrow alleys, they were supported by Marine advisors from Military Transition Team 7, II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD), and a detachment of Marines from Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.

The job of the Marines is not to lead, but support Iraqi troops who continue taking greater responsibility in maintaining peace and security for this city and their country.

“The bulk of the people in the city are receptive of what we do for security, because deep down they know what could happen to the city [if insurgents take over] and that’s scary to them,” said Chief Warrant Officer M. Cole Dolinger, a Pittsburgh native, and Marine company advisor assigned to Iraqi troops.

Less than a year ago, terrorists were operating inside the city. Today, the city is a different place. Social and economic development is seen in the progress of local schools and small businesses, and with Marine support, the Iraqis continue taking the lead in ensuring their own security.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Please feel free to publish this story or any of the accompanying photos. If used, please give credit to the writer/photographer, and contact us at: [email protected] so we can update our records.

‘Devil Doc’ celebrates 28th birthday in Iraq

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- For many people a birthday means a day off. It’s a time to celebrate the successful passage of another year of life and to look forward to the year that lies ahead. It’s a time of celebration with family and friends, relaxation and gifts. (2/6 Fox)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/167340569BC52B33852570A80013E29F?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051027233712
Story by Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Zahn

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- For many people a birthday means a day off. It’s a time to celebrate the successful passage of another year of life and to look forward to the year that lies ahead. It’s a time of celebration with family and friends, relaxation and gifts.

For Seaman Michael E. Weaver, a corpsman with 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, a birthday is just another day. He still has a mission to do while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Lancaster, Penn., native turned 28 years old on Oct. 17. He celebrated his birthday by decorating his room with decorations sent to him in the mail and passing out bullhorns and Happy-Birthday hats for his Marines.

He also did his duty, going out on patrol with his fellow warriors. During the course of the patrol a stream of laughing, smiling kids constantly surrounded Weaver as he handed candy to them.

“I love kids,” said Weaver. “These kids can’t help the situation they’re in. If I can give them some kind of joy, even if it’s just a piece of candy, then it makes me feel good. I have tons of candy and I give some out every time I go out.”

Weaver says that the members of the platoon jokingly refer to him as “Uncle Weav.”

“I am one of the older guys in the platoon and more mature than most because of my age,” he said. “A lot of the younger guys come to me for advice and I try and point them in the right direction.”

Weaver has been in the Navy for 14 months and decided to enlist after looking at how much it could help him continue his medical education.

“I always wanted to get into the medical field,” he added. “It’s really hard to go back to school and I knew that being in the Navy would make it easier.”

For now though, the dedicated corpsmen is focusing on the present and on his Marines.

“I take it day by day and make sure that all my guys get home safe.” Weaver said.

1st LAR finds weapons cache in underground bunker

BARWANA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Marines with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion uncovered a cache of weapons after receiving a tip on the site’s approximate location. (1st LAR / RCT-2 / 2nd Brigade Combat Team)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/EE181F01C895397C852570A800143CBA?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102723412
Story by Cpl. Ken Melton

BARWANA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Marines with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion uncovered a cache of weapons after receiving a tip on the site’s approximate location.

Marines, Sailors and Soldiers from Regimental Combat Team-2 and from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team received the tip while conducting Operation River Gate in the town of Barwana and surrounding areas. Their mission for the operation was to eliminate insurgents, disrupt lines of communication and prevent interference with the Constitutional Referendum.

At the suspected cache site, Marines from Weapons Company and combat engineers from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion attached to 1st LAR discovered man-made dirt mounds, heavy equipment tracks and an area which appeared to have something buried underneath it.

“The area was larger than we had anticipated and it was quickly getting dark out,” said 1st Lt. James P. Donovan, a 29-year-old combat engineer. “We decided to come back at first light with mine sweeping and metal detecting devices.”

Weapons Company Marines posted security to prevent anyone from tampering with the site that night and returned in the morning ready to begin searching.

Private first class Michael D. O’Neill, 21, and Donovan were conducting sweeps of the area when O’Neill’s metal detector began to sound.

“I had been picking up signals before and they turned out to be trash, but the length of this detection made me think,” O’Neill, a combat engineer and Amissville, Va., native commented. "I outlined the area, which was about 10 feet long, and the Marines began to dig.”

After a few minutes of digging, they discovered the outside of a structure and soon after, they uncovered the roof and a door.

“We pried the door open and I looked inside,” Donovan, East Point, Ga., native said. “The first thing I saw was 120mm mortars and I began looking for booby traps before going in and exploring the site.”

As he looked around inside the bunker, he found bags of clothes, anti-Iraqi propaganda, improvised explosive material, ammunition, magazines and dozens of mortars.

He began handing the bags up so they could be investigated, while O’Neill entered and began to help Donovan move the ordnance.

“We search so many times and find nothing,” said O’Neill, who is on his third deployment in Iraq. “Finding this makes this deployment worthwhile.”

“We had experience with destroying caches this size when we worked at ASP Wolf and Dulab, so I decided to use the same methods,” stated Donovan, a 1995 graduate of Woodward Academy in College Park, Ga. “But this is the biggest find since we worked here.”

The Marines worked for over two hours counting the mortars and preparing to destroy them. Soaked with sweat while working in the hot and musky basement, they never complained.

“We know that by taking these explosives from them that could mean one less Marine that could be hurt or killed,” O’Neill said. “Every time we find caches like these we are taking ground away from the insurgents and it pulls us closer to their homes.”

“It’s great to find this, but it would be even better to find the guys who put it there," said Donovan, a 1999 University of Georgia graduate. “Still, we are cutting their supply lines and doing the best we can on our level.”

The final count total was ninety-one 120mm mortars and approximately 900 pounds of explosives in one 6 foot by 4 foot bunker.

The Marines would later add the other explosive material and ammunition found at the site along with their own to bring the total to approximately 1200 pounds of explosive material. Their plan was to destroy the bunker, all the weaponry and reduce the chance of shrapnel being expelled in one clean shot.

They “popped smoke” on the detonation cord and went to a protective position to watch their efforts come to fruition.

“It’s going to be a huge explosion and a great personal and professional accomplishment,” said O’Neill, who is a former instructor at the 1st CEB Sapper School at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. “This will definitely be one of the highlights of my career.”

The resulting explosion left a crater almost 10 feet deep and 30 feet wide.

“It’s an indescribable feeling returning to the site and seeing nothing left over,” said Donovan, grinning. “If we don’t find anything else I would still feel like we completed our mission successfully…but it feels like we just destroyed everything they had.”

Kuwaiti-born Marine on third deployment in Iraq

BARWANA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- While many service members view a deployment to Iraq as a long separation from their family, Cpl. Yousef A. Badou sees it as a chance to visit his family who live in Kuwait near a U.S. military base. (1st LAR / pic at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/52B6A3042A9E15E4852570A800148718?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051027234413
Story by Cpl. Ken Melton

BARWANA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- While many service members view a deployment to Iraq as a long separation from their family, Cpl. Yousef A. Badou sees it as a chance to visit his family who live in Kuwait near a U.S. military base.

Badou was born in Qurain, Kuwait, which he describes as the “Beverly Hills of the Middle East.” He lived there happily until the Iraqi invasion in 1991 when he and his family left for America, and it was there that he would find his calling in life.

“There were a lot of military members during that time, but the Marines seemed to stand out among the others,” the 22-year-old said. “When I was in the Boy Scouts, a lot of my troop leaders were Marine infantrymen and I knew that’s what I wanted to be too.”

Badou attended an American school in Kuwait and visited his mother’s family in America during summers, so when he moved there permanently in 1998, he adjusted to Western Civilization easily.

He attended the Michigan Military Academy and graduated from Portage Central High School in 2002 before joining the Marine Corps and becoming a scout, a job that he describes as a cross between a regular infantryman and a reconnaissance Marine.

His native language of Gulf Arabic played a huge part in enabling him to deploy and it has helped him accomplish many things that others without his language proficiency would not be able to do.

“During an early OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) deployment, I was guarding a bridge in Tikrit and it was only one lane. Sometimes people with emergency needs would have to pass and the language barrier would often add stress to an already tense situation,” the Portage, Michigan native said. “Once I had to direct traffic so that a pregnant woman could get to a nearby hospital. That was a great feeling knowing that I made the situation better.”

His language skills have enabled him to work with many aspects of the military, such as civil affairs, border patrols, Iraqi soldiers, reconnaissance squads and detainees. His ability to speak the Arabic language has even helped him in combat situations.

“In another deployment in support of OIF, Sgt. Bryan Seibert and I were on patrol near the Syrian border near Al Qa’im when we noticed some suspicious men and I was able to trick them into thinking we were locals by speaking with them,” Badou said smiling coyly. “We got closer to them and we were able to capture them even though it was two against eight.”

Eventually he learned the area and the border patrol members, which played to his advantage when he was engaged in a firefight.

“Sgt. Seibert and I were attacking Syrian smugglers when the border patrol approached,” Badou remembered. “I yelled and told who we were and they remembered me. Then I told them which direction the insurgents were. They could’ve fired on us thinking it was a smuggler posing as a service member.”

Badou, now deployed a third time, is working with 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance as a member of their commanding officer’s personal security jump team.

He knows his job as a scout and his Arabic language skills make him a force multiplier.

He plans to take his rest and relaxation period in the same place he usually takes it… at home in Kuwait.

“This is a big plus for me, essentially defending both of my homes and getting a free trip to visit my parents and siblings in Qurain,” Badou said smiling. “Then at the end of this deployment I will see them before I go back to my other safely defended home in America.”

Civil affairs impacts Haditha

HADITHA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Seven members of 6th Civil Affairs Group, Detachment 3, Team 5 spend each day here helping rebuild a war-torn city so people can live normal lives again. (6th CAG / 3/1)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/84A48E25BC8B244A852570A80014D189?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051027234723
Story by Cpl. Adam C. Schnell

HADITHA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Seven members of 6th Civil Affairs Group, Detachment 3, Team 5 spend each day here helping rebuild a war-torn city so people can live normal lives again.

As the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment continue to clear the city of roadside bombs and any remaining insurgent operations, the Marines and interpreter of civil affairs talk with citizens and work on projects to restore their city.

Detachment 3, which is comprised of more than 30

Marines, works throughout the Al Anbar Province helping the Iraqi local governments legitimize themselves and also assist the Iraqi people with civil-military operations. These operations include working with local engineers and contractors to repair the city’s infrastructure.

Currently, the members of Team 5 are working with residents in the former insurgent-controlled city repairing water pipes, a hospital and creating employment for the people. With the upcoming elections, the team is also on hand to assist the Iraqi people with security needs during the elections if requested.

“We are supposed to be completely hands off, but available if they want help organizing or providing security for it,” said Sgt. Michael T. Lamoureux, a Santa Ana, Calif. native and civil affairs team noncommissioned officer for the detachment.

Lamoureux added that after the insurgency in Haditha scared off local tribal, religious and political leaders months ago, the team is attempting to find and bring back the leaders, letting them know that Marines are working in the city.

“We talk with local leaders to find out their needs and concerns,” said Lamoureux. “They are really the voice of the people.”

Meeting with the leaders and talking with other people in the city also brought up other concerns that the team is trying to address. One such concern is just being able to go to work each day, something that most people around the world take for granted.

“The dam manager let us know his workers couldn’t get to work some days, so we arranged buses to bring them to the dam,” said Sgt. Ronald R. Roberson Jr., a Greensboro, N.C., native and the team’s chief. “We are also helping the dam workers get parts for the dam so they can keep things operating there.”

Before arriving to Iraq to provide civil affairs support, the team went through months of training to learn about the religion, culture, history and language of Iraq. The Marines were also put through training that dealt with certain situations they would encounter while in Iraq.

Even with extensive training, being able to assist the people here can be a problem due to the language barrier. Alleviating this problem is the team’s interpreter, Sam Nseir, who acts as the voice of the team.

“Having an interpreter is a huge asset, without Sam we wouldn’t be able to do any of this,” commented Roberson. “The people really like him and he lets us know how people feel about us being here.”

According to Nseir, most people in the communities here are happy to see the Marines in the city and the insurgents gone. As each day passes, the people become more used to the Marines patrolling the streets and feel they can go on with their daily lives.

“They are still a little uneasy about us,” commented Roberson. “So each time we go out, we bring soccer balls, toys and candy to give to the children.”

Roberson continued, “Spending time talking with the kids is also the most rewarding part of the job out here.”

EOD keeps roads safe in Haditha

HADITHA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Even though the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment aren’t fighting insurgents face-to-face, they are still fighting an explosive enemy that lurks beneath them as they patrol the city.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/21A8775B30206CB6852570A8001553AF?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051027235256
Story by Cpl. Adam C. Schnell

HADITHA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Even though the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment aren’t fighting insurgents face-to-face, they are still fighting an explosive enemy that lurks beneath them as they patrol the city.

Helping the Marines deal with this nearly invisible enemy is the four-man Explosive Ordnance Disposal team attached to the battalion.

The team here, made up of Marines and one Navy corpsman, comes from all different duty stations ranging from North Carolina to Japan. Their mission while with the battalion and other units in Iraq is to neutralize improvised explosive devices and to dispose of unexploded ordnance or weapons caches.

“The best part of our job is going out everyday and blowing up stuff that could’ve hurt Marines,” said Sgt. M., a Crestview, Fla., native and technician with the team who didn’t wish to use his full name.

The number one killer of Marines as they continue supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is the insurgent’s use of roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices. That is why the team works long hours everyday to keep the battalion safe.

“We’re on call 24 hours a day,” commented Sgt. V., a Jacksonville, Fla., native and EOD technician. “Some days we are not too busy, but others we will be gone doing calls all day long.”

The team conducted more than 30 EOD missions so far since linking up with the battalion for Operation River Gate less than two weeks ago. To be prepared to handle this operations tempo and the different explosive setups used, the Marines spent six months learning how to become EOD technicians.

“We learn how to handle some very explosive stuff and not get hurt,” said Sgt. V. “Our job is pretty dangerous but we have all the training to keep ourselves safe.”

The technicians use the training as they respond to calls received for EOD support. Within minutes of each call, the Marines arrive at the site and assess the situation to determine whether the explosive will be destroyed in place or removed to be destroyed at a later time.

“We will use our explosives to blow it in place if it may be booby trapped,” commented Sgt. V. “We will take it and move it only if it is stable and if we want to gather some information about it for future finds.”

Having experience and enough training is the key to safety for the EOD Marines as the IED-making insurgents use many different techniques. Everything from artillery rounds to propane tanks filled with gunpowder is used to create an explosion big enough to hurt and kill Marines and innocent civilians.

“The insurgents use pretty much anything they can get their hands on to make IEDs,” said Master Sgt. N., the team leader. “Most of them are using long-distance cordless telephones to detonate the IEDs at the right time.”

Before becoming part of EOD, the Marines of the team spent at least four years in other job fields including embarkation, avionics and engineering. They joined their current job field as a bonus when they re-enlisted in the Marines.

“I joined EOD to get out of my previous job,” added Sgt. M. “I wanted to do more stuff on the ground rather than just sitting in an office and stacking boxes all day.”

Supply keeps Teufelhunden Marines aimed in right direction

CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Someone once wrote that an army lives off its stomach. This axiom holds true even today, with all the current technological accoutrements of modern war. (3/6 H & S)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/DFB363B06418BE9B852570A8001595C4?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051027235545
Story by Sgt. Jerad W. Alexander

CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- Someone once wrote that an army lives off its stomach. This axiom holds true even today, with all the current technological accoutrements of modern war.

To help keep that stomach full so an army can continue fighting, men stand behind the lines and often behind the scenes to ensure necessary supplies reach those who need them. One such group works in the Headquarters & Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment’s supply section.

During Operation Iron Fist – the sweep of the Euphrates River towns of Sa’dah and Eastern Karabilah, the rifle companies of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines moved at a breakneck pace. As they moved forward, the supply Marines followed in trace with a re-supply of food and water, concertina wire, and materials for the eventual construction of fortified battle positions in both towns.

“It was a 24 hour-a-day job. Me and Cpl. Cruz (Aljericho C.) worked at the forward supply point, running chow, water and other supplies to the infantry and battle positions,” said Pfc. Chad R. Lamb, native of Grapevine, a Ft. Worth, Texas suburb, and warehousemen, Supply Section, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.

At the battalion supply point, work is not danger free for the Marines.

“We were under mortar fire, one landing not too far in front of me,” said Lamb. “It had no effect on the work we were doing. A lot of Marines need our supplies to do the job.”

Under fire with Lamb was Seattle native Cpl. Aljericho C. Cruz. “We just kept going. If the mission states we have to drop supplies, every Marine is a rifleman, we do it.”

Back at Camp Al Qa’im, the supply Marines worked equally as hard to ensure the Marines fighting had the supplies they needed.

“We loaded all the convoy’s heading out,” said Pfc. David J. Sumerville, native of Westland, Mich., and 2004 graduate of John Glenn High School. “I still worked my hardest even though I wasn’t out there.”

Working with Sumerville was Temecula, Calif., native Lance Cpl. Anthony R. Chaidez; St. Petersburg, Fla., native Pfc. Darrin L, Ortiz; St. Cloud, Fla., native Cpl. Brenton H. Thai and Cpl. Myles F. Tweedy.

“They were going through supplies quickly,” said Ortiz, 27. “Luckily, we had access to our own forklift so we could easily move supplies from the warehouse to the convoy trucks when necessary.”

Overseeing the operation within the battalion’s supply warehouse was the supply chief, Staff Sgt. Mickey E. Gibson, 30, from Georgetown, Ind.

“We have a job to do: To support the fighter, sustain the fight, and accomplish the mission. It’s our responsibility to keep that going, to ensure no Marines go without something they need,” he said.

October 27, 2005

1/3 Lava Dogs wrap up training at 29 Palms

MARINE AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (Oct. 27, 2005) -- The main body of 900-plus Lava Dogs from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, returned to their home duty station of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Wednesday and Thursday following a six-week, pre-deployment training evolution at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. (1/3)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/9C36D4A08DCEF1C0852570A8006AA289?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Hawaii
Story by:
Computed Name: Sgt. Joe Lindsay
Story Identification #:
20051028152444

MARINE AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (Oct. 27, 2005) -- The main body of 900-plus Lava Dogs from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, returned to their home duty station of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Wednesday and Thursday following a six-week, pre-deployment training evolution at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif., and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. Deployment to these training areas was made to prepare them for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan where they will support Operation Enduring Freedom.

Additionally, more than 100 Marines who were training with and alongside the Distributed Operations platoon since July 8 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Jolon, Calif., were scheduled to arrive at Kaneohe Bay Thursday. The remaining 1/3 Marines in the rear party at Twentynine Palms are due to arrive back in Hawaii today.

“I am very proud of the Marines from this battalion,” said 1/3 Commanding Officer Lt. Col. James Bierman, from Virginia. “These Marines have worked hard throughout this challenging training evolution. These guys are dirty; they’ve been either cold or hot the entire time; and they’ve been living off MREs (meals ready to eat), but the motivation and enthusiasm has been tremendous.”

According to Master Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Craig, 1/3 operations chief and a native of Buffalo, N.Y., not only was the training 1/3 underwent these past six weeks some of the most rigorous he has ever seen in his 26-year career, it was also some of the most advanced.

“Usually, battalions are known for making history in combat, like (1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment) did when we took Fallujah,” said Craig, describing the fight for the Iraqi city that has become, arguably, the most famous Marine Corps battle since Hue City during the Vietnam War. “But 1/3 also made history during this training deployment. Our Distributed Operations platoon is going to be the first such platoon sent into combat, when we deploy to Afghanistan, and 1/3’s Marines were also the first to take part in Mojave Viper, (also known as the combined arms training course), which recently replaced the old CAX (combined arms exercise). When you hear the phrase, ‘Tip of the spear,’ there’s probably a good chance they’re talking about 1/3.”

A big part of being on the tip of that spear, according to Sgt. Maj. Michael Berg, 1/3 sergeant major, was the urban warfare training 1/3 underwent while at Twentynine Palms.

“The Marine Corps had two ‘cities’ built out here in the desert — the main city, Gardez, and another town to the north called Baraki Barak — complete with hundreds of actual role players from the Middle East, working alongside additional role players from the Marine Corps who grew beards and dressed as locals,” said the Plymouth, N.H., native. “1/3 is the first battalion to go through this type of urban warfare training, which puts the Marines in some very realistic situations.”

One of the reasons for the realism, in addition to the fact that there are ‘friendlies’ mixed together with ‘insurgents,’ is the fact that there are no pre-scripted scenarios.

“Things can go good for the Marines, or they can go bad, depending on how the Marines react to given situations,” said Nada Rammo, an Iraqi-American linguist who served as an interpreter and translator for 1/3 during the urban warfare training evolution.
“Most of the role players are actually from Middle Eastern countries and only Arabic is spoken by them during the training, so this is a great opportunity for Marines to see the culture of real life in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

The urban warfare training in Gardez and Baraki Barak was part of 1/3’s battalion field exercise, a culminating event that began Friday and ended Monday evening.

One of the first events of the exercise was a town hall meeting between Bierman and other key 1/3 personnel with the mayor, police chief, Afghan Army commander, imam (mosque prayer leader), and other tribal leaders of Gardez and Baraki Barak.

“We simulated a relief in place of another Marine battalion and basically had an initial meeting to establish relationships and build rapport with the local leaders and sheiks,” said Bierman. “From there, we had subsequent meetings that were more focused on the details of how we were going to work with them to establish security. The local leaders were upset over the fact that their children couldn’t go to school because of the violence in the city.

“They agreed to the fact that there will be a constant Marine patrolling presence in their town, and we reached an agreement on a weapons buy-back program, where it was agreed that each Afghani family could maintain one rifle per household, but must turn in all rockets and machine guns.

“We also talked about them identifying civil affair projects for us — hospitals, schools, and other projects — that we could help them build or restore, once they put together a prioritized list for us.

“At one point, the imam was concerned that the curfew times we requested would interfere with morning prayers, so we accommodated him by changing the curfew hours and emphasized to them that we wanted to conduct our operations in a way that respects the locals.”

Bierman also pointed out that the realism of the urban warfare training was perhaps its strongest suit.

“We have to figure out for ourselves who the good guys and bad guys are,” remarked Bierman. “In the initial meetings, we’re being cordial and polite, but we’re watching everyone very closely. We are being professional, but we are doing this with our eyes wide open.

“This training is very important,” concluded Bierman. “The simple goal of this training is that the Marines in 1/3 will not encounter any situation in Afghanistan that they haven’t had a chance to work through and train for.”

Part of the necessity for going through the evolution with “eyes wide open,” according to Berg, is the unique situation facing Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The most important thing for the Marines to take away from this training is that they understand the local cultures and that they understand we’re there to provide security and certain needs that the locals have, and yet knowing at the same time that amongst the locals hide the insurgents, and the bad guys that are trying to kill us,” commented Berg. “The Marines have got to be able to flip that switch from the friendliest friend to the man that’s gonna put a bullet right between your eyes and kill you dead on the spot.”

“Like the saying goes, ‘No better friend; no worse enemy.’ I think the Marines — out of all the services — are the best adapted for that, where we can show our kind-heartedness to the locals. That’s the way Marines are. We have two sides. We have a soft side, and we’ve got an extremely hard, serious side that you don’t want to mess with.”

1st Sgt. Jerry Fowler, Alpha Company first sergeant, 1/3, from Moore, Okla., said the Marines of 1/3 are up to the challenge.

Marines from 1/3 have received some of the best training the Marine Corps has to offer these past couple of months explained Fowler. “Now it’s time to put that training to use (in Afghanistan).”

Many of Fowler’s Marines in Alpha Company seemed to echo their first sergeant’s sentiments.

“I can’t wait to get to Afghanistan,” said Pfc. Danilo Osorio, a 1/3 rifleman from Houston. “The training we got at Bridgeport and here at Twentynine Palms, with the Afghani city and everything, is the best training I’ve ever had or even heard of, for that matter. I feel ready. We all do.”

“Nobody is going through the motions out here,” added Pfc. Daniel Breen, a 1/3 rifleman from Boston. “We are doing training that we know we are going to use. Everything has been so realistic. It has been hard training, but no matter what we end up doing later in life, we can all look back years from now on the times we spent with 1/3 and say to ourselves, ‘What I’m doing now ain’t so hard. I’ve done tougher things. I once served with 1/3.’ That means something to us.”

Cpl. Matthew Schenkenfelder, a 1/3 combat engineer from Harrogate, Tenn., said he could attest to the strenuous training regime.

“I did two tours in Iraq, and outside of combat, I don’t think they could have made it much tougher as far as training goes,” said Schenkenfelder. “During this whole deployment, we were always doing something. We were always on the move. There was no time for anything but training. We might get a quick break to eat chow or go to the head (restroom), but that was about it. We’re ready as a battalion for Afghanistan, now. We still need to sustain back in Hawaii, but we’re ready. I couldn’t say the same thing that first day in Bridgeport.”

Lance Cpl. Vann Magruder, a 1/3 combat engineer from Huntsville, Mo., said this pre-deployment training exercise has brought the Marines of 1/3 closer together.

“When we first got to Bridgeport, it seemed like the assaultmen stayed off to themselves; the machine gunners stayed off to themselves; the engineers stayed off to themselves and so on and so on. Now it feels like were more like a family — like a big team. The unit cohesion has really come together and the camaraderie among us all is outstanding.”
For his part, Craig said witnessing the battalion progress by “leaps and bounds” during this deployment reminded him of his days on the drill field.

“Oh my goodness!” exclaimed Craig, when asked how far the battalion had come over the past six weeks. “Watching the guys at Bridgeport during mountain warfare training that first day, I felt like I was forming up a platoon at boot camp. We went all the way back to the basics and broke ‘em down so we could build ‘em back up again. Now, finishing up our training during the Battalion FEX at Twentynine Palms is like the third phase of boot camp. We’re gonna polish and sustain in Hawaii to get them ready for the final graduation. That graduation will be when we touch ground in Afghanistan and get the ball rolling. We’ve come along way.”

Moto posters help injured Marines

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Oct. 27, 2005) -- The Marine Corps Association is set to present a check for nearly $13,000 to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund at the MCA Bookstore Friday.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/DB5DAB82EBE95D32852570A80058D679?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Quantico
Story by:
Computed Name: Sgt. Donald Bohanner
Story Identification #:
20051028121020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Oct. 27, 2005) -- The Marine Corps Association is set to present a check for nearly $13,000 to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund at the MCA Bookstore Friday.

The money comes from the net profits from the sale of the “moto posters” that were conceived by Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis, Marine Corps Combat Development Command commanding general.

The six posters feature chaotic images of Marines in combat. The slogans on the posters read, “What have you done for him today?” and “Killing time kills Marines, so make every minute count.” The posters are intended to provide inspiration to leathernecks not currently serving in a combat role. Now, these posters are also helping to provide comfort to Marines wounded in combat or injured in training.

Since the posters went on sale at the MCA’s bookstores and on their Web site June 15, more than 2,000 posters have been sold, generating $12,817. More posters are still available, and can be purchased for $6 each, or $30 for the complete set of six, through the Marine Corps Association Web site, www. mca.marines. org, or at the MCA bookstores located at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Camp Pendleton, Calif.; and Marine Corps Base Quantico.

“We are grateful to the donors around the world and their tremendous outpouring of love and support,” said Rene Bardorf, co-founder of the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, in a recent press release. “When we began the fund, we prayed every night for help so we could continue serving the brave men and women who defend our freedom. We are pleased to offer so many families some small assistance during this difficult time.”

The IMSFF, a nonprofit charity, was founded in May 2004 by a small group of concerned Marine Corps spouses. The fund is meant to provide financial grants and other assistance to wounded Marines and sailors to enable their families to be at their sides during their recovery. To date, the IMSFF has served more than 1,000 cases, giving in excess of $1.9 million.

“We were volunteers at several military hospitals and saw the injured Marines coming back to the U.S. on the med evac flights,” said Bardorf. “We saw firsthand what their families were going through during this time — struggling to make ends meet while supporting their Marine’s or sailor’s recovery. Their stories and love inspired us to start this fund.”

For more information on the IMSFF, or to donate, visit www.SemperFiFund.org. To purchase the posters, visit www.mca.marines.org or an MCA bookstore.

Marines test combat optics curriculum

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Oct. 27, 2005) -- The training course for the scope bound for every forward deployed M16-A2, M16-A4 and M-4 in the Marine Corps’ inventory was fine- tuned in Fredericksburg Friday.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/0E804AB211203672852570A80058AD82?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Quantico
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Jonathan Agg
Story Identification #:
2005102812835

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.(Oct. 27, 2005) -- The training course for the scope bound for every forward deployed M16-A2, M16-A4 and M-4 in the Marine Corps’ inventory was fine- tuned in Fredericksburg Friday.

Marine Corps Systems Command and Training and Education Command evaluated the instructor course curriculum for the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight, a 4x magnification gunsight.

Developers from Trijicon, the manufacturer of the ACOG, hosted the training Friday at a private shooting range in Fredericksburg. The evaluation helped Marine leaders and the civilian contractor make adjustments to the training package that will be used to introduce the ACOG to all Marines in the future.

According to Trijicon, the ACOG improves target identification and hit probability from close ranges-up to 800 meters with a 4x magnification. That translates to a 36.7-foot field of view at 100 yards.

Dual-illumination technology, using a combination of fiber optics and self-luminous tritium, allows the aiming point to always be illuminated, even in total darkness, without the use of batteries.

Capt. Randall Parker, Rifle Combat Optic project officer, said the event brought to light fine adjustments that would be made to the ACOG Instructor Certification Course.

“I’ve got a good idea now of what I need to focus on when we’re trying to bring a novice optical shooter, or even a guy who has been shooting optics for a while, up to speed on this scope,” he said. “I’ve got a good idea of the things we need to emphasize and on some of the stuff we might be able to drop. We got everything out of today that we were trying to achieve. We have a good package, a good course we can take out to the fleet to get people trained up to use the optic on their own.”

Parker said the seven junior enlisted Marines who participated were typical of the target audience for the training package being evaluated.

“The students we had out here today were Marines coming from (Training and Education Command) who were all volunteers,” said Parker. “The reason why we chose novice shooters is because this is indicative of the type of Marines we are going to get out in the fleet. Once we start fielding these optics to support units, the group, the wing, we’re not going to have shooters who spend a lot of time on the weapons or the optics. We wanted to make sure this package would be able to train the lowest level of ability. If we can train on that level, then we are going to be able to train at the higher level.”

Lance Cpl. Jessica Bohannon, field radio instructor at the Command and Control Systems School, participated in the evaluation and said she now believes the ACOG will be a useful tool for all Marines in the fight.

“As far as being able to quickly engage your targets and knowing that you’re on point with them, I think it will be beneficial,” she said. “The infantry are taught and trained to fire different weapons systems and different optics. This gives the supporting teams a better advantage as well.”

Bohannon, who had previously never fired with an optical gunsight, said the training package was challenging, but effective.

“(The training package) took me from a place where I was used to the (known distance course) way of shooting to where I felt I could apply it in an urban environment, which is what the optic was intended for,” said Bohannon. “Even though it was a short amount of time, it gave me a chance to gain familiarity with the weapon and the optic.”
Parker said the Marine Operating Forces now has 10,083 ACOGs, and funding has been committed for an additional 104,000 sights, variations of which will be used on the M16-A2, M16-A4, and M-4 service rifles.

“This next set of fielding is going to be Corpswide,” Parker said. “The end objective is every rifle and every carbine in the Marine Corps inventory will have an optic.”

Marines put on game face to ease rough ride

By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, October 27, 2005

As a Marine Corps convoy headed out of Forward Operating Base Asadabad on its way to Camp Blessing in eastern Afghanistan late Monday night, Marines joked to each other about the spine-rattling ride that awaited them. (2/3 / pics at ext link)

To continue reading:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article;=32563

Untouchables keep Al Asad flightlines ready for war

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 27, 2005) -- On the runways of Al Asad, the Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 repair roads and maintain equipment so flightlines built during the Saddam Hussein era can support modern Marine Corps aircraft. (2nd MAW / pics at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/FEA0626969FCB93B852570A700281E75?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 2005102731812
Story by Cpl. James D. Hamel

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 27, 2005) -- On the runways of Al Asad, the Marines of Marine Wing Support Squadron 272 repair roads and maintain equipment so flightlines built during the Saddam Hussein era can support modern Marine Corps aircraft.

To accomplish their mission, the Untouchables of MWSS-272 maintain a host of flightline equipment, from runway lights to M31 arrested landing gear, a new piece of equipment that can stop a jet flying at hundreds of miles an hour on a dime.

It’s an important piece of gear, despite the rarity with which it’s used.

“Most of the time, arresting gear is only used in emergencies,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Saulo Ugarte, the MWSS-272 expeditionary airfield and aircraft, fire and rescue officer-in-charge and a Walnut, Calif., native. “It’s like a backup. It’s there for the pilots’ security, and to give them peace of mind.”

The gear is also used on aircraft carriers. The shortened runway of a carrier makes it necessary. At Al Asad, where the flightline is many miles long, a situation the gear would be needed is if an aircraft experiences brake failure.

As the gear is often the final resort in case of emergency, it is the subject of intense monitoring and preventative maintenance. Every year the flightlines at Al Asad are inspected by technical representatives from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., to ensure their readiness. The M31 arrested landing gear is placed under particularly intense scrutiny.

The inspection takes place during late October, coinciding with scheduled biannual preventative maintenance on the M31 gear. While operating under the watchful eyes of readiness inspectors might rile some, Ugarte likened the maintenance to a car getting its oil changed.

“(For the biannual maintenance) we tear apart the gear, ensure the bearings are still good and lubricate it,” said Cpl. Victor J. Santiago, a runway crewman with MWSS-272 and West Palm Beach, Fla., native.

Corporal Matthew L Vandentop, a runway crewman and native of Rock Valley, Iowa, said the system stops aircraft by a complex hydraulic system that uses pressure, rather than friction to stop aircraft. An important part of the M31’s success is that it’s held down by 55 stakes, each four feet in length.

“Out here, it’s a big process to get all these stakes down,” said Vandentop. “In the rear, it’s easy to get them in the ground (because the soil is soft.) In Iraq, the ground is like rock after the first foot, so it’s a challenge.”

Despite the challenges and pressure of inspection, Ugarte’s Marines continue to complete the mission efficiently.

“My expeditionary airfield Marines are working like a dream team,” he said. “They take care of themselves. They’re quick, safe and they take their job seriously.”

Marine's short film makes waves

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Oct. 27, 2005) -- With eligibility for retirement closing in and a deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom behind him, a catalyst was ignited in Master Sgt. Kelvin Owens’ life to get back to writing.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/59C539C785EAE41C852570A70056901B?opendocument


Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification #: 20051027114529
Story by Cpl. William Skelton

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (Oct. 27, 2005) -- With eligibility for retirement closing in and a deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom behind him, a catalyst was ignited in Master Sgt. Kelvin Owens’ life to get back to writing.

“My priority over the last 19 years has been to lead Marines and accomplish the mission. Not until my 19th year did I kind of let my desires and wants seep in, just a little,” said Owens, the S-4 operations chief with I Marine Headquarters Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina was something that inspired Owens to explore himself and attempt to make sense of the epic disaster.

“Hurricane Katrina was something that I couldn’t express into words, so I made the decision to buy a camcorder and some editing software and make a film,” Owens explained.

The film, entitled “Katrina: Exploring the Black Perspective” examines why one storm produced so many different views in the days following the hurricane,” Owens said.

“When people walk away from this film I want them to realize that your view of the world is sometimes dictated by your experiences number one, and number two, to invest in your communities,” Owens explained.

“As a Marine and a leader he’s (Master Sgt. Owens) fair, he has a lot of experience as a leader of Marines,” said Staff Sgt. Timothy A. Dutton, ammunition chief with I MHG. “He talks more to the Marines’ heart than just to their minds.

Owens was born in Tuskegee, Ala., but later moved to Atlanta, where most of his upbringing occurred. Being from the South, the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina hit close to home.

“I had a very discipline oriented mother and a supporting father,” Owens said. “Basically they would say, Kelvin, do what you have to do to be successful without infringing on other people.”

Knowing that he wanted to be in a structured environment, Owens joined the Marine Corps in June 1986.

“I was too young to join the police force, but I was old enough to become a United States Marine,” Owens said.

Two non-official goals of the film are to send a positive message as it pertains to this hurricane and to stimulate a thought in conversation, Owens added.

“There’s a lot of one-sidedness when you look at Hurricane Katrina;€? Master Sgt. Owens takes a look at it from both sides and explores the two,” Dutton said.

Once the film was completed, Owens decided to enter it into the Miami Short Film Festival. There were more than 300 submissions to the film festival; Owens was one of 130 chosen for viewing during the event.

“I honestly believe for a week I walked around smiling, because I knew that five judges in Miami, who have never known me, got the message I was trying to convey,” Owens said.

Dreaming like anyone would in his position, Owens hopes that this film could lead to bigger and better things.

“This is something I would consider doing for a living. Maybe this could open a door to work on another project,” Owens explained.

Seeing one of his many dreams coming true, Owens offered up a bit of advice for all the dreamers out there: “If you have a dream, if you have an idea and it’s productive, don’t sit on it, get out there and live and pursue it.”

Logistics progressing toward future

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (10/27/2005) -- Marine Corps logistics has taken a step into the future with an overhaul of its logistics units enabling the Corps to better support the War on Terrorism as well as future operations. (1st FSSG / 1st MLG)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/45471064C9571D28852570A700578F3A?opendocument

Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification #: 20051027115622
Story by Sgt. Enrique S. Diaz

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. (10/27/2005) -- Marine Corps logistics has taken a step into the future with an overhaul of its logistics units enabling the Corps to better support the War on Terrorism as well as future operations.

This change was solidified Friday for the Corps’ West Coast logistics command with a ceremony held here that redesignated the 1st Force Service Support Group as the 1st Marine Logistics Group.

After 29 years as the 1st FSSG, the newly dubbed 1st MLG is part of the Corps’ effort at organizing their logistics units to support Marines more effectively and efficiently.

The 1st Marine Logistics Group is the evolutionary product of years of lessons learned from operations like Desert Storm, Somalia and combat operations in Iraq, said Brig. Gen. David G. Reist, commanding general of 1st MLG.

After the initial push to Baghdad in 2003, logistics units were task organized in an ad hoc manner for the invasion. As they returned to Camp Pendleton, these units maintained their organization, then deployed back to Iraq in 2004. This foundation was the precursor to the MLG, said Reist, from Buffalo, N.Y.

When the I Marine Expeditionary Force deployed to Iraq for the second time in 2004, it was much easier for the logistics community.

There has been talk of reorganizing the logistics community for years, Reist said. The Marines have proven that the new organization works, and with some fine tuning, will work for how the Marines will do things in the future, he explained.

The significant change under this new organization is the formation of three separate regiments, each with its own function — general support, direct support, and a regiment to serve as the headquarters element for future deployments.

“We don’t have to task organize on the fly anymore. We know what the units we’re supporting want to do and we are (already) ready to give them that support. It’s like having a suitcase already packed,” said Reist, using the analogy to explain that the new structure allows logistics units to stay organized the way they would deploy.

Although lessons learned influenced the logistics overhaul, it was not the primary reason for the change.

“We are not only changing because of what history has taught us, we are changing to be better for the future,” Reist said.

Cohesion between combat units and service support elements will improve as units and commanders form a more personal relationship while they participate in training exercises and fight together in places like Iraq, Reist said.

“The Marine Corps determined that to support our present operations in Iraq and future expeditionary capabilities, it became critical to have our logistic units structured and equipped in direct support of Marine Air Ground Task Force units,” said Lt. Gen. Richard S. Kramlich, former commanding general of 1st FSSG, now the deputy commandant of Installations and Logistics at Headquarters Marine Corps.

Kramlich led the 1st FSSG during their year-long deployment to Iraq last year where they supported approximately 30,000 Marines and sailors in the volatile Anbar province where the insurgent strongholds of Ramadi and Fallujah are located.

The senior enlisted Marine for 1st MLG, Sgt. Maj. Jerry Cole, explained the significance of the new relationships between the supporting units within the 1st MLG and the ground combat units they support.

“I believe infantry Marines have a newfound respect for service support Marines. They see them day in and day out right beside them doing the same thing and that builds respect,” Cole said. Cole served under Kramlich as the sergeant major for 1st FSSG and knows the new structure provides new opportunities for the enlisted Marines now under the 1st MLG.

The realignment created more leadership positions that were filled at all enlisted levels, especially by junior noncommissioned officers, said Cole, a 45-year-old from Gastonia, N.C.

Cole challenged the junior NCOs to seek leadership opportunities that have arisen from the realignment, and encourged them to find opportunities to refine their leadership styles.

“Everything we do with our Marines is an opportunity to teach and train our Marines,” Cole said. “We have to take advantage, not just (job) specific but also in leadership. That’s what makes the Marine Corps strong.”

Changing the attitudes and understandings of Marines who have only known an FSSG organized one way (functionally) in garrison, and another way (task organized across functions) for operations and combat will be a challenge.

“It’s a team effort,” said Reist. “It’s really the core of what we do.”

Death of a Dream

Former Rock Hillian Kenneth Butler traded his childhood aspiration of being a cowboy to become a U.S. Marine. He was killed Friday in Iraq at age 19.

http://www.heraldonline.com/local/story/5286646p-4796042c.html


By Andrew Dys The Herald
As a kid learning to ride his bike around Rock Hill's Hargett Park, Kenny Butler wanted to be a cowboy. He succeeded, riding bulls on the rodeo circuit in North Carolina.

Then he joined the U.S. Marine Corps straight out of high school.

Butler went to Iraq as a humvee turret gunner two months ago. On Friday, a bomb blew up his humvee west of Baghdad, Butler's brother said.

Lance Cpl. Kenneth James Butler won't ever ride another bull. He died at 19.

Butler moved away from Rock Hill in elementary school, but his family -- and their memories -- remain.

"My brother was tough, tough enough to get kicked by a bull then get up and walk away," said brother Carl Butler, 23, who still lives in Rock Hill in the house on Steed Street where the Butler boys rough-housed and played.

Butler's father, Carlton "Buster" Butler Jr., who served seven years in the Army, lived in Rock Hill all his life until moving to Mecklenburg County last year. Butler's grandparents, Cynthia and Carlton Butler Sr., are still in Rock Hill.

Proud to be a Marine

All the Marines will say is Butler died when an "improvised explosive device" blew up while Butler was "conducting combat operations against enemy forces."

What the family knows is Butler, called "Cowboy Bill" by his grandmother, is dead.

Carlton Butler Sr. said his grandson was proud to be a Marine. The Navy veteran said he was proud to be the grandfather of a Marine.

"I've known him since he was 12, and I thought he'd be a farmer," said Nina Butler, Carl's wife. "He loved horses."

Butler joined the Marines after a recruiter came to Butler's Rowan County, N.C., high school, where he lived with his mother and stepfather.

"He called me up one day and said, 'Yep, I joined the Marines,'" his father said. "I knew he'd go to Iraq or Afghanistan or one of them places, so I asked if he was sure. He said he was sure, so he went."

Butler is the third serviceman with York County roots to die in Iraq. Paul Neff II, who grew up in Fort Mill, died in November 2003. Rock Hill pilot Pat Leach died in December.

With the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force out of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Butler racked up three medals in about two months in Iraq, said Lt. Barry Edwards, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division. Butler was promoted from private first class Oct. 1.

Now Butler gets a Purple Heart, Edwards said.

Butler's father said he's not against the war and he doesn't blame anyone. The country had to do something after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he said.

"The last time I talked to him before he shipped out, I wished him luck," Buster Butler said. "Can't say this was luck."

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Recently, Butler's grandmother, Cynthia Butler, stopped by Richmond Drive Elementary School around the corner from her Rock Hill home to drop off a picture of her grandson.

"She wanted to show me I would be proud of one of the students I had taught in the first grade," said Lu Anne Cox, a longtime teacher at Richmond Drive. "I remember him distinctly. A wonderful student. Bright. Energetic. Just a great kid."

Tuesday night, Cox was talking to her son, Army Staff Sgt. Jamie Wagoner, who is in his second tour in Iraq. She mentioned one of her former students was in combat. She gave her son Butler's contact information with hopes the two could meet. Cox planned to write a letter today to Butler, saying how proud she was of him.

But Wednesday she found out the kid from the first grade died in some place in the desert called Al Amariyah, Iraq.

Cox, whose students have adopted Wagoner's military unit and sent hundreds of care packages, was stunned.

"The children we teach in first grade are not supposed to die in wars," Cox said.

Andrew Dys • 329-4065

[email protected]

Local soldier earns Purple Heart

NORTHUMBERLAND — Todd Bucher was promoted and received the Purple Heart all in one day.

http://www.dailyitem.com/archive/2005/1027/local/stories/01local.htm


By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item

NORTHUMBERLAND — Todd Bucher was promoted and received the Purple Heart all in one day.

The U.S. Marine, who was wounded in Iraq and continues to recover, was center stage Wednesday, surrounded by Marine commanders and fellow officers from North Carolina and Reading.

"It looks good on you because you deserve it. God bless you," Commanding General James Amos told Mr. Bucher after he pinned the Purple Heart on his uniform at Mr. Bucher's grandparents' home outside Northumberland.

Mr. Amos said Purple Hearts make moms and grandmothers cry. "No one sets out to earn it. Once you earn it, you'll never not speak about it or never not wear it," said the commander from Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Lt. Col. Bill Jurney, who served as Mr. Bucher's battalion commander in Iraq, awarded him the promotional medals.

On hand was a houseful of military personnel, family and friends taking lots of pictures. Fellow Marines traveled from Camp Lejeune and from Reading for the ceremony in the home of Jim and Janet Morrison.

"We don't get out as much as we want to thank people in America for their sons and daughters. America loans us their very best and we do our best to try to return them the same way we loaned them, only better. I'm sorry you're wounded, son. I'm just glad you have two legs to stand on and two arms," Mr. Amos said.

He said the number of Marines was increased to 25,000 a week and a half ago from 23,000 when Mr. Bucher was serving in Iraq. Eighty-five percent of Marines have been brought home and new battalions and squadrons have been sent to Iraq. "This battalion just got back," he said, referring to the battalion led by Mr. Jurney.

"We truly are a nation at war. When you watch the evening news, you don't get the same sense of what's going on as you do talking to the men and women who have been over there. There's an awful lot of goodness taking place," Ms. Amos said.

He said the battalion led by Mr. Jurney was living in the middle of Fallulah. The battalion was the first company of Marines to move out of the city to an outlying town. "Nineteen thousand sand bags later they called the location home," Mr. Jurney said. In that small town now, there is a freely elected council and the first operational police station is up and running, he said.

"The vast majority of the people in Iraq are just like you and I. They want to work and raise a family," he said.

Mr. Bucher thanked everyone for taking time out to attend the ceremony. "I appreciate everything everyone did for me," he said.

The 21-year-old was injured July 10 when an improvised explosive device exploded 2 feet from him.

He still faces four surgeries on his right hand, his back, his left shoulder and left knee. He wears a brace on his left leg. He heads to the veterans' hospital in Lebanon three to four times a week.

Those traveling from Camp Lejeune and now on leave included Lance Cpl. Thomas Corson and Private First Class Chris Winterborne who served with Mr. Bucher in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Stephen Healy served with him in Iraq. Also on hand were seven members of the Navy Marine Reserve Center in Reading where Mr. Bucher has been assigned.

Debbie Bucher, Mr. Bucher's mother, said she was "very proud of everybody here. I can't say enough about Bethesda Hospital — the hospital's great."

nE-mail comments to [email protected]

Pendleton Marines maneuver Corps' new field fire training

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(Oct. 27, 2005) -- Fifty Marines from three Camp Pendleton units got a chance to send rounds down range during the two-day basic shooting skills portion of the re-vamped marksmanship training. The new course took effect Oct. 1. (SOI / pics at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/802CDAACAA53B897852570A7001D479D?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Camp Pendleton
Story by:
Computed Name: Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis

Story Identification #:
2005102711948

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(Oct. 27, 2005) -- Fifty Marines from three Camp Pendleton units got a chance to send rounds down range during the two-day basic shooting skills portion of the re-vamped marksmanship training. The new course took effect Oct. 1.

Marines from the School of Infantry and 11th Marine Regiment were at Horno Range 214 from Oct. 17-22 to undergo the new training.

“It’s more combat-oriented. It puts you in the war fighting mindset instead of (the range) in the past,” said Range 214 staff noncommissioned officer Staff Sgt. James D. Groves, from East Prairie, Mo.

In the past, the field fire portion of the range wasn’t scored. Now Marines are scored and required to pass this portion for rifle range qualification.

“If Marines don’t pass the basic combat shooting portion, they don’t qualify,” said Cpl. Ian A. Motley, block noncommissioned officer at Camp Horno’s Range.

Also, Marines are given two days for the combat shooting, opposed to the 12 hours allotted in the previous training.

Much of the instruction is focused on lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Marines are taught techniques such as shooting in controlled pairs, hammer pairs and reassessment drills, including shooting a rifle at multiple and moving targets from various distances while closing in on their target.

Many Marines think this new basic combat shooting skills portion is lengthy, but they say the training pays off.

“It’s worth the time at the end of the range because everyone needs (his or her) basic rifleman skills,” said Sgt. Juan L. Chantaca, a light armored vehicle crewman, who deployed to Iraq in 2003.

“It’s better than the old field fire, more realistic,” he added.

Although this new rifle range is interim, Groves said, “it’s a step in the right direction.”

Ultimately, many Marines said they’re better equipped now than before they came to the range.

“I feel like I’m a little more prepared,” said Lance Cpl. Stefan G. Davis, an SOI administration clerk from Albuquerque, N.M. “When I deploy I’ll be able to protect myself and those with me.”

“If you’ve never been to a combat zone, (basic combat shooting) is good practice to prepare for future deployment,” said Cpl. Michael A. Cardoza, an ammunition technician from Crescent City, with Battery G, 2nd Bn., 11th Marines. “Take this seriously, because you’ll never know when you’ll have to use this.”

Supply management Marines prepare for Iraq

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(10/27/2005) -- Marines need everything from food to fuel to firepower to get the mission done in Iraq. For Supply Management Unit Marines, getting these supplies from Point A to Point B is a crucial job. (1st FSSG)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/C945B1F1A2C5F98D852570A70055AD8F?opendocument

Submitted by:
MCB Camp Pendleton
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Renee Krusemark
Story Identification #:
20051027113549

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(10/27/2005) -- Marines need everything from food to fuel to firepower to get the mission done in Iraq. For Supply Management Unit Marines, getting these supplies from Point A to Point B is a crucial job.

A new Material Distribution Company concept, which will be used with 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during their next deployment to Iraq, is designed to make this job more efficient. An exercise conducted by 1st Force Service Support Group’s 1st Supply Battalion Oct. 6, allowed these Marines to practice this new concept.

The exercise replicated the distribution of cargo from Operation Iraqi Freedom, substituting buildings on base for areas in Iraq. The exercise allowed Marines to practice their jobs in a deployment-like atmosphere.

“In OIF I, the biggest issue was confidence in supply,” said Maj. Anthony Fabiano, from Hoosick Falls, N.Y., commanding officer of the MDC. “Marines would order something five times because they couldn’t see where (their order) was.”

The improved processes should diminish units having to re-order their items and hoping at least one of them will come in.

“For OIF II there was a compressed timeline before deployment,” said 1st Lt. Jeremy Hall, executive officer for MDC. “This go-around, the battalion has had more time to test processes that incorporated the new technology.”

The new concept and technology uses radio frequency identification tags to track shipments. Using a program called the Battle Command Sustainment Support System, Marines can locate areas where these shipments have been.

“The program has been used before, but not to this extent,” said Hall, from Avon Lake, Ohio. “Before it was just for priority, now it’s used for everything. We are being proactive.”

Another new procedure tested in the exercise was the use of a screening area for freight operation Marines.

At the Material Distribution Operation Center, Marines used the BCS3 to track the shipments during the exercise. If they receive a call for a shipment, they use the BCS3 to locate which area the cargo has been through.

“The MDOC oversees the operations that go on,” said Sgt. Arturo Garciacano, an Aurora, Ill. Marine, who was the MDOC assistant operations chief during the exercise. “The process cuts down on time.”

Problems seen during OIF I included zero visibility of sustainment in distribution channels and numerous distribution chains depending on class of supply and source. The exercise was meant to be “a preparation for a lot of lessons learned.”

“This is set up to what we would do in Iraq,” said Cpl. Matthew Till, a Renton, Wash. Marine, who participated in the exercise. “I believe it’s helping us prepare.”

WARFORDSBURG MARINE KILLED IN IRAQ

Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek knew from the time he was 6 years old that he wanted to be a soldier. Being a soldier became his mission in life. Last Thursday, the Warfordsburg kid who wanted nothing more than to be a soldier lost his life when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated while he was driving a Humvee on Marine combat operations in Iraq. He was 20 years old.

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=localnews&pnpID;=541&NewsID;=671082&CategoryID;=1441&on;=1

10/27/05
By Lindsay R. Mellott
Staff Writer
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Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek knew from the time he was 6 years old that he wanted to be a soldier. Being a soldier became his mission in life. Last Thursday, the Warfordsburg kid who wanted nothing more than to be a soldier lost his life when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated while he was driving a Humvee on Marine combat operations in Iraq. He was 20 years old.

The attack took place near Nasser Wa Salaam, according to the Department of Defense, which said that the two other Marines with Szwydek were also killed. During the subsequent engagement, Marines killed two terrorists and detained four others suspected of involvement in the attack. The unit was conducting security operations along with Iraqi troops seeking to keep insurgents out of two towns in Iraq, including Fallujah.

All three Marines were assigned to Weapons Co., 2nd Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. The Second Battalion is unofficially known as The Warlords.

A 2003 graduate of Southern Fulton High School, Szwydek enlisted in the Marines through their delayed entry program the summer of his junior year in high school. He left for basic training at Parris Island, S.C., just four days after his graduation and had planned to make the Marine Corps his career.

Parents Wallace “Mike” and Nancy Szwydek, who own and operate the Dott Village Store, said Monday at their Union Township home that their son was driven by the Marines. “I think primarily from the aspect of being the first in and the last out,” said Mike Szwydek.

His mother admitted that she had reservations about Steven joining the Marines Corps and encouraged him to talk to recruiters from other branches of the military, which he did, but with little interest. “His mind was already made up,” said Nancy Szwydek, whose signature was needed for early entry enlistment. She said, “He was going to sign up whether I signed or not – so I signed.”

Lance Cpl. Szwydek had previously been deployed to Iraq in 2004. He left for his second seven-month deployment July 20 and would have come home in February. His parents said that they thought their son may have been a little bored this time around because he wasn’t seeing as much action as he did during his first Iraqi deployment.

While in the military, Lance Cpl. Szwydek was awarded numerous medals and ribbons, including the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal

The Szwydeks said Steven believed in what he was doing. “He felt that the efforts the military was making in the fight against terrorism were justified,” said Mike Szwydek. Steven’s mother said her son liked the Iraqi people very much and talked about them a lot. “Steven said how respectful and nice they (the Iraqis) were and how much they liked having the military there.”

Steven Szwydek made his last visit home over July 4th. He spent about two weeks here, visiting with family, friends and classmates. His parents also saw him again at Camp Lejeune right before he left for Iraq. “We just had a wonderful time both here and at Camp Lejeune,” said Nancy Szwydek. “We did a lot of things together as a family.”

The Szwydeks said they last talked to their son two weeks ago at 3:30 a.m. Iraqi time. According to his mother, he had just gotten off a long patrol. “You could tell by his voice that he was tired, but he was fine,” she said. “ He was always fine.”

The Szwydeks and their four children moved to Fulton County from Frederick, Md., 14 years ago They said their son Steven wasn’t perfect – a typical kid who liked the outdoors, hunting and baseball. At Southern Fulton he played outfield and catcher on the baseball team. He sang in the high school chorus, was chaplain of the Warfordsburg FFA Chapter and attended St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hancock, Md.

Steven loved the History Channel and, according to his father, read and studied a lot about the military and military history throughout his youth.

His older sister Stephanie Bard said Steven was mature beyond his years. When he came back from his first deployment, she said, “He felt much older than me. In a short amount of time, he had turned from a kid into a man.”

In addition to his sister, Steven leaves behind 18-year-old brother Corey Szwydek, a senior at Southern Fulton who has enlisted in the U.S. Navy through its delayed enrollment program and leaves for basic training in August, and brother Greg Craven, a certified air traffic controller who is currently at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Steven’s junior high English teacher Anna Maye Sigel, who became a good friend to Steven from frequenting his parents’ store, said that Steven was very focused and knew where he was going. She said he read a lot and had a good mind. She said, “He was 100 percent American. ... The kind of boy you would want to represent America.”

The Szwydeks learned last Thursday night that their son had died. Since that time the Marines who have been assigned to help them have become, according to Nancy Szwydek, like family. “They are wonderful, they take charge,” said Bard. Nancy Szwydek said that the family has also gotten support from the entire Marine Corps family – local Marines, deployed Marines and their families.

Szwydek is the second Fulton County soldier killed in Iraq since fighting began. Staff Sgt. Christopher E. Cutchall, 30, of McConnellsburg, was killed on Sept. 29, 2003, while traveling in a convoy west of Baghdad. He vehicle was also hit by an IED. Cutchall was assigned to Delta Troop, 4th Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kan.

As of this week, 2,000 U.S. servicemen have been killed in Iraq and more than 15,000 have been wounded.

Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek’s funeral will be held Friday at the Needmore Bible Church. The 11 a.m. service will be a modified military service. A visitation is scheduled for Thursday at the church from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. A private burial with full military honors will take place at a later time at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, where Steven will be laid to rest.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the nonprofit Marine Corps League’s Fallen Heroes Fund, which not only helps the families of injured or fallen Marines but the troops as well. Checks should be made out to either Mike or Nancy Szwydek in care of the Warfordsburg branch of The Fulton County National Bank and Trust. Co. The Szwydeks will distribute the money to various branches of the league

Steven’s family said they received a message from their son’s staff sergeant in Iraq that said Steven was one of the best Marines he had ever worked with. The message said that Lance Cpl. Szwydek was not afraid to die. That his only concerns were for his family.

The Szwydeks said that their son and brother would want to be remembered “just as a Marine, nothing special. One of many.”

On Friday red, white and blue ribbons will be placed on every mailbox lining both sides of U.S. Route 522 from Warfordsburg to Needmore Bible Church by neighbors and friends who won’t forget the Fulton County boy who was one of many – the boy who was eager and proud to do his duty. (See obituary Page B3.)

N.C. Marines, sailor killed in Iraq bombing

A Marine Corps officer who lived locally and a North Carolina sailor attached to a Camp Lejeune-based Marine unit were killed last week in Iraq, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

http://www.jdnews.com/SiteProcessor.cfm?Template=/GlobalTemplates/Details.cfm&StoryID;=36121&Section;=News


October 27,2005
BY STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS View stories by reporter

A Marine Corps officer who lived locally and a North Carolina sailor attached to a Camp Lejeune-based Marine unit were killed last week in Iraq, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

Marine Capt. Tyler B. Swisher, 35, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was killed Friday along with Marine Cpl. Gray Cockerham III, 21, of Conover, after a roadside bomb in Al Amariyah, Iraq, threw them both from their vehicle and into a nearby canal, the DoD said.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher W. Thompson, 25, of North Wilkesboro, died in the same accident, his family said Wednesday.

Swisher, an infantry officer and company commander, and Cockerham, a machine gunner, were assigned to Lejeune's 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Lt. Barry Edwards, a spokesman for 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune.

Thompson, a hospitalman, was attached to 2/2. He was riding in the left rear seat of an armored vehicle when an improvised explosive device was set off, said his parents, Larry and Geraldine Thompson.

Swisher attended Mariemont High School, according to an NBC affiliate in Cincinnati. He joined the Corps in December 1993 - 2/2 in April, Edwards said.

A family friend told the Ohio TV station that Swisher graduated from Butler University with a degree in biology. This tour is Iraq was his third, the station reported.

According to the NBC affiliate, Swisher had a wife, two daughters, ages 15 and 7, and a 5-year-old son who live in the Jacksonville area.

His commendations include a Joint Service Commendation Medal, five Sea Service Deployment ribbons, an Iraqi Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Korean Defense Medal, two National Defense Service medals and a Meritorious Unit Commendation, Edwards said.

Thompson's executive officer said he was proud to go to war with Thompson, his brother, David Thompson said.

"He knew if something happened, he'd take care of them," David Thompson said. "If things were worst, he'd be the first one to step up."

David Thompson also is a Navy corpsman assigned to the Marines.

When Thompson came home from his first combat tour, he was asked how he managed to insert an IV in someone's arm on a battlefield while bullets were crackling by and bombs were exploding.

"He said, 'All I can tell you is I haven't missed yet. When you've got somebody dying, you've got to do what you can do," Larry Thompson said.

During his first tour from March 2004 to October 2004, Thompson helped four Marines hurt when a bomb exploded beside the Humvee in front of his. A fifth Marine, his best friend, died in his arms.

At home, he talked to his father about still seeing the faces of those who had died.

Larry Thompson, an Army veteran, said he still sees the faces of those who died when he was in Vietnam.

"I don't want to forget them," he says he told his son. "I want to remember them and honor them.

"â?¦ You do the best you can and come home. That's all you can do."

Thompson joined the Navy when he was 21.

He finished basic training three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and was sent to the USS Austin.

Eighteen months later, he started corpsman training.

Thompson's mother remembered him as a funny boy. As a teenager, he would sneak her convertible out to take his friends for a ride, she said. She never told him she knew.

He played football and baseball at North Wilkes High School, and hoped to study at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C. when his military duty ended.

He wanted to become a coach and teacher, his family said.

A prior Purple Heart recipient, Cockerham joined the Marines in May 2003 and left soon after for Iraq.

He married his girlfriend, Amanda Johnson, on a trip home to Catawba County about a year ago.

Both graduated from Hickory's St. Stephen's High School in 2002, where Cockerham played on the school soccer team all four years, according to friends.

Over the summer, he was called back for a second tour of duty.

Cockerham was initially listed as missing in action, and friends and family members held out hope he would be found alive.

They learned the bad news Monday night.

Chuck Davis, the former boys' soccer coach at St. Stephens, remembers Cockerham's work ethic, which he shared with younger players.

"I told them how Gray was a hard worker and how he sacrificed," he said Tuesday. "If you want to score goals bad enough, you'll be like Gray Cockerham."

Members of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church posted a message on its sign asking people to pray for the Cockerham family.

Cockerham joined 2/2 in October 2003, Edwards said. Apart from the Purple Heart, his commendations include a Combat Action Ribbon, two Sea Service Deployment ribbons, an Iraqi Campaign Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and a National Defense Service Medal, Edwards said.

Cockerham is survived by his wife, Amanda Johnson Cockerham; his parents, Ben and Jill Cockerham; and a younger brother, Adam.

He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

ginia.

Money: 14 Reasons For Using a VA Home Loan

Why Use A VA Home Loan?

http://www.military.com/Finance/Content?file=Money_14_Reasons.htm&area;=Content&ESRC;=marine-a.nl

Why Use A VA Home Loan?

Like many veterans and current servicemembers you may be wondering what makes a VA home loan a good deal -- besides a "no-down payment" requirement. Well, here are 14 good reasons to use the VA home loan program to buy your next home.

1. No down payment is required for homes under $240,000.
2. Loan maximum may be up to 100 percent of the VA-established reasonable value of the property (due to secondary market requirements, however, loans generally may not exceed $240,000).
3. You can use a VA home loan in conjunction with other mortgages if needed for the purchase of a home over $240,000.
4. Negotiable interest rate.
5. You are not required to pay a monthly mortgage insurance premium.
6. You are informed of actual reasonable value of the home you are considering buying. This may help you negotiate a lower price, or avoid paying too much.
7. Your closing costs are limited by law.
8. You can finance the VA funding fee into the loan balance.
9. You have a choice of mortage repayment plans:
*
Traditional Fixed Rate -- constant principal and interest; increases or decreases may be expected in property taxes and homeowner's insurance coverage.
* Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM) -- Interest rate and payments may fluctuate with changes in the prime rate.
* Graduated Payment Mortgage (GPM) -- low initial payments which gradually rise to a level payment starting in the sixth year.
*
Growing Equity Mortgages (GEMs) -- gradually increasing payments with all of the increase applied to principal, resulting in an early payoff of the loan.
10. For most loans for new houses, construction is inspected at appropriate stages to ensure compliance with the approved plans, and a one-year warranty is required from the builder that the house is built to conform with the approved plans and specifications. In cases where the builder provides an acceptable 10-year warranty plan, only a final inspection may be required.
11. If you sell the home you can elect to allow the buyer to assume your mortgage, subject to VA approval of the assumer's credit.
12. You have the right to prepay the loan without penalty.
13. The closing costs are comparable with other financing types (and may be lower).
14. The VA performs personal loan servicing, and offers financial counseling to help veteran borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty.

Although the VA Home Loan process can be challenging, knowing what to expect before you start can help you to speed up the process and get the home of your dreams. The Military.com Guide to VA Home Loans will help you do just that.

Simply click here if you would like to receive information from a military friendly VA approved lender. As always, the resources provided by Military.com are free and without obligation, so don't stay on the fence -- get the information you need to get started, today.

America Supports You: Commissary, Fisher House Offer Scholarships

Annoucing military scholarships.

http://www.military.com/spouse/fs/0,,fs_edu_scholarship,00.html?ESRC=marine-a.nl


By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

The Defense Commissary Agency and the Fisher House Foundation have teamed up again to offer educational scholarships to children of military families and retirees. The Scholarships for Military Children Program is marking its sixth year, DeCA spokesman Kevin Robinson said. The goal, he said, is to provide at least one $1,500 scholarship for each of DeCA's 268 commissaries worldwide.

"It's important for us to give back to the military community that we serve," Robinson said. "This is one of the ways we do that, in addition to providing a commissary benefit to our customers."

He added, "Helping the children of military families get an education" is a very worthy cause.

Authorized applicants include unmarried children under age 21 of active duty, Guard or Reserve, or military retiree families, Robinson said. Applicants may also range up to 23 years in age if they are enrolled in school.

The application period for this year's DeCA-Fisher House scholarship program starts Nov. 1 and closes Feb. 22, Robinson said.

Application forms for the program will become available in November for pick-up at commissaries worldwide and for download via the Internet at www.commissaries.com or at www.militaryscholar.org.

Robinson said applicants are required to write and submit an essay on why they admire a great past or present military leader. More than one scholarship per commissary may be awarded, Robinson said. In 2004-05, he said, 500 scholarships were awarded.

The Fisher House Foundation administers the scholarship program, which is funded by manufacturers and suppliers of groceries and services in the commissary system, Robinson said.

Last year, the DeCA-Fisher House program awarded around $750,000 in scholarships, said David Coker, the Fisher House Foundation's executive director. More than $3.2 million in scholarships have been awarded since the program began, Coker said. An outside review panel selects scholarship recipients, he noted.

The annual DeCA-Fisher House scholarship program is conducted "to honor those that serve," Coker said.

Fisher House also builds and runs living quarters on the grounds of major military installations and Veterans Affairs medical centers so family members can be close to hospitalized loved ones.

Politicians show heart

Reps go to the mat for wounded Ellenville Marine trying to get his Purple Heart.

http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2005/10/27/firetwo2.htm


By Paul Brooks
Times Herald-Record
[email protected]

Ellenville – Local members of Congress have asked the Marines for a copy of the final report on how Sgt. Eddie Ryan of Ellenville became severely wounded in Iraq.
"We want to get all the facts," said Kevin Callahan, spokesman for Rep. Sue Kelly, R-Katonah. "The congresswoman shares the family's frustration of conflicting details and wants to get them definitive answers."
Ryan was shot twice in the head April 13. One bullet struck him in the forehead and seared into his brain; the other hit him in the left jaw. Doctors originally thought he would die from the wounds. He lived and is undergoing extensive physical rehabilitation at Helen Hayes Hospital in Rockland County.
Military documents originally said that Ryan was shot by hostile enemy forces. But a Sept. 13 letter said another Marine mistook Ryan for an insurgent and accidentally shot him. That makes it a "friendly fire" incident, and the military has refused to award the Purple Heart to the wounded Marine sniper for his injuries.
Ryan's family say officials have it wrong. While it may be a "friendly fire" incident, it still was in a combat zone that qualifies Ryan for a Purple Heart. Chris Ryan, Eddie's father, says he will fight for that recognition for his son.
The key is the final investigation report of the incident. Once he gets it, then he can challenge military authorities and clear the way for the medals, Chris Ryan said. Several other of Eddie's fellow Marines deserve medals for their roles in rescuing him from the rooftop in Iraq and keeping him alive, Chris Ryan said.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey's office is also pursuing the final report. His office has filed a Freedom of Information request with the Marine Legislative Affairs office in Washington.
"We are definitely trying to help them," Jeff Lieberson, spokesman for Hinchey, D-Hurley, said about the Ryans.
Marine officials have not given a deadline on when the members of Congress will get the report, but it could be as soon as the end of the week, Callahan said.
Lt. Barry Edwards, a spokesman for the 2nd Marine Division, said the final report is still being declassified. He did not know when that might be completed.

Houston native's former DI now his platoon sergeant

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 27, 2005) -- Like many new Marines fresh out of their military occupational specialty school, Lance Cpl. Richard D. Poulis was worried he wouldn't know anyone in his unit. (1/5)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/C0EB924032D6E15B852570A70066FA20?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051027144447
Story by Cpl. Tom Sloan

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 27, 2005) -- Like many new Marines fresh out of their military occupational specialty school, Lance Cpl. Richard D. Poulis was worried he wouldn't know anyone in his unit.

The 26-year-old from Houston didn't carry that concern long, though. He soon encountered someone he knew all to well, Gunnery Sgt. Walter G. Siquieros, his senior drill instructor from Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot San Diego.

"I did a double take when I saw him at (Camp San Mateo, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif)," said Poulis.

Poulis and Siquieros were checking into 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment aboard Camp Pendleton at the same time last year.

This encounter was different from their first though. Siquieros wasn't wearing his Smokey Bear cover, the trademark of a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, and they were both Marines.

"I was glad to see Gunny," said Poulis. "I knew him. While I was in boot camp, he told me that he might see me in the fleet. Sure enough, it happened."

Siquieros was the senior drill instructor for the medical rehabilitation platoon, where Poulis spent six weeks due to a stress fracture in his foot.

According to Siquieros, Poulis stood out from the other recruits.

"Right away he took a leadership position in the platoon," said the 31-year-old Calexico, Calif. native. "He was a motivated recruit, which carried over into a Marine. He's a good, motivated Marine."

The two Marines aren't just in the same battalion; they're in the same platoon.

Siquieros is Poulis' platoon sergeant in 4th Platoon, Company B, and they are both here conducting stability and security operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Poulis, who's a machine gunner with 2nd Squad, said the things Siquieros taught him in recruit training have proven beneficial in Iraq.

"When we were in boot camp he showed us tactical decision games to prepare us for what I'm doing now," he said. "His leadership has given me an advantage because I know what to do."

Poulis also said he enjoys serving in Siquieros' platoon.

"It's great being with Gunny. He can light a fire under us when we need it."

According to Poulis he's wanted to join the Corps since childhood.

"I've always seen myself doing this," he said. "I love being a grunt. I love shooting my M240 Gulf (a medium machinegun organic to infantry companies in the Marine Corps)."

He is still undecided about his future in the Corps though.

"It's still early to determine whether or not I'm going to reenlist," he said. "I like it a lot and I'm good at my job."

Crusaders maintain aircraft for WTI

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Ariz. (Oct. 27, 2005) -- Marines from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., arrived aboard the station Sept. 24 in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-06 and since then, have been working hard maintaining the aircraft in the course. (pic at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/5DC34C72685ACDB1852570A700810A0C?opendocument


Submitted by: MCAS Yuma
Story Identification #: 20051027192927
Story by Cpl. Giovanni Lobello

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, Ariz. (Oct. 27, 2005) -- Marines from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122, out of Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., arrived aboard the station Sept. 24 in support of Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 1-06 and since then, have been working hard maintaining the aircraft in the course.

The VMFA-122 “Crusaders” deployed 10 of the 20 F/A-18 Hornets in the course and 125 maintenance Marines to ensure the aircraft are ready to fly every day.

“The 125 Marines we brought are about eighty percent of the total maintenance Marines here supporting WTI,” said Lt. Col. Kevin J. Killea, VMFA-122 commanding officer. “This is something that started last spring with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (All Weather) 225. This is good because other Hornet squadrons didn’t have to send as many Marines to support the course.”

Lt. Col. Brian Beckwith, VMFA-122 executive officer, also said having so many maintenance Marines here helps reduce the tempo for other squadrons.

“Normally WTI pulls from squadrons that just returned from the (Unit Deployment Program) or a deployment from Iraq,” added Beckwith, a Yuma, Ariz., native. “With those Marines supporting WTI, the squadrons don’t run as smoothly back at home. They have to go from a day and night crew to one crew constantly rotating in order to keep planes flying.”

Even though the Crusaders are not a part of the WTI course, they are still able to train while supporting the course, said Killea, a native of Long Island, N.Y.

“We are seeing a lot of different scenarios that we normally don’t see in Beaufort,” said Cpl. Jacob Johnson, VMFA-122 airframes mechanic and native of Tyrone, Pa. “This was also about the same tempo that I saw while I was in Iraq. I would come back and do it again.”

“The Marines are working harder out here than they ever have before,” said Sgt. Thomas M. McNellis, VMFA-122 maintenance controller. “Every day the Marines have to fix nineteen of the twenty planes. Every day there is an average of thirty sorties when, on average in Beaufort, there are about twelve sorties a day.”

“The Marines here are doing the same work as in Beaufort, but with double the load,” said Killea. “I give the Marines a lot of credit. They have been working twelve hours on and twelve hours off, six out of seven days a week. The success of the course depends on them. They must have nineteen out of twenty aircraft ready every day.”

The Crusaders’ pilots have also been afforded the opportunity to train while in Yuma.

“The pilots with the unit are here providing support for WTI events,” said Beckwith. “We are also taking advantage of the terrain here and conducting in-house training like low altitude training, air-to-air training and dropping bombs.”

“Because of the different terrain, we have been able to drop ordnance that we wouldn’t be able to in Beaufort,” said Killea. “The desert terrain has allowed us to drop ordnance like precision-guided munitions.”

The training WTI provides for the Marines enrolled and for those supporting is very important, said Killea.

“The WTI course gives a great contribution to the maintenance practice for Marines,” said Gunnery Sgt. William Hetrick, VMFA-122 staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the fixed wing seat shop. “The course takes several Marines from different squadrons and puts them together to work. That is the same scenario Marines would face in Iraq.”

If it wasn’t for the maintenance Marines, pilots wouldn’t be receiving the training they are, said Hetrick, a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.

The Crusaders will be leaving Yuma and return to MCAS Beaufort, S.C. Nov. 2.

Iraqi commander visits Marines and Iraqi soldiers in Haditha

HADITHA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The commander of Iraqi ground forces met with the Iraqi troops and leaders of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, here Oct. 12 to discuss joint successes during Operation River Gate.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/D16ED30E4564D8EA852570A800151809?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051027235024
Story by Cpl. Adam C. Schnell

HADITHA, Iraq (Oct. 28, 2005) -- The commander of Iraqi ground forces met with the Iraqi troops and leaders of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, here Oct. 12 to discuss joint successes during Operation River Gate.

Lieutenant General Abdul Qader, the commander of all Iraqi infantry forces, stepped off a helicopter in the city of Haditha with a mission to talk with leaders and spend time with troops in the area.

After arriving, he met with Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commanding officer of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, and other Marine leaders to talk about the recent operation and other issues within the city. Qader’s biggest concern was how the people dealt with having the Marines inside the city.

“Even though the city isn’t back to normal yet, the Marines always tell them they can come out of their homes and live normal lives,” commented Chessani, a Meeker, Colo., native.

The Iraqi commander then learned of the many successes the Iraqi soldiers had had while working with Marines during the recent operation. The commander was briefed on their success in everything from finding weapons caches to detaining suspected insurgent operatives.

“He told us we were doing a great job capturing bad guys and weapons in Haditha,” said Lt. Col. Mahdi, a company commander of Iraqi troops in the area. “It was also nice to see him and it showed the troops he cares about them.”

Being successful in places like Haditha is not a new thing for many of the Iraqi soldiers stationed here. Most of them fought alongside the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines in Fallujah.

“My troops have been all over the country working with Marines,” commented Mahdi. “In places like Fallujah, Najaf, and Abu Ghrayb.”

While in the area, Chessani and other Marines escorted the Iraqi general to areas in the city where Iraqi troops were stationed alongside Marines. As he visited one company of Iraqi infantrymen, his troops conducted a welcome dance.

“He was coming from South Iraq, so it is tradition that the troops welcome him with singing and dancing,” said Mahdi. “It is a traditional song that excites the troops and lets the general know that we are here and ready to fight.”

After taking time with troops, the Iraqi commander sat down with leaders of both the Marines and Iraqi troops in Haditha. The meeting consisted of the planning and coordination for the future of the Iraqi troops.

“I let him know the troops here are strong but needed supplies like food, parts for the vehicles and other equipment,” commented Mahdi.

Before he left, the troops were given advice by their commander for the upcoming days as they occupy the former insurgency-controlled city.

“He told us to be careful and not trust the streets as they become busier,” commented Mahdi. “He also told us that the people here are good people and that we should help them anyway we can.”

Family of fallen carry on legacy


A Fair Oaks couple is working hard to keep the legacy of their fallen son, Lance Cpl. Nicholas C. Kirven, alive. (3/3)

http://www.timescommunity.com/site/tab5.cfm?newsid=15465828&BRD;=2553&PAG;=461&dept;_id=511686&rfi;=6


By Layla Wilder
10/27/2005




Photo courtesy of Michael Belle

A Fair Oaks couple is working hard to keep the legacy of their fallen son, Lance Cpl. Nicholas C. Kirven, alive.

Kirven, 21, was serving in Afghanistan as a squad leader with the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Division, when he was killed during an enemy ambush on May 8.

His mother, Beth Bell, and stepfather, Michael Bell, are organizing a fund-raiser golf tournament to benefit charity and educational causes that Kirven supported.

“We wanted to create a legacy for him that would carry on what he believed in and what he did in Afghanistan,” Beth Bell said.

The First Annual Nicholas C. Kirven “Freedom Is Not Free” Memorial Golf Tournament will be at the International Country Club in Fairfax on Monday, Oct. 31.

U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-11th) will speak at the event.

Linda Poe, a neighbor who has known the family since Kirven was 6 years old, said she is not surprised the Bells are organizing the event.

“Nicholas was a very special person, and he died by paying the ultimate price for us being free,” Poe said. “For them to try to do something special out of this tragedy does not surprise me,” she added.

Some of the proceeds from the tournament will go to nonprofit organizations that help children in Afghanistan and Third World countries, according to Beth Bell.

She said Kirven's favorite part about being a Marine was helping the local children.

“We sent him beanie babies and school supplies that he gave to the children,” Beth Bell said.

“He used to write to us all of the time how the kids loved the Americans,” Michael Bell said.

Kirven, an accomplished pianist, loved music, and the Bells will also use some of the tournament's proceeds to create a scholarship fund for a music student who needs financial assistance at Paul VI High School, where Kirven spent some of his high school years.

“This was all such a part of him that we wanted to carry on the part of him that made him the happiest,” Beth Bell said.

Kirven, who was last home in October 2004, was killed with three weeks left of active duty.

He grew up in Fairfax County and attended Chantilly High School and Paul VI High School.

He graduated from Douglas S. Freeman High School in Richmond in 2002.

Kirven was planning to return to the area to attend James Madison University, according to his stepfather.

He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


A HERO'S STORY

Parkton Marine Lance Cpl. Norm Anderson lived and died a leader

http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?pnpID=806&NewsID;=671408&CategoryID;=8408&show;=localnews&om;=1


10/27/05
By Pat van den Beemt
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Norman W. Anderson III assumed many roles during his 21 years on earth.

He was the only son of Robyn and Norman Anderson II, who were in awe of their golden boy's ever-present smile and ever-present desire to serve his country.

He was the brand-new husband of Tori Worthing Anderson, 20, who married her high school sweetheart and had a mere 20 days with her husband before he left for Iraq.

He was the varsity football player at Hereford High School whose touchdown against Joppatowne helped the Bulls win the state championship in 2001.

But the role of which Anderson was most proud, the one he yearned for just about his whole life, was U.S. Marine.

And now that details of his death by a suicide car bomber in Karabilah, Iraq, on Oct. 19 are becoming known, Anderson's widow and family are proud of the final role he played.

Hero.

Fatal mission

Lance Cpl. Norman Anderson arrived in Iraq in early September, along with others from the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. In a letter to his parents dated Sept. 30, Anderson wrote about going on several missions near the Jordanian border.

"We have a mission coming up soon," he wrote. "I know I can't say anything about it beforehand, but I'll fill you in afterwards, cool?"

Anderson's parents and his wife have been able to piece together the details of his last mission from official information given them by the Marines, as well as a first-hand account from a Marine wounded in the incident.

It was about noon when Anderson and his fellow Marines were on patrol, attempting to prevent insurgents from crossing into Iraq from Jordan. The Marines were in an alley, conducting house-to-house searches, when they were startled by the sound of a car racing toward them.

Anderson immediately assessed the situation, raised his rifle and shot the driver as the car hurtled toward the unit. Seconds later, the explosives packed in the car detonated. Without its driver, the car did not penetrate very far into the mass of soldiers.

The blast killed Anderson. He was the only member of his patrol to die.

"I have no doubt in my mind that because of Norm's actions a lot of American boys are alive today," said his wife. "What he did prevented other deaths and prevented other families from having to go through what we're going through now. Norm stood his ground and did what he had to do."

His father agreed.

"Norm was the team leader, and I know he was trying to keep that vehicle from getting to his men," Norman Anderson II said.

Twelve hours after Anderson's death, two cars were dispatched by the Marines to notify his family. One car went to Monkton, where Tori has lived with her parents since her husband's deployment. The other traveled to the Andersons' Parkton home.

Robyn Anderson was in Hanover, baby-sitting her daughter Brooke's 2-year-old son. Norman Anderson II was home when he heard a car pull onto the gravel driveway.

"I went into Norm's room and looked out the window to see who it was," he said. "As soon as I saw the two people in uniform, I knew. I waited upstairs for a minute or two. I didn't want to answer the door."

After being told his son had been killed, Anderson kept asking them if they were sure. Asking if they had made a mistake.

He declined their offer to drive him to Hanover, and their offer to stay with him until Robyn returned. Anderson sat, stunned, on the front porch until his wife arrived home.

When he told her that Norm was gone, Robyn ran outside, ending up on a hill next to the house.

"I don't even remember going outside. All I know is I wanted to get away from the news. I wanted to run away from it," she said.

The Marines who arrived at the Worthings' house learned from Tori's mother, Bernadette Worthing, that Tori was at still at work. They wouldn't tell Bernadette anything.

They waited.

"I walked into the kitchen, and they were standing there," Tori Anderson said. "They only come for one reason. They didn't even have to say anything. I knew. I kicked. I screamed. I kept asking what happened, if they were sure it was Norm."

As his wife and parents continue to struggle with his loss, they hold onto the last words he spoke to them and the last words he wrote.

Tori Anderson spoke with her husband the day before his death.

"It was an unexpected call since I had talked with him four days before," she said. "He told me he was so proud of me. He told me he loved me. Our last words to each other were 'I love you.'"

Although the Andersons talked with their son a few days before he died, it is the final paragraph in his Sept. 30 letter that they read again and again.

"All right, I'm closing. Tell everyone I said hello and that I'm holding the front lines down. I love you both very much and I am so grateful to have you two as parents, I'm returning the favor by trying, I'll make you proud."

Stormin' Norman

Norman Anderson III was born into a military family on July 21, 1984. His grandfather served in the Navy, and his father had been in the Army. He and his older sister, Brooke, often played together in their Parkton home, but Anderson frequently took his father's old Army helmet, went into the woods by himself and played soldier.

"Norm was full of energy as a kid," Robyn Anderson said. "He would get into mischief, but then he'd give you this great smile, and it would be hard to get mad at him."

Anderson attended Seventh District Elementary, Hereford Middle and Hereford High. Long before he was given history assignments as homework, he pored over history books and watched war movies. He knew details about battles from the Civil War through Vietnam.

Although he knew he wanted to join the Marines after high school, Anderson tried to enlist in his senior year, after the terrorists' attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His parents talked him into finishing high school before signing up.

His mother said he had two loves in life - football and the Marines - until he met Tori Worthing at Hereford High; then, he had three.

The pair started dating when she was a junior and he was a senior.

"I told myself I was going to marry Norm after our first date," Tori recalled. "He was my soul mate."

Norm Anderson was crazy about Tori, but he was also so gung-ho on the prospect of joining the Marines that the other Hereford football players called him "Stormin' Norman," a nickname given former Gulf War commander Norman Schwarzkopf.

"I've known Norm since ninth grade, and being a Marine was all he ever talked about," said Tim Ruff, a 2002 Hereford grad and football player. After hearing about Anderson's death, Ruff flew home from the University of South Florida to attend a ceremony honoring Anderson before the Bulls' Oct. 21 football game.

Standing on the 50-yard-line in front of a solemn, silent crowd, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett gave Anderson's parents an American flag that had flown over the Capitol.

Hereford's football coach, Steve Turnbaugh, officially retired jersey No. 33 - Anderson's number as a varsity player. He then gave Anderson's wife and parents a No. 33 jersey.

"Norm approached the Marine Corps like the football field. He held nothing back. He laid it all on the line. The team came first," Turnbaugh said before the Oct. 21 ceremony. "He's a real hero, and he'll be sorely missed."

Doing his duty

Six months after his May 2002 graduation from Hereford, Anderson was off to Marine boot camp. Five months after that, he was on his way to Afghanistan.

During his seven months there, Anderson received dozens of care packages from home and kept in touch with his parents and girlfriend via phone and e-mail.

He returned safely to U.S. soil last December in time for Christmas, then went to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for more training before being sent to Iraq.

Tori Worthing joined him in North Carolina. He proposed to her at the end of May, on the day he left for a month's pre- deployment training in California.

"It was 3:45 in the morning and just before I drove him to the base he got down on one knee outside on the front lawn, pulled out a beautiful engagement ring and asked me to marry him," Tori Anderson said. "I jumped on him, tackled him to the ground, and said, 'Yes.'"

She flew home to Maryland and within a month arranged a wedding. They were married at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hunt Valley on Aug. 5.

Following a reception at the Manor Tavern, they had a "mini-moon" in Baltimore.

On Aug. 25, Anderson's new wife, her parents and his family said goodbye as he began his long journey to Iraq. They all hoped, prayed and expected to see him again.

"Before he left, he told me that until he did his part, he wouldn't feel right," Tori Anderson said. "He made it very clear to me that it was time to do his duty."

Anderson's parents said anyone who knew their son knew that he was where he wanted to be, doing what he wanted to do.

"He really felt like he was making a difference there," Norman Anderson said. "He said the Iraqi people want us there, that there were a lot of positive things going on over there that aren't being reported. We truly believe that Norm died doing exactly what he wanted to do."

Norman Anderson III will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a ceremony at 2 p.m. Nov. 1.

Buses will leave from the Jenkins Funeral Home, 16924 York Road, Hereford, at 10:30 a.m. to go to Arlington. The Anderson family said the buses are available for anyone in the community who wishes to attend their son's burial.

A scholarship fund in his name has been established. Anyone wishing to contribute is asked to send a check payable to the Norman Anderson Scholarship Fund, Hereford High School, 17301 York Road, Parkton, MD 21120.

E-mail Pat van den Beemt at Pat van den [email protected]

Marine In Iraq To Run MS Marathon Remotely

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Marine Lt. Col. Steve Grass will be running in a Washington marathon this weekend, even though he's in Iraq.

http://www.channel3000.com/health/5188789/detail.html

POSTED: 10:25 am CDT October 27, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Marine Lt. Col. Steve Grass will be running in a Washington marathon this weekend, even though he's in Iraq.

As thousands of runners circle the monuments in the nation's capital, Grass will be taking part in the Marine Corps Marathon, too. But he'll join the marathon remotely, running 26.2 miles around the Iraqi training base where he's stationed.

Grass is one of 45 people who will run the marathon for Destination Cure -- The Race Against MS. The national nonprofit group is dedicated to raising money for multiple sclerosis research.

Grass' mother has the disease. Last year, Grass and his fellow runners raised $300,000.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Fellow Marines fondly remember comrade who no longer answers the call

Fellow Marines fondly remember comrade who no longer answers the call

http://www.navytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1206253.php

By Gordon Trowbridge
Times staff writer


SADAH, Iraq — “Lance Corporal Anderson?”
Three times, Staff Sgt. John Knight made the call.

“Lance Corporal Anderson? Lance Corporal Anderson?”

Lance Cpl. Norman W. Anderson would not answer. As his platoon mates stood at attention, a small pedestal adorned with an upturned rifle, empty boots, helmet and dog tags marked his absence. Five days before, on Oct. 19, the blast of a suicide car bomb had taken the life of the 21-year-old newlywed from Parkton, Md.

Fifty or so of his fellow Marines had gathered in the bright sunlight and dust of Battle Position Iwo Jima — nearly within sight of the spot where he lost his life — to remember him, in a scene played out hundreds of times over the last two and a half years as the U.S. military toll in Iraq has climbed past 2,000.

“He was just a great man,” Lance Cpl. Jed Maki told his platoon mates during the service.

Maki, from the small town of Ewen in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, had roomed with Anderson before his comrade’s marriage earlier this year.

“What would he want us to do? Stay here inside the wire and be scared? He’d want us to do our jobs,” Maki said.

And so his colleagues in Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines did so on the afternoon of Anderson’s death. Immediately after the car bomb that killed Anderson and wounded several other Marines, platoon and company leaders gathered their troops and marched them back outside their outpost for a patrol.

“I told them, ‘This will be a turning point for each of you — you can go out there, cutting off ears, looking for revenge, or you can be professionals and do your job,’ ” said Gunnery Sgt. Bill Bodette, the company gunny.

“We had to go out and show force,” Maki said later. “We had to go right back out there and show we’re not going to tolerate that sort of thing.”

Maki lost not only a friend, but a key co-worker whom he called “a natural leader,” quiet but intense, willing to make sure fellow Marines were doing their jobs.

Younger, less experienced troops — who, unlike Anderson, had not served in the battalion’s deployment to Afghanistan — would have to step up.

But for good and ill, Maki said, the memorial focused the Marines’ minds on the loss of a treasured friend.

“He’s a loving, caring man,” Maki said, still speaking at times in the present tense. “Just the way he handled himself ... a total professional."

A father's tribute to fallen son: Gray is my favorite color

The following was written by Ben Cockerham, father of fallen Marine Benny Gray Cockerham III. Gray died Friday in Iraq...


http://www.hickoryrecord.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=HDR/MGArticle/HDR_BasicArticle&c;=MGArticle&cid;=1128767770630&path;=!news!localnews


Hickory Daily Record
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Gray is my favorite color

Every morning Just before the rising of the sun the world is Gray. Expectant and hopeful for opportunities; anticipation embodied. Half sunshine half rain, Poised to run either direction, the shape of things are formed with a shift of the wind.
The Clouds and Sun battle for the dominance of bright sky and dark cloud. On occasion, when the conditions are just right. Perfect balance is achieved and Gray is born.
It happened once on June 28, 1984 on a Marine Corps Base in California. The Navy nurse said, “Why would anyone name a child like this Gray. You should call him Sunshine.” She was not present at the birth in the early morning. She was not present during the struggle of labor in the predawn. She was unaware that Gray is Sunshine and Cloud, the personification of this child.
Gray is the blur of perpetual motion, on to the next as the first is done. With fingers spread wide in the relaxed sleep of Angels, Gray is the color of Down, soft and peaceful readying for the next race. Always in a hurry, nothing left behind, no regrets.
Gray is the color of Ocean, reflected in the wonder of a child’s eyes, the color of a Thunderstorm, adolescence in all its rage and glory. Gray is the clear gleam of Steel reflected from the determination and pride of a Marine’s face. Gray is Smoke, rising form from a chimney guiding you home promising comfort.
On Oct. 21, 2005 in a place called Zaidon, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, protecting those less able, Cpl. Benny “GRAY” Cockerham III, USMC, became dark to Gray no more.
Gray is my favorite color and if you get a chance in the predawn light, as you wait with anticipation the coming day, look anew at Gray. When you do I hope this helps you remember to: Live life with wonder, ready to change with the shift of the wind. When you must fight, do so with all the fury you possess. Be in constant motion and leave no regrets. Truly relax when time permits for the next race must be run. Be determined in all you do because this determines your success. Appreciate the home fires; family should come before all things. Love unconditionally and sacrifice as if you were Gray.

Semper Fidelis,
Dad

October 26, 2005

Military Working Dog Takes Away Bomb's Bang.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif., Oct. 26, 2005 — From the deserts of Iraq to the grassy slopes of Afghanistan, there has always been an impending threat of disaster. However, with the help of one of man’s best friends, Kwinto, this threat has been slightly reduced. (24th MEU / pic at ext. link)

http://www.defendamerica.mil/profiles/oct2005/pr102605a.html

By Lance Cpl. James B. Hoke
Marine Corps Air Station Miramar
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif., Oct. 26, 2005 — From the deserts of Iraq to the grassy slopes of Afghanistan, there has always been an impending threat of disaster. However, with the help of one of man’s best friends, Kwinto, this threat has been slightly reduced.

Kwinto, a military working dog on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, is an 8-year-old Belgium Malinois whose area of expertise is patrolling for and detecting explosives.

“Kwinto was accepted for training in September of 1999,” said Cpl. Leroy J. Becker, military working dog handler, Provost Marshal’s Office. “He’s been in the Marine Corps for six years and has deployed four times.”

The deadly but lovable canine has deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq in a span of only four years.

“During the Afghanistan deployment, he was mainly used for base security,” said Becker. “He was also used for the ambassador and would clear buildings before the ambassador would go into them.”

With more than 21 months of total deployed time, Kwinto helped discover explosives in Iraq that otherwise may have been overlooked.

“His actual finds in Iraq were weapons caches, weapons payloads, (improvised explosive devices) and (rocket-propelled grenade) rounds,” said the native of San Jose, Calif. “He found a 125mm propellant charge, three RPG heads, four 60-pound bags of FE-4, which are the explosives used in IEDs and several anti-aircraft rounds, which were found buried three feet under ground.”

When Kwinto isn’t on the job he is often found taking up his “liberty” time chewing on his favorite chew toy — his bit tugs.

“He loves playing with his bit tugs,” said Sgt. Ken Porras, chief trainer, military working dog section. “His favorite game with them is tug-o-war. He also loves to fetch. He’s just a big love hound.”

Ever since dogs were brought into the military during World War II, they have performed tasks that have saved the lives of many servicemembers.


“Military working dogs are a huge tool in finding explosives, explosive caches, weapons and IEDs,” said Porras. “They’re also a psychological deterrent. If someone sees the dog at the gate, they will think twice before approaching.”

However, the effects of time do wear on military working dogs and cause some to lose their drive to work.

“German shepherds, because of their hip dysplasia, will last between seven and ten years on the job,” said Becker. “A Belgium Malinois can last twelve years. It all depends on the dog’s health and drive to work, as well as its control capabilities.”

Although all dogs will eventually reach the end of their service, Kwinto’s career is far from over.

“Kwinto is the perfect military working dog because he can bite when it’s time to,” said Porras, a native of North Bergen, N.J. “He’s an awesome detection dog. He’s just a big loving goofball when he’s not working.

“He knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play,” Porras concluded. “That’s what I think makes him such a great dog.”

Mother of fallen Marine speaks out against war protests

"It's a pain that I know will never go away. It will be there every morning that I wake up and every night when I go to sleep. I feel like Larry is standing at my bed every morning and he tucks me in every night," says Leesa.

http://www.wtnh.com/Global/story.asp?S=4033772&nav;=3YeX


(West Hartford-WTNH, Oct. 26, 2005 6:30 PM) _ There are war protests getting underway across Connecticut tonight, marking a somber milestone in Iraq.

The number of troops killed has topped 2,000 and tonight the mother of a fallen Connecticut Marine is urging the country to stand together.

* by News Channel 8's Darren Duarte

Leesa Philippon says she will never totally heal from her son's death.

22-year-old Lance Cpl. Lawrence R. Philippon was killed last Mother's Day fighting insurgents in Iraq.

"It's a pain that I know will never go away. It will be there every morning that I wake up and every night when I go to sleep. I feel like Larry is standing at my bed every morning and he tucks me in every night," says Leesa.

She says she will never forget the night that a Marine came to her door to tell her that her eldest son died in battle. That deep emotional pain returned this week after the number of Americans killed in Iraq reached 2,000.

"My heart breaks every time I hear of any of our troops being killed. I know that knock on the door. I know that fear. The 2,000th is as important as the first one that died," says Leesa.

As Americans around the country and here at home plan to hold vigils honoring the fallen and protest the war this West Hartford mother believes their actions may be dividing the nation even more.

"If my son had been dragged into that office to raise his hand to say I will go to war and my son was drafted, then I think those parents would have a right to question. My son, he raised his hand. He said he will honor the Commander in Chief and that he will fight for freedom."

CD dedicated to fallen marine

Pasadena resident Kristy Ruscher remembers that vivid day when she received a phone call, while at choir practice, that longtime family friend Lance Cpl. Phillip George was killed while serving in Afghanistan.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15450054&BRD;=1574&PAG;=461&dept;_id=532238&rfi;=6


By:Jeri Martinez, Citizen Intern
10/25/2005


Pasadena resident Kristy Ruscher remembers that vivid day when she received a phone call, while at choir practice, that longtime family friend Lance Cpl. Phillip George was killed while serving in Afghanistan.

Ruscher and her husband, Charlie, started a solo ministry called Ruscher Ministries. This ministry is to promote God's word in song and their mission is to market Christian music to major concert halls, festival events, churches, state fairs, network television and theme parks.

Before this incident, Ruscher was already in the process of recording a southern gospel album.

"I just couldn't decide what songs to put on there and what kind of artwork," Ruscher said. "I had no clue what to do and time was getting closer and closer to when I had to record."

She wanted to figure out a way that she could help the family since the death of a soldier hit so close to home, but she still could not figure out a way to help them cope with the situation.

While sitting at George's funeral she was not be sure if it was God or just a "light bulb" that went off and told her that the best way that she could honor him, what he did and how he died was to dedicate her CD to him. She did not want to just honor him but also honor those men and women that are still fighting overseas.

The day after the funeral she called George's mother, Penny, and told her what she wanted to do. She just cried and told her to let them think about it.

A week before she was to record the CD she called George and asked her if "I can or cannot dedicate the CD to Phillip and she told me to come by and get a picture of him," Ruscher said.

She had to find more songs to learn and do since she did not have any patriotic songs and the CD was originally going to consist of all southern gospel songs. Now the CD consists of mostly patriotic songs. She learned the songs a week and a half before going to record. which was hard for her to do.

While she was recording she thought of the words in the songs and thought about the stories that she heard while at the funeral, and viewing from the soldiers and their wives about what they went through.

"These stories hit me like a brick wall and this is the best way to explain what inspired me to do the CD the way I did because it's totally night and day of how I was going to do it ," she said.

The CD is called "Heroes" and consists of 10 songs.

She said it makes her feel that, by recording this CD, she can make people aware of the sacrifices men and women put on their lives everyday so Americans can have their freedom.

"If you see someone in camouflage or even a dignitary, such as a firefighter and police officer, walk up to them and thank them for what they do and for putting their lives on the line everyday," she said.

Many military wives have been buying the CD and sending them over to Iraq in care packages. Ruscher was told that the soldiers were realizing that they are being appreciated and that there is hope that this whole situation will end one day.

Ruscher was contacted by the aunt of a solider that was killed in the line of duty and wanted the CD so that they could play it at his memorial service in Georgia. The aunt heard the CD before getting the news of her nephew and loved it.

Ruscher could not believe what she was hearing and said, "What?!"

"To me this is an honor just knowing that my words and my voice were healing someone," she said. "It blows me away and I am not one for attention and I am sure getting it."

She made 100 copies of "Heroes" and expected to have them for a while, but she is now on the second batch of 100 and has about 30 left. She has already had to make more and is having a hard time keeping up with them.

The CDs sell for $15 and can be purchased by calling Ruscher. There is no shipping cost to have them mailed. The proceeds go back to the ministries, which in turn pays for more CDs to be copied.

For anyone wanting to purchase a copy of "Heroes," contact Ruscher at 281-991-3524 or by e-mail at [email protected]

III MEF Marines and sailors prepared to deploy to Pakistan for relief efforts

Press Release
Public Affairs Office

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/releaseview/BC7BD43D0D2069CB852570A8005E97DD?opendocument


Consolidated Public Affairs Office; Okinawa, Japan


Contact: [email protected]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Release # 1028-05-1313
III MEF Marines and sailors prepared to deploy to Pakistan for relief efforts
Oct. 26, 2005

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP SMEDLEY D. BUTLER, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines and sailors from 3rd Marine Logistics Group are prepared to deploy and offer humanitarian assistance near Muzaffarabad, Pakistan in the wake of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that left more than 2.2 million homeless.

U.S. forces from Okinawa, Japan, are moving rapidly to respond to this crisis in order to prevent further loss of life, mitigate human suffering and perform life-saving medical treatment for those in dire need.

The deploying units are task organized for this mission and include the 3rd Medical Battalion’s Bravo Surgical Company. Assets include an emergency room tent, an operating room suite, mobile laboratory, X-ray services, pharmacy and 60 cots for patients. Once we’re set up in Pakistan the surgical company will be able to begin seeing patients in six hours, said Navy Capt. David R. Davis, commanding officer for 3rd Medical Battalion.

The U.S. and the government of Pakistan are working in close coordination to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of this earthquake, which resulted in more than 50,000 dead and 70,000 injured.

Shot twice in a week, Marine dubbed ‘Lucky’

2-3 Marine wounded in two separate Afghanistan firefights

By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, October 26, 2005

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — To the U.S. Marine Corps, he’s known as Lance Cpl. John McClellan of Company E’s combined anti-armor team, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

To continue reading:

http://www.stripes.com/news/shot-twice-in-a-week-marine-dubbed-lucky-1.40109

‘Snipe hunts’ prove to be a hit or miss affair

SADAH, Iraq — It was, Cpl. Jereme Roodhouse agreed, just like a snipe hunt. As a church camp counselor in his younger days back home in Michigan, Roodhouse had led campers on nighttime hunts for the mythical animal. The joke, of course, was that there is no such thing as a snipe. (3/6)

http://www.marinetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1198892.php


By Gordon Trowbridge
Times staff writer

SADAH, Iraq — It was, Cpl. Jereme Roodhouse agreed, just like a snipe hunt. As a church camp counselor in his younger days back home in Michigan, Roodhouse had led campers on nighttime hunts for the mythical animal. The joke, of course, was that there is no such thing as a snipe.

After seven hours of walking the streets of this Euphrates River town and following up one fruitless intelligence tip after another, cold, hard facts on the insurgents Roodhouse knew were operating in Sadah seemed snipe-like in their scarcity.

“Nobody here knows anything,” said Roodhouse, 23, of Holland, Mich. “These people are too scared to help us.”

Roodhouse, an infantry squad leader in Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, and the rest of his unit have been patrolling Sadah for roughly three weeks after sweeping through during Operation Iron Fist in early October. From a dusty hilltop outpost named for the World War II Marine victory at Iwo Jima, and a similar spot farther west called Chosin, the company has been working to hold the territory they’ve captured, trying to flush out remaining insurgents and keep others from moving back into the village from the far shore of the Euphrates or from the desert wasteland to the south.

Since establishing their combat outposts, the Marines say they have received a steady stream of intelligence tips from residents who have gradually become convinced that the U.S. troops and their Iraqi counterparts are in town to stay.

Some tips lead to progress, such as the news that a white Chevrolet Caprice with a missing back tire was being prepared as a car bomb.

A patrol led by 1st Platoon’s commander, 2nd Lt. Brian Fischesser, found the Caprice just where intelligence had predicted. A thermite grenade placed by an explosive ordnance disposal robot in the car’s back seat didn’t set off any explosions, but a search of the house found a small cache of AK-47 rifles and collection of wires and batteries — ingredients for roadside bombs — stuffed inside a television, and an ammunition magazine for a Dragunov sniper rifle.

“These guys,” Fischesser said, “have to be dirty.”

Other tips are less productive. Two days after the Caprice discovery, 1st Platoon was in a hurry, setting up a night raid not far from Iwo Jima. Another intelligence source had indicated a weapons cache was buried outside a walled compound containing several houses.

The intelligence was so specific that the Marines walked straight to the spots in question. But after a half-hour huddled around the spots, taking turns with shovels and any other tool they could find, a half-dozen officers and senior noncommissioned officers found themselves shaking their heads, staring into two empty holes.

For one night, at least, no snipes to be found.

Constant training helps keep up with the high operational tempo

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.(Oct. 26, 2005) -- Second Marine Expeditionary Force has been at a very high operational tempo since the war in Iraq began March 2003. Next to safety, training Marines and Sailors to perform on the battlefield has become the number one priority here. (8th ESB / 2nd FSSG / pics at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/DF9DBF1646F03545852570A60062FDE1?opendocument


Submitted by:
2nd Force Service Support Group
Story by:
Computed Name: Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker
Story Identification #:
2005102614115

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.(Oct. 26, 2005) -- Second Marine Expeditionary Force has been at a very high operational tempo since the war in Iraq began March 2003. Next to safety, training Marines and Sailors to perform on the battlefield has become the number one priority here.

The Battle Skills Training School trains Marines and Sailors both inside the classroom and during practical application.

Recently, the school conducted an eight-day evolution covering areas such as convoy operations, Military Operations in Urban Terrain, how to act and react to improvised explosive devices, how to conduct themselves with the citizens and how to handle detainees.

“The training we provide here is constantly changing,” said Staff Sgt. Calvin L. Hughes II, director of the school. “We’re here to bring the standards of training up to meet the demands of the Iraq environment.”

Many service members whose specialties do not include combat arms assume they will not need this training for Iraq, which if far from the truth.

“A lot of times when they’re putting a squad together for a patrol, they just pick names off the roster,” said Hughes. “It doesn’t matter if you’re turning a wrench or filling out paperwork – everyone benefits from this training. If not yourself, then the man next to you depending on you to know what’s going on.”

Several units with 2nd Force Service Support Group participated in the eight-day, pre-deployment evolution.

The units included Marines and Sailors with 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Service Support Detachment 21, Military Police Battalion and Headquarters and Service Battalion.

Overall, the BSTS provides a facility that teaches up-to-date techniques, which allows service members to embark on their deployment with the utmost knowledge and confidence.

“This will be my first deployment, and I feel this training has really boosted my confidence,” said Lance Cpl. Kristine L. Jones, a postal clerk with the base Post Office. “I know the things I learn here will definitely help me and potentially save lives in Iraq.”

Marines sharpen skills at CPX

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.(Oct. 26, 2005) -- As the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Command Element begins training for its deployment next spring, the Marines and sailors built on the real-world experience gained from supporting humanitarian efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/254583A04ED389ED852570A6006F8FD9?opendocument


Submitted by:
24th MEU
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Rocco Defilippis
Story Identification #:
20051026161833

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.(Oct. 26, 2005) -- As the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit Command Element begins training for its deployment next spring, the Marines and sailors built on the real-world experience gained from supporting humanitarian efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

During the MEU’s command post exercise Oct. 24-27, the Marines used lessons learned during their time in the Gulf Coast to hone their skills in setting up and running an expeditionary command operations center.

After standing up the COC and beginning the training scenario, the Marines focused on internal coordination and reporting requirements as they worked the kinks out of their command-and-control procedures.

Roadside Bomb Kills Another Local Marine In Iraq

Mariemont Grad Leaves Behind Wife, Three Kids

http://http://www.channelcincinnati.com/news/5182151/detail.html

POSTED: 3:18 pm EDT October 26, 2005

CINCINNATI -- Another Marine from the Tri-State has been killed in Iraq, officials said.

Capt. Tyler B. Swisher, 35, of Cincinnati, died Friday when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive during combat against insurgents near Al Amariyah.

Swisher and another Marine were thrown from their vehicle and went into a nearby canal.

They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.


Swisher attended Mariemont High School. Family friend Jack Buchholz said Swisher was found to have a learning disablity, but struggled to overcome the obstacle.

"Not only did he overcome his learning disablity, but he ended up on the honor roll in his senior year at Mariemont," Buchholz said.

After graduating from Butler University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1993, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

"He worked his way up," Buchholz said. "He went in, did the grunt work, went to boot camp, and always did the extra at boot camp."

He had been the commanding officer for his Marine company in Iraq. He was on his third tour of duty in the war-torn nation and had planned two more.

"He always excelled in whatever he did," Buchholz said. "Whenever someone said no, he said yes and did even better."

Swisher leaves behind a wife, two daughters, ages 15 and 7, and a 5-year-old son. They live near Camp Lejeune.

His parents, David and Mary Beth, live in Mariemont.

Stay tuned to News 5 and refresh ChannelCincinnati.com for more details.

Copyright 2005 by ChannelCincinnati.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Marines bring smiles to front-line troops

AR RAMADI, Iraq(Oct. 26, 2005) -- Some service members walk away with a snack, maybe a can of soda or a pack of cigarettes, but one thing that everyone walks away with is a smile on their face. (2nd FSSG / pics at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/688B75B60011C8C8852570A6005985A8?opendocument


Submitted by:
2nd Force Service Support Group
Story by:
Computed Name: Lance Cpl. Wayne C. Edmiston
Story Identification #:
20051026121749

AR RAMADI, Iraq(Oct. 26, 2005) -- Some service members walk away with a snack, maybe a can of soda or a pack of cigarettes, but one thing that everyone walks away with is a smile on their face.

Traveling from Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, a small group of Marines loads up and heads out to various forward operating bases. Their mission -- to provide a small piece of comfort to service members who don’t have the luxury of an immediate post exchange at their location.

Today’s stop is Combat Outpost, located in the heart of Ramadi and the center of the fight, but that doesn’t stop the exchange Marines.

“The mobile PX was something that was used during Operation Desert Storm to bring the exchange to forward deployed troops,” said Master Sgt. Elvis S. Dixon, the operations chief at the Camp Taqaddum post-exchange

These select three Marines are responsible for running an entire store with minimum manpower.
The Marines have many responsibilities to include financial and stock management, intense preparation and long hours, said Lance Cpl. Robert C. Owens, an exchange Marine.

“Just being a lance corporal, I have many responsibilities,” said Owens. “When we set up the [exchange] we are open as much as we can, and sometimes just one of us is left to run the store while others are resting.”

Bringing the post exchange to the troops has proven to be a morale booster to the Marines running it as well as the service members benefiting from it.

Seeing a smile on their face is just one of the many things that motivate the Marines participating in the operation, said Owens, a Houma, La., native.

“It is extremely motivating to see [service members] who haven’t had anything for a long time,” said Lance Cpl. Juan J. Rivera, an exchange Marine and Dateland, Ariz., native. “It’s great to see them be able to spend their hard earned money and have them look forward to something; it boosts my morale as much as theirs.”

Being in a combat environment does not intimidate the exchange Marines. Their dedication to providing a little taste of home for the troops here helps them to endure the front, Dixon explained.

“They are out here fighting everyday, and it’s our responsibility to serve them,” Dixon said. “If I could go right to the front lines and sell a couple of Mountain Dews I would.”
Dixon also speaks of his Marines’ outstanding performance.

“It’s in Iraq you get to see the potential of many of the young Lance Cpl’s out here,” the Englewood, N.J. native said. “These exchange Marines are doing an outstanding job; sometimes I want to stand back and bow down to them for their cooperation.”

THREE WISHES (10/28; PROGRAM CHANGE 2)

"THREE WISHES" FOR U.S. TROOPS: NEW HOMES FOR RETURNING MARINES FROM A DIVISION WHICH LOST 48 MEN IN COMBAT

http://www.marineparents.com/usmc/press-3wishes.asp


THREE WISHES (10/28; PROGRAM CHANGE 2)
Air Date: 10/28/05 (FRIDAY)
Time Slot: 9:00 PM-10:00 PM EST on NBC
Episode Title: "Military Homecoming"

Friday, October 28 2005
THREE WISHES --(9:00PM-10:00PM) --(TV-PG)
"Military Homecoming"

"THREE WISHES" FOR U.S. TROOPS: NEW HOMES FOR RETURNING MARINES FROM A DIVISION WHICH LOST 48 MEN IN COMBAT

In this special military episode, the "Three Wishes" team travels to Ohio to honor Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment as they return home from serving in Iraq. One Marine steps off a plane from his tour of duty and meets his infant son for the first time, but that's just the beginning. The team -- along with countless friends and neighbors present him with a house, giving him an amazing homecoming he'll never forget. Two close-knit cousins who thought they were returning home to live in the family basement instead learn they have a new home plus two other incredible surprises. Also, a dream home is presented to the widow -- now raising two young children alone -- of an Army soldier killed by a roadside bomb while training Iraqi Police forces in Baghdad. And, a young Marine gets the surprise of his life when Three Wishes helps his fiance throw him a surprise wedding in front of his friends, family and fellow Marines. Country music star Craig Morgan makes a special appearance.

The above press release was issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.

Flag discovered at grave site

A flag stolen from Diane Chandler's home found a new home at the grave site of Michael D. Anderson Jr.

Flag discovered at grave site
Fallen Marine's family finds banner; owner wants it to stay at plot
http://www.modbee.com/local/story/11398892p-12144772c.html

MARTY BICEK/THE BEE

By ROGER W. HOSKINS
BEE STAFF WRITER
Last Updated: October 26, 2005, 06:34:26 AM PDT

Somewhere between indignation and outrage, Marine mom Diane Chandler did an abrupt about-face.

Tuesday, she found the Marine Corps flag she had hung to honor her son Jeff, who is serving near Baghdad, Iraq. The banner had been missing since Saturday morning.

But Chandler no longer wants the flag back. She wants it to stay right where it is: Decorating the grave of Marine Cpl. Michael D. Anderson Jr., who was killed in action in Iraq last year.

Michael D. Anderson Sr. and his wife, Angela, discovered the flag on Michael Jr.'s grave Sunday at Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson.

"We put fresh flowers on Michael's grave every week," Anderson said. "We just thought it was a nice touch."

The 11-inch-by-14-inch flag rests in front of the Anderson headstone. Two potted flowers, a surfer Bratz doll and replica dog tags rest on top of the marker.

Chandler, the Andersons and a Marine comrade of Mike Jr.'s, Terry Van Doorn, gathered at the grave Tuesday afternoon and marveled about the coincidences that brought them together.

Angela Anderson had taken The Bee to work Tuesday and saved it to read on her morning break. A story about a Marine mother caught her attention. "I called my husband and told him I thought the flag on Michael's grave was the one in the story that (Diane) was looking for."

Anderson agreed but could not find Chandler's name in the phone book. So his wife hopped in her car and drove down Bowen Avenue looking for the makeshift sign that was shown in the newspaper. It closed with a "Shame on You!" exclamation.

She found the home and knocked on the door. She explained why she was there, and Chandler invited her in.

Angela Anderson's description was a match for Chandler's missing flag.

Tuesday, at young Anderson's grave, Chandler said she'll never move the flag. "It's right where it belongs, honoring a Marine."

Michael Anderson Sr. isn't sure who brought the flag to stand beside his son's grave. He does know how he'd feel if someone had stolen any of his Marine keepsakes: "It would be just awful. I'd be out there with my rifles trying to hunt the dogs down."

The Andersons had every intention of returning the flag, but Chandler won't consider it.

Angela Anderson, looking at the grave, said, "Good can come from something bad."

The Andersons are unofficially adopting Jeff Chandler and are preparing to mail him care packages in Iraq.

"I know what the boys over there need and want," Michael Anderson said.

The worst Chandler will say now about the culprit who copped her Marine banner is that it was "a misguided patriot. If they would have asked, I would have given it to them."

In Chandler's long view, she didn't lose a flag. She gained some lifetime friends.

Bee staff writer Roger W. Hoskins can be reached at 578-2311 or [email protected]

Logistics Marine receives Bronze Star

CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan(Oct. 25, 2005) -- Brig. Gen. Frank A. Panter, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, presents the Bronze Star to Master Gunnery Sgt. Robert J. Williams in front of the MLG headquarters building Oct. 24.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/45444ED3101D428E852570A60025E8A9?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Camp Butler
Story by:
Computed Name: Lance Cpl. Terence L. Yancey
Story Identification #:
200510262543

CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan(Oct. 25, 2005) -- Brig. Gen. Frank A. Panter, the commanding general of 3rd Marine Logistics Group, presents the Bronze Star to Master Gunnery Sgt. Robert J. Williams in front of the MLG headquarters building Oct. 24. Williams received the award for his service as senior enlisted advisor for logistics to the First Division, Iraqi Intervention Force in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Dec. 3, 2004 to June 25, 2005. Williams was attached to II Marine Expeditionary Force during that time. According to his citation, he helped accelerate the formation of a combat-ready Iraqi Division that played a vital role in Iraq’s long-term national security interests. Williams is the operations chief for 3rd MLG.

Shot twice in a week, Marine dubbed ‘Lucky’

2/3 Marine wounded in two separate Afghanistan firefights

By Steve Mraz
Stars and Stripes
Published: October 26, 2005

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — To the U.S. Marine Corps, he’s known as Lance Cpl. John McClellan of Company E’s combined anti-armor team, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

To continue reading:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article;=32518

Recon Marine fights through injuries, takes out insurgents

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 25, 2005) -- The Marines of Iraqi Army Platoon, Echo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, clashed with insurgents in the month leading up to the unit’s relief in place.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/D9BF53420E08AE6F852570A6002B04DC?opendocument


Submitted by: II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story Identification #: 2005102634952
Story by Cpl. Evan M. Eagan

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 25, 2005) -- The Marines of Iraqi Army Platoon, Echo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, clashed with insurgents in the month leading up to the unit’s relief in place.
Nearing the end of their seven-month deployment and after spending more than a month in Ferris Town and Al Amariyah in support of Operation Southern Fire, Sgt. Joe Gonsalez, platoon sergeant, IA Platoon, was conducting a familiarization foot patrol in Al Amariyah with the incoming team from 1st Reconnaissance Battalion.

On Oct. 2, as the patrol came to a halt in front of Al Amariyah’s market area, Gonsalez attempted to stop vehicle traffic on the road running parallel to the market and came face-to-face with the insurgency.

“I was trying to stop the traffic heading in both directions, but a black vehicle kept coming and didn’t want to stop,” said Gonsalez, a San Antonio native. “I presented my weapon, but I was concerned about taking a shot because of children and other people in the road. But then a kid jumped out in the road and stopped the vehicle.”

After stopping, the personnel exited the vehicle and began apologizing to the Marines for not understanding their orders.

Because they posed no immediate threat, little attention was given to the men, who were now standing off to the side of the road.

Moments later Gonsalez became suspicious of the vehicle because, although the men were not in the vehicle, it was still running.

“I noticed the black vehicle was still running, but the personnel were not in it,” he said. “I approached the vehicle and looked inside, but it looked clean to me. Then I looked at the passenger side and saw a headdress layed between the seat and floor board. I walked around to the passenger side and picked up the headdress and found an AK47 with a magazine inserted and two more magazines on the deck. Obviously something was up.”

At this point the occupants of the vehicle made an escape. Gonsalez immediately gave the order to shut down the market, not allowing anyone to enter or leave, and began looking for the most obvious escape route.

“I had a good image of their faces and did a quick search of the area,” said the 30-year-old. “I ran by some shops but had no visual on them. I kept looking and saw them a little ways off.”

Gonsalez then gave the individuals the order to stop in Arabic, but the men took off in an all out run.

“I gave chase and yelled for them to stop again at which point they turned around in an aggressive posture,” he said recalling definitively. “There were three individuals and I put them down.”

Continuing to approach the men, two of which were showing no signs of movement, Gonsalez and another Marine realized the third insurgent was not dead.

“As we approached, the third person threw a grenade at us,” he said. “It detonated in between me and another Marine, exploding in front of me and behind the other Marine. Realizing the severity of the situation, I finished the job.”

More Marines and Iraqi soldiers were on the scene and continued a hold on the lifeless insurgents and set up a perimeter of security.

“I noticed my legs didn’t feel the same,” said Gonsalez, who is serving his second tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “I moved to a covered position and got a better idea of the threat and my injuries. When I looked down, I noticed both legs bleeding. I was unsure of the status of the other Marines and thought I was the only one injured. When I yelled to another Marine he told me he was injured also.”

Three Marines and two Iraqi soldiers were injured as a result of the blast.

Gonsalez received shrapnel to both calves and his upper left thigh and was treated by Cpl. Brian Andrews, a vehicle commander in the platoon.

“Immediately I was concerned with Gonzo’s [Gonsalez] injuries,” said Andrews, an Austin, Texas, native. “All I saw was his cammies with blood all over them. At the time security was the number one priority. Once we guaranteed security, I found as much cover as we could get and evaluated his wounds.”

Gonsalez and the other injured personnel were treated for their wounds and once reinforcements arrived, conducted a foot patrol back to their firm base.

“The bottom line is he saw a situation develop and he did what he had to do,” said Andrews. “His actions were right on.”

According to Gonsalez, this incident was typical of the insurgency in Iraq.

“Everything about them [insurgents] exudes cowardry,” he said. “They are never willing to face us and when they do they get put in their place. This was a great demonstration of power for the Iraqi soldiers. They were just as dedicated as the Marines were, and they were injured just as we were. It was a good day for the Iraqi Army.”

Gonsalez is currently redeploying back to the states and is looking forward to being with his family.

“I’ve been married for nine years,” he said before leaving Camp Fallujah early this month. “My daughter is five-years-old. Whatever I do over here is highly influenced by my wife. I’m looking forward to spending time with both of them.”


EDITOR’S NOTE
Please feel free to publish this story or any of the accompanying photos. If used, please give credit to the writer/photographer, and contact us at: [email protected] so we can update our records.

Erie, Penn., native leads seasoned squad of Marines

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 26, 2005) -- The sound of magazines being slapped into weapons and bolts chambering rounds cuts through the dust-filled air. The men adjust their flak jackets and Kevlar helmets to ensure the maximum amount of comfort over the next two hours. Once these final preparations are made, they all look at their leader. Every man is in his place and knows his role in the mission. They won’t move however, unless they receive the order to do so. (2/6 F Co / pics at ext. link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/91B65556EB107AAD852570A6003CC360?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200510267341
Story by Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Zahn

FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 26, 2005) -- The sound of magazines being slapped into weapons and bolts chambering rounds cuts through the dust-filled air. The men adjust their flak jackets and Kevlar helmets to ensure the maximum amount of comfort over the next two hours. Once these final preparations are made, they all look at their leader. Every man is in his place and knows his role in the mission. They won’t move however, unless they receive the order to do so.

The commanding voice of their leader bellows out, “Hey, are ya’ll ready?”

The voice receives a chorus of affirmative replies.

“Then let’s roll,” the voice says.

The voice belongs to Cpl. Mindo D. Estrella, the squad leader for 1st Squad, 4th Platoon, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. The 22-year-old Erie, Penn., native and his squad patrolled the streets of Fallujah as part of Operation Liberty Express. The operation was conducted to provide security for the referendum voting held in Iraq Oct. 15.

Estrella and his Marines worked side by side with the Iraqi Army during Liberty Express.

“I like working with the IA and teaching them our tactics,” he said. “I think that they’re learning what we are teaching them and one day will be able to take over operations.”

The mission for the majority of their patrols is to demonstrate a show of force, to establish their presence and to secure the streets of Fallujah.

“We try to make it hard on the insurgents to do the things that they want to do, like plant improvised explosive devices,” said Estrella.

During the patrols, Estrella confidently led his squad with the well-practiced ease that comes with working together for a long period of time.

“I am extremely confident in my squad,” said Estrella. “They are the most experienced squad I have ever worked with. Only one person in my squad is on his first deployment, everyone else has been here before.”

This experience also plays a factor in the platoon.

“All of the squad leaders in 4th Platoon have been deployed before,” he added. “I feel that we are without a doubt the best platoon in the company.”

The confidence Estrella displays toward his squad is noticed throughout the company.

“He’s an awesome kid,” said Gunnery Sgt. Larry J. Harrington, the company gunnery sergeant for Company F. “He always goes the extra mile to make sure that his Marines are prepared.”

Estrella committed himself to his Marines even further by re-enlisting in October shortly after the battalion arrived in Iraq. He had made the decision to re-enlist in September before the battalion deployed.

“I like what I do,” said Estrella. “It gets rough at times but nobody made me come out here. I signed the contract knowing what I was getting myself into.”

Catawba Marine killed in Iraq loved soccer, movies

A Marine corporal killed Friday in Iraq was remembered as a good friend who loved soccer, movies, and his family.

http://www.the-dispatch.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051025/APN/510251215&cachetime;=5

The Associated Press

A Marine corporal killed Friday in Iraq was remembered as a good friend who loved soccer, movies, and his family.

Benny Gray Cockerham III, 21, was in Iraq on his second tour of duty when he was killed, his father said in a letter.

Cockerham is the first Catawba County soldier to die in the Iraq conflict, according to the Hickory Daily Record.

His unit and where he was based were not available Tuesday.

Cockerham enlisted in the Marines shortly after graduating from St. Stephen's High School in 2002, the newspaper reported. He played soccer on the school team all four years in high school.

"He was a great person to be around," said Adam Bowman, 18, a senior at the school. "He loved his family a lot."

Members of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church posted a message on its sign asking people to pray for the Cockerham family.

Cockerham is survived by his wife, Amanda Johnson Cockerham; his parents, Ben and Jill Cockerham; and a younger brother, Adam.

He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Other funeral arrangements were incomplete Tuesday.

---

Information from: The Hickory Daily Record,

Florida Marine killed in Iraq

PENSACOLA, Florida -- A Pensacola area Marine who lost weight to enlist is the first service member from the area to die in Iraq. (3/7)


http://www.tampabays10.com/news/news.aspx?storyid=20425

PENSACOLA, Florida -- A Pensacola area Marine who lost weight to enlist is the first service member from the area to die in Iraq.

The Pentagon has confirmed that Lance Corporal Jonathan Spears of a rural community north of Pensacola was killed by small-arms fire Sunday in Ar Ramadi. The 21-year-old had been with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Regiment of the 1st Marine Division based at Twenty-nine Palms, California.

His father, Timothy Spears, says his son served his country proudly.

A 6’1”, 265-pound offensive lineman at Tat High School, he was too big and too bulky for the Marines. He ended up dropping nearly 60 pounds.

By the time he came home on leave last month, he was down to 180 pounds.

Spears told family members in an e-mail that his duty in Iraq fulfilled a search for purpose by helping ensure democracy for people who had never known it.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Heartfelt words from lost soldiers reveals hopes, fears

Article on Andrew Carroll's Behind the Lines and War Letters

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-10-25-letters-iraq-cover_x.htm

The battlefield letter from father to daughter begins: "My Dearest Little Savannah."

Like every soldier at war in Iraq, Army Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Weaver scratched down on paper expressions of love and longing. He wrote about his dreams of the future for his 15-month-old child.

There was a spark of parental insight: "I always knew that having children is special to a parent, but it means so much more than I ever imagined. ... You are the meaning of my life. You make my heart pound with joy and pride. No matter what happens to me or where we go, you will always know that I love you."

The letter was found on Weaver's body when he died Jan. 8, 2004, in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter shot down by insurgents.

Weaver, 32, joined the roll of U.S. troops who have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. On Tuesday, that tally reached 2,000 with the announcement of three more deaths: George T. Alexander Jr., 34, of Killeen, Texas, an Army sergeant who died of wounds at a military hospital; and a Marine and a sailor, both unidentified, killed last week in fighting west of Baghdad.

In recent weeks, the pace of dying has doubled to more than a dozen deaths a week.

Nearly seven of 10 American troops lost were soldiers. There were small numbers of sailors and airmen and one Coast Guardsman. Almost all the others who died were Marines. Forty-three were women. About a quarter were from the National Guard or Reserve.

The letters home, a mix of the plain and poetic, are a poignant legacy of those American dead.

Weaver's letter is today framed and hanging in Savannah's bedroom in Fayetteville, N.C. "I would hope that when she grows up, she knows how much he adored her," says Nancy Weaver, the soldier's widow. Savannah is 3 now.

Scholars who study and collect war correspondence say the letters help bring into focus individual loss. "The overall impact of these letters is that it reminds us of the humanity of these troops and how they are not statistics," says Andrew Carroll, editor of two collections, Behind the Lines and War Letters.

"So that when we look at a number like 2,000, those are 2,000 individual stories of lives lost, every one of them that had enormous potential, and ... 2,000 families that have been impacted as well."

The letters transcend opinion and politics, says Jon Peede, director of Operation Homecoming, a project of the National Endowment for the Arts to collect the writings of men and women at war. "You can be for or against the war, and be moved by these writings," he says.

The letters and e-mails that families shared with USA TODAY begin with "Hi, Princess" or "Hey, Mom," with "Hey, Baby" or "Dear Family." They tell of sandstorms and triple-digit temperatures, the monotony of war and a gnawing desire for home and normalcy.

"Keep your eyes open for a 323 or 325 BMW, 2002 or 2003. That's what I want," Marine Lance Cpl. Deryk Hallal, 24, writes to his parents in Indianapolis, in a letter received on April 3, 2004, "Oh! Send some goodies. Beef jerky and things like that. Tell people at church to keep praying for everyone here."

Often, soldiers and Marines allude to the death tugging at them each day.

"God was with us on all of our patrols," Hallal writes. He was shot and killed in Ramadi on April 6, 2004. It was one of the war's bloodiest months: 135 Americans died.

Carroll says a last letter has the power to re-animate, if only for a moment, those lost. "It draws us into their story," he says. "There is that sense of mystery, of what was that person thinking and what happened to them."

Contributing: Paul Overberg, Emily Murphy, Tony Bertuca, Michael Hartigan

Idaho Falls native keeps convoys safe in Iraq

HADITHA DAM, Iraq (Oct. 26, 2005) -- Traveling on the roads in Iraq can be dangerous as insurgents continue placing roadside bombs and targeting Marines and civilians. (3/1)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/EA630E38E8ED9C31852570A6003E7E67?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102672235
Story by Cpl. Adam C. Schnell

HADITHA DAM, Iraq (Oct. 26, 2005) -- Traveling on the roads in Iraq can be dangerous as insurgents continue placing roadside bombs and targeting Marines and civilians.

On the road everyday, helping keep many of the convoys for 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment safe, is Idaho Falls, Idaho, native Cpl. Christopher L. Carney.

The convoy security element commander with the battalion’s motor transport section is seen on nearly every convoy above the first vehicle in the gunner’s seat. Being the first vehicle in the convoy helps him see what lies ahead of the convoy and be the first line of defense against attacks.

“I always try to lead by example and the lead vehicle is the best place for me to be in the event something bad happens,” the 34 year-old said.

The infantryman turned convoy security commander became part of the battalion “Motor T” in July and made an impact as soon as he started working with them. Being the resident rifleman with the section, he was responsible for putting together a training program for the motor transport Marines before they deployed and while in Iraq.

“He has done a great job fostering the warrior attitude in my Marines,” commented 1st Lt. Derek J. Lane, the battalion’s motor transport officer. “He taught the Marines to see themselves as gun fighters and not just Motor T Marines. He brought back the ‘every Marine a rifleman’ concept.”

According to Lane, having Carney around also helps keep the tactical focus of the Marines in motor transport. He provides a point of view not often taken into consideration by the leaders of the motor transport section.

“When we start getting tunnel vision about just (motor transport) things, he becomes the voice of tactical things,” Lane added.

Since arriving in Iraq, the 1988 Ogden, Utah High School graduate has taken on responsibilities other than assisting convoy commanders with safe routes and security elements. He also runs the section’s armory and ensures there is adequate marksmanship training for the gunners in the section.

“I make sure all the weapons and optics are operational and accounted for,” said Carney, who joined the Marines to better himself. “I also take it as my job to make sure of the safety and survivability of the Marines I have with me.”

When on the road, the father of four is constantly seen waving at and giving candy to the children in the streets. Befriending the children in the communities is very important in helping provide a better future for the Iraqi people, commented Carney.

“When the children like you, they will sometimes tell you where (improvised explosive devices) are,” Carney added. “If we make a good impression now, then future generations will like us.”

Since joining the Marines more than nine years ago, Carney has been stationed at numerous bases with many different jobs. Although being with the motor transport gave him a better appreciation of how hard they work, he hopes to go back to his roots in an infantry company when the deployment ends.

“I’m hoping to get promoted soon so I can continue my career in the Marine Corps and continue to serve my country for years to come,” Carney said.



October 25, 2005

Military dog handlers find satisfaction in serving at the front

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 25, 2005) -- ‘Man’s best friend’ is a term of endearment that has been used by dog lovers for years, and in Iraq that brotherhood continues saving the lives of hundreds of service members. (att. 2nd FSSG)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/ED7CAD56FD36E225852570A60029F9F0?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Force Service Support Group
Story Identification #: 2005102633829
Story by Lance Cpl. Wayne C. Edmiston

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 25, 2005) -- ‘Man’s best friend’ is a term of endearment that has been used by dog lovers for years, and in Iraq that brotherhood continues saving the lives of hundreds of service members.

The noses and training of the military working dogs here assist in finding some of the largest weapons caches in Al Anbar province. Leading this pack of dedicated canines is a select group of Marines and an Airman.

For Cpl. Justin T. Hanna, his dog Chang, 6, Lance Cpl. Andrew D. Johnson, his dog Charlie, 4, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Brook K. Jones, a his dog Indie, 4, are the military working dog team assigned to combat outpost here. They assigned to 2nd Force Service Support Group deployed to the city of Ar Ramadi to save lives of their fellow service members by detecting explosives before they can harm anyone.

“Our dogs are trained smell explosives,” said Jones. “They are also trained to attack on command.”

One specific area the dogs of Ar Ramadi have excelled is in finding weapons caches and explosives used to make improvised explosive devices, ultimately making the roads safer.

“It’s satisfying to know that we are keeping the [service members] safe out here by finding these weapons,” Hanna said. “My dog and I are always ready to help.”

Even though these handlers have some very well-trained dogs, their partners are in fact dogs that need constant attention.

“We spend hours and hours with our dogs,” said Hanna. “We have to take them out, walk them and play with them.”

These Marines cultivate a close relationship with their dogs as a result of the amount of time they spend with each other, Johnson said.

“I love my dog,” said Hanna. “If I had the chance I would adopt him.”

As military policeman the men are already in a small occupational community, but being a dog handler is an even more tight-knit community, Johnson said.

“Everyone knows everyone,” Johnson said. “We find out what works for each other and use it.”

Due to the fact, that the Ar Ramadi area is one of the most active insurgency areas in Iraq, this particular dog team has been quite busy.

“Since I have been out here, Charlie and I have found explosives with the engineers and confronted a suicide bomber,” Johnson said. “Being a part of the fight is important to me.”

Jones and his dog, the team’s only airman, are in the unique position to experience operations not normally assigned to them in the Air Force, but the two are taking advantage of their situation to the fullest.

“I love being over here with the Marines,” Jones said. “It’s an experience I will never forget, and will never get a chance to do again in the Air Force.”

Battle Skills Competition calls for teamwork

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 25, 2005) -- Fifty-seven sailors on seven eight-man island-wide teams met here Oct. 17 for a five-day competition that evaluated their field capabilities under varying degrees of physical and mental stress.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/4CF8FCDF441C4C46852570A600035F7B?opendocument


Submitted by: MCB Camp Butler
Story Identification #: 20051025203650
Story by Lance Cpl. Warren Peace

CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 25, 2005) -- Fifty-seven sailors on seven eight-man island-wide teams met here Oct. 17 for a five-day competition that evaluated their field capabilities under varying degrees of physical and mental stress.

The 13th Annual Navy Battle Skills Competition tested the knowledge, general field and first aid skills, physical fitness, teamwork and decision-making skills of sailors in support of the III Marine Expeditionary Force. The competition consisted of seven events: a land navigation course; Zodiac boat race; obstacle course; combined arms skills course; written exam; M-9 pistol competition; and 12-mile force march.

The first competition was the land navigation course held in the Central Training Area. The teams were given four hours to find five predetermined checkpoints and return to the start point.

“It brought us close together,” said Seaman Roy “Biggin” Williams, a team member of the Wing Warriors and a corpsman with 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. “We realized the biggest part of working as a team is communication.”

The Zodiac boat race at Oura Wan Bay was the next event. Each team was required to assemble a combat rubber reconnaissance craft, also known as a Zodiac, and navigate it through a one-kilometer course. The teams were also required to capsize their boat and flip the boat back upright to compete the course.

“It was a good competition,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris D. Lunsford a team member of the Buttercup Assault and a hospital corpsman with III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group. “We did have the luck of the draw — We set out during high tide and that helped us win second place in the race.”

The obstacle course was the next challenge for the teams.

“It was rough for some short girls,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Meghan B. Renna, a team member of the Battle Barbies and a hospital corpsman with U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. “Our height prevented us from reaching some of the higher obstacles. We used teamwork to overcome our disadvantages.”

During the obstacle course the Battle Barbies, the all-female team from the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, displayed a unique technique for navigating the obstacle course. The team built a human bridge at a portion of the course where the relatively short team would have trouble reaching an obstacle.

“It was unbelievable — I have never seen anything like it,” said Master Chief Sherman E. Boss, the command master chief for 3rd Marine Logistics Group. “Members of (Buttercup Assault) gave them the idea and they executed it perfectly.”

The combined arms skills course followed. This was a timed event designed to test the team’s knowledge, practical ability and collaborative ability in the following skills: assembly and disassembly of the M-16A2 service rifle and M-9 pistol; patient assessment and treatment; PRC-119 single channel ground and airborne radio system assembly; and nuclear, biological and chemical gear handling.

“Wearing the (MCU-2/P) gas mask was the hardest part of the course,” said Seaman Nia N. Maye a team member of the Battle Barbies and a hospital corpsman with the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. “The fact that you are already pumped up and breathing heavy made wearing the gas mask tough.”

A written exam, designed to test each competitor’s military and professional knowledge of the Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist Program, was held after the combined arms skills course.

The final event was a twelve-mile force march. This timed event tested the individual’s and team’s strength, endurance and physical fitness.

The scores from each event were tallied to determine the overall winning team.

The first place team with 630 points was 3rd MLG North with 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group. 3rd MLG South with 3rd Marine Logistics Group, won second place with 590 points and Buttercup Assault with III MHG, won third place with 500 points.

Marines get first-hand view of Okinawan culture

KIN TOWN, OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 25, 2005) -- A local nursing home shared an ancient Japanese tradition with a Marine Corps unit Oct. 15, showing them gratitude for their help.


http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/A589F4DF7A9FEFB5852570A6000786CC?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Camp Butler
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Sarah M. Maynard
Story Identification #:
20051025212212

KIN TOWN, OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 25, 2005) -- A local nursing home shared an ancient Japanese tradition with a Marine Corps unit Oct. 15, showing them gratitude for their help.


Despite overcast skies, the Hikariga-oka nursing home hosted a Moon Viewing Party for more than 30 representatives of 7th Communications Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Nursing home staff and residents hosted the party to thank the Marines, sailors and family members for their assistance in and around the home during the year.


Mr. Haruo Ginoza, the director of Hikariga-oka, was pleased to welcome the service members to the celebration.


“The Marines are very friendly to our town and local community,” he said. “We thank them for their help here.”


The service members and nursing home staff shared a game of volleyball, a karaoke competition and a meal of traditional Okinawan dishes. Gifts were presented to the winners of each round of volleyball and to the high-scorers in karaoke.


Marines and sailors with 7th Communications Bn. have upheld a bi-monthly tradition of grounds-upkeep with the nursing home for 12 years, according to Chiyoko Kochi, the Camp Hansen community relations specialist.


“Marines from the battalion have been coming to the nursing home about two times a month for more than 12 years now,” she said. “They trim the hedges, mow the lawns and generally tidy up the grounds of the home.”


In appreciation for their work, staff and residents host several cultural events and parties for the Marines at the nursing home, according to Kochi.


“Hikariga-oka hosts a Japanese New Year’s party, summer festival, flower-viewing festival in the spring, a moon viewing festival in the fall, as well as celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving with the Marines,” she said. “The staff and residents share their culture with the Marines, in appreciation for their hard work.”


Working out in town with the Okinawans is a unique cultural experience as well, according to Lt. Col. Gregory Breazile, the commanding officer of 7th Communications Bn.


“Doing volunteer work for the home is a great experience of the young Marines,” he said. “Some of these Marines have never been out of their home-state before and here they get to interact with foreign cultures. They get to give something back to their local community and they have fun at the same time.”

Tampa man gets 'award for sacrifice'

Adam Boggs received a Purple Heart Tuesday, along with Marines from Tampa, Largo, Orlando and Lakeland. (4th AAB)

http://www.sptimes.com/2005/10/25/Tampabay/Tampa_man_gets__award.shtml

By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS
Published October 25, 2005

TAMPA - Adam Boggs, 20, remembers sitting in a photography class at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. With the rest of the class - and the rest of the world - his eyes were glued to television news footage of the attacks on America.

When he found out terrorists were involved, he went into the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting office the following day.

"I wanted to do something about it," he said.

Boggs, now a lance corporal with the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion, returned home Oct. 17 from seven months of duty in Iraq along with 35 other Marine reservists from the Tampa area. But his return included something most of his colleagues' didn't: A Purple Heart, for injuries sustained in combat.

He was one of six Marines who received the medal Tuesday in a Tampa ceremony that mirrors many others that have taken place since the start of the Iraq War in 2003. It happened on the day the U.S. military marked its 2,000 death in the war. About 15,220 troops have been injured.

"It's weird," Boggs said, exhaling cigarette smoke outside the Marine Corps Training Center in Tampa, his medal on his chest. "Growing up and hearing about Purple Hearts, you never imagine yourself getting one. Or going to war."

Now, it's a vivid memory.

On July 5, a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer with tinted windows cruised into Boggs' base in the city of Hit in Iraq's Al Anbar Province. The Marines didn't open fire because they thought a colonel was behind the wheel. Instead, it was a suicide bomber.

The car exploded 50 meters away from Boggs, who was wounded by shrapnel in his shoulder.

"It gave me a reality check," Boggs said.

It took him a few days to recover, but the memories of his time in Iraq will stay with him forever. He has the tattoos to prove it.

Block letters spell USMC on his forearm and a cross that says "savior" peeks out from under his rolled-up camouflaged right sleeve. Boggs, the son of a Baptist preacher, drew it in the desert and got it put on as soon as he returned.

But not before he had a hearty steak meal with the five friends he bonded with in Iraq. They formed a brotherhood they call "Triple B Double S" because of their last initials - Boggs, Biegel, Bickerstaff, Smyth and Sanchez.

Boggs remembers when they surprised him by putting a candle in his military-style Meal Ready to Eat for his birthday.

"We got real close, like brothers, because of stuff we've been through," he said. "They'll be my family for the rest fo my life."

His "brother," Lance Cpl. Stephen Biegel, 20, stood alongside Boggs on Tuesday to get his own Purple Heart. The Marine brat from New York City followed in both of his parents' footsteps when he enlisted.

Biegel was wounded the same day as Boggs when his vehicle was bombed. He got burns on his ears and hands, but they cleared up in a few days.

Biegel plans to continue in his dad's footsteps after his contract with the Marines ends in January and join the New York City Police Department.

The Marines taught him discipline, and Biegel said that will help him as a cop.

His feelings were mixed about receiving the medal.

"It's good and bad at the same time," Biegel said. "You don't want to get wounded, but at the same time, when you do, you're happy to be recognized."

Biegel and Boggs stood at attention alongside Marines from Tampa, Largo, Orlando and Lakeland to receive the award. The rest of their battalion stood behind them as Lt. Col. Taz Olson presented the medals.

He said they should be honored to wear them.

"It's not an award for recognition," Olson said. "It's an award for sacrifice."

-- Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report. Alexandra Zayas can be reached at 813-226-3354 or at [email protected]

3rd Recon returns from Iraq

CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 25, 2005) -- Family and friends gathered to welcome more than 100 service members home from Iraq in the early morning Oct. 18.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/32638DE46680B632852570A6001FFB35?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Camp Butler
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Sarah M. Maynard
Story Identification #:
2005102614919

CAMP SCHWAB, OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 25, 2005) -- Family and friends gathered to welcome more than 100 service members home from Iraq in the early morning Oct. 18.


The Marines and sailors of 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, returned to Camp Schwab after completing an eight month tour of duty in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.


The 3rd Reconnaissance Bn. Key Volunteers coordinated the welcome home party with signs and banners for the returning Marines.


“We had all the families come out and make signs and decorate the Marines’ homes, barracks and offices with signs and balloons,” said Kim Matvey, the Key Volunteer coordinator for 3rd Reconnaissance Bn. “We’re here to support the Marines and their families.”


Friends and family members not only woke up early to meet the battalion, but some traveled thousands of miles to welcome the service members home.


“I’m so excited and nervous,” said Vanessa Brown, looking over her shoulder for her husband’s bus. “I flew in from Carson City, Nevada, with my son and my mother. We’re all so happy there coming home – tired, but happy.”


The deployment was not only an excellent opportunity to see the world, but also a chance for the service members to get to know each other.


“This deployment was a great chance for us to do what we were trained to do,” said Cpl. Johnathan Guccione, a reconnaissance man with 3rd Reconnaissance Bn. “We became a tight knit community. You learn to trust the Marines around you.”


The battalion deployed from Camp Schwab to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Feb. 19 to participate in pre-deployment training. While at Twentynine Palms the unit participated in the Combined Arms Exercise, an exercise in the utilization of supporting arms and close air support.


The unit then continued to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., where they trained in security and stability operations, Military Operations in Urban Terrain, convoy operations and close quarter battles.


On March 16, the unit deployed to Iraq where they conducted security and stability operations.
The service members of 3rd Reconnaissance Bn. participated in a variety of duties while on deployment, according to 1st Lt. Duncan Woodard, the 1st platoon commander, B Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Bn.


“The unit participated in mounted and dismounted patrols,” Woodard said. “They practiced area targeting, (also known as) getting to know an area and its residents, and participated in counter (improvised explosive device) and counter indirect fire operations.”


In addition, 3rd Reconnaissance Bn. participated in weapons cache detections and was essential in locating numerous caches, according to Woodard. They were also part of planning and securing polling sites for the Iraq’s constitutional referendum.


On Oct. 5, 3rd Reconnaissance Bn. was replaced by 1st Reconnaissance Bn., 1st Marine Division.

A personal look at some who died in Iraq

His mates found him near the top of a pile of rubble, covering two of his charges, their lives saved because in an instant the hulking sarge shoved them hard to the side, just far enough away that he, not they, took the brunt of the bomb blast.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1107AP_2000_Fallen_Names_of_Love.html

By HUGO KUGIYA
AP NATIONAL WRITER

His mates found him near the top of a pile of rubble, covering two of his charges, their lives saved because in an instant the hulking sarge shoved them hard to the side, just far enough away that he, not they, took the brunt of the bomb blast.

They called him Superman. That's what Staff Sgt. Thomas E. Vitagliano seemed to the men he led - invincible, hard as steel, larger than life.

Outside of his hometown of West Haven, Conn., Vitagliano was just another in the ever-mounting total of American fatalities in Iraq: 140 at the end of major combat, 1,000 after 18 months. And now, 31 months after the start of the war, 2,000.

To most of us, the number is merely an abstraction. As each casket comes home, we hear a few details: the deceased's rank, branch of service, hometown. We don't see them as individuals until we hear that someone called them Superman.

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Or Dice ... Sweet Pea ... Rat ... Willy.

These are just some of the nicknames of the dead, portholes to their identity. Some carried their nicknames almost all their lives. Others carried them only briefly, used only by the soldiers with whom they went into battle.

But each nickname had meaning, and each one suggested a fuller life, a relationship with the people important to them be it for a lifetime or for the time they spent in Iraq. Each nickname was, in ways large and small, evidence of love.

---

Willy was what Paula Zasadny called her baby girl, Holly. It was the random result of a silly rhyming game she played with her daughter. "Holly, wolly, bolly" eventually became "Willy" and for some reason the name stuck.

To the day Spc. Holly J. McGeogh died - on Jan. 31, at age 19, victim of a roadside bomb near Kirkuk - she was Willy, if only to her mother.

That is how she signed the Christmas card last year - "Love Willy." It arrived about two weeks after she died, in a box with other items.

"It was devastating," said Zasadny, who lives in Taylor, Mich., "but at same time it was comforting because I knew she had touched everything in the box."

Willy was her youngest child and only daughter. She was a fearless kid who always wanted to ride the newest, biggest, fastest roller coaster at Cedar Point, and did not flinch when she tried bungee jumping. She was 5-foot-1 and the company commander in Junior ROTC.

In Iraq, she was a meticulous truck mechanic and drove a troop transport truck with a grenade launcher mounted on the back. She eagerly volunteered for every mission and patrol and was disappointed when she was not picked. She once apprehended a fleeing man in a dark alley, threatening to shoot him dead if he didn't stop, then throwing him against a wall.

But she also taught Iraqi kids the game duck-duck-goose, and gave them licorice. She could never get her mom to mail enough candy. Or hot sauce from Taco Bell. Willy put it on everything. Unable to convince her local Taco Bell to sell her a box of hot sauce, Zasadny ate there everyday, collecting enough packets to mail to Iraq.

When Willy helped bring running water to a village, she splashed and played in the spray.

Like the kid she was, not that long ago.

---

Deyson Ken Cariaga was his name, but they called him Dice. He grew up in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kalihi, close to downtown, in a section where most residents were working-class folks of Filipino or Samoan descent. It is a place of housing projects, gangs, and drug deals.

Dice was the youngest of two boys, raised by a single mother and his grandparents. All three generations lived in the same house on one income. Dice served meals at a retirement home and always thought of his grandparents; he brought leftovers home whenever he could.

The lean and lanky Dice was very athletic. He surfed and excelled at judo; he was a youth leader at the YMCA, and he joined Junior ROTC when he was a freshman at Roosevelt High School.

With kids, he was always the pied piper. So it was in Iraq. He always carried a purple backpack with him on patrol, filled with stuffed animals, toys and candy.

"Somehow, this doesn't surprise me at all," said his mother, Theresa Inouye.

Sgt. Deyson Ken Cariaga was only 20 when he died July 8, the first member of the Hawaii National Guard lost in combat since Vietnam. He was driving a Humvee on patrol when he drove over a bomb.

---

Crit, short for Critter, was the name Sgt. Carl Thomas' Aunt Diann gave him when he was a baby because he looked so tiny. Everyone knew him as Crit. He grew up skinny and scrawny and shy, a Boy Scout and a computer geek.

The name stuck, even after he joined the Army in 1996 and filled out, became more assertive. He became an infantry motorman and was deployed in Panama, South Korea, and Kosovo. The family lived in Germany and in Texas. He rarely was home for more than six months at a time. His three children were accustomed to his absence. They did not know any different.

He was 29 when a bomb exploded near his observation post in Baghdad Sept. 13, 2004.

Before he left for Iraq, Thomas made his wife Lanae watch the movie "We Were Soldiers," about the soldiers who fought on both sides of an early battle of the Vietnam War. He wanted to prepare her for the worst; if he died, he told her, he wanted to be buried next to his grandfather in Michigan, where he was born.

Are you scared to go, Lanae asked.

No, he said. This is what I trained for.

He was not born to the Army like some soldiers. He was able and proud, but it was more of a means to an end. He liked that it allowed him to spoil his children, Dariaun, 11, Nataisha, 10, and Rayqwaun, 6, to buy them the latest toys, even ones they were too young to play with. So every three years, he considered the options and re-enlisted.

When he was in Iraq, he called Lanae on a mobile phone in the middle of every night and sent instant messages every morning.

"I'm fine. You guys don't watch the news," he often wrote.

She was waiting by her computer the morning the two officers came by and knocked on her door. She did not cry. She did not let them see her break down. "Suck up and drive on," she heard Crit say in her head.

Crit went to high school in Arizona, but home was still Michigan, and the home team was still the Detroit Lions. The day before Crit died, the Lions beat the Bears 20-16 in the season opener, and the family just knew that he woke up his last morning with a smile on his face.

After he died, the team hosted his family at Ford Field, and dedicated the game - and the game ball - to Crit Thomas.

---

Maj. Jay Thomas Aubin was among the first casualties of the war. He was piloting a helicopter with three other U.S. Marines and eight British Marines aboard when it crashed in Kuwait, two days after the war started.

The chopper was emblazoned with his nickname, Sweet Pea. It was a name given to him by a subordinate, inspired by the way Aubin responded to a favorable report: "Oh, sweet!"

"No one could find a name to suit him," said his mother, Nancy Chamberlain of Winslow, Maine. "They kept coming up with these macho names, but they didn't fit."

He was not an imposing man, possessing a slight build and an easy smile. His was more of a nurturing personality. After the Marine Corps ball, he took his wife home, then checked out a van and drove back to the party, waiting for drunk Marines to exit, offering them a ride home.

Aubin, 36, enlisted in the Marines, first, as a way to pay for college where he earned a business degree, then, so he could pursue the dream he had had of learning to fly, ever since he was an infant and his pilot father strapped him into his two-seater.

The crash that killed Sweet Pea was ruled an accident - there was no gunfire. Blowing sand and smoke from burning oil wells were thought to be a factor, his mother said.

"The thing that bothered me the most was I thought he was going to be blamed," Chamberlain said. "But he wasn't ...

"He always said if he was flying a helicopter that went down, he wanted to go down too. I miss him more than I can tell you, but sometimes there are things worse than death. We're the ones suffering now. But if he had lived, he would really be suffering."

---

Sgt. Ben Morton, 24, picked up the nickname Rat in the Army, because he could never throw anything away. If he stood in one place for more than a few minutes, he would eventually be surrounded by refuse. He drove a Humvee for a Stryker brigade based in Ft. Lewis, Wash.; his seat was usually covered with food wrappers and containers of all kinds.

He grew up in rural Wright, Kan., the adoring big brother to two boys and two girls. His mother was a teacher; His father worked at an ammonia plant. He played football and ran track and joined the 4-H Club.

He was a few years out of high school, operating a grain elevator, when he joined the Army and trained as a paratrooper and sniper.

His dad, Allen Morton, didn't talk too much to his son about the war - Ben kept a lot to himself. The one thing his son often told him was that "people living here do not realize how blessed they are."

He knows Ben and a comrade once pulled wounded soldiers out of a burning Humvee and put out the flames while taking small arms fire. He thinks his son came under fire other times before he was killed during a May 22 raid, shot while searching the home of a suspected bomb maker.

Ben married a year before he died. His wife Elaina was an indirect casualty of the war, too. Three months after Rat died, she took her own life.

"She couldn't live without him, I guess," said his father.

---

Thomas Vitagliano was Sgt. V to some, Superman to others, Kindergarten Sarge to a few who had occasion to notice his rapport with small children. To his nephews and nieces the 6-foot-4, 240-pound uncle was a moveable jungle gym. All four would grab a leg, or climb up an arm as Vitagliano walked, all of them clinging to him like he was a carnival ride.

He joined the Marines after one year of college. He enlisted in the Army five years later, joining the Rangers. He was born to the military, his family said. He was a military history buff growing up, played military board games and attended military academy.

But at age 33 he was looking at retirement when he might work in his family's real estate business and start a family of his own.

Superman was a principled guy who showed his heart with actions more than words. He did not exactly have "the gift of gab," said his wife, Nerina Giolli.

When the collection plate came his way at church, he always left a roll of bills, never letting Nerina see exactly how much he gave. When others passed by a stalled car with an elderly driver, he stopped, pushed the vehicle into a lot and gave it a jump start.

While on patrol in Ramadi on Jan. 17, he noticed with suspicion a taxi circling the area oddly, apparently headed toward a group of 36 soldiers, said his sister, Tammy Ronan. Vitagliano approached the taxi with two other men. Realizing it was a suicide attack, he tried to protect and shield his men, and lost his life.

For this he was awarded the Silver Star.

"He surprised that car bomber," Ronan said. "That bomb wasn't intended for him. The car was heading up the street for the other guys. If it wasn't for my brother, 36 men would have died."

At that moment, and always, he was Superman.

Student's deployment brings home Iraq war to Bowdoin College campus

BRUNSWICK — On Dec. 1, Alex Cornell du Houx, a 21-year-old Bowdoin College senior from Solon will head to Iraq for approximately 10 months as part of the Alpha 1st Company Battalion of the Marines.

http://www.timesrecord.com/website/main.nsf/news.nsf/0/B4F8E5AB7DF904FA052570A50056F681?Opendocument

[email protected]
10/25/2005
By Priya Sridhar, Times Record Contributor

BRUNSWICK — On Dec. 1, Alex Cornell du Houx, a 21-year-old Bowdoin College senior from Solon will head to Iraq for approximately 10 months as part of the Alpha 1st Company Battalion of the Marines.

Instead of staying up late to finish off college papers and cram for finals, Cornell du Houx will use his training and experience as a 0351 Assault Man to shoot rockets, deal with demolitions and work the Javelin Missile System.

"I am not nervous whatsoever. We are well trained and we're ready to go," Cornell du Houx said about the news of his unit's impending deployment to Iraq.

His mother and family are supportive of his plans as well.

"I feel for every mom who has a son or daughter who has been deployed, for the innocent Iraqi families that have lost their loved ones, and for the families of 1,966 soldiers who never came home," said Ramona du Houx, Alex's mother. "But the overwhelming reality of how unjust this war is only truly hits home when it is your son or daughter who is going into harm's way."

The senior is most well known on the Bowdoin College campus in his role as development director for the College Democrats of America and as co-president of the Maine College Democrats. Under his leadership, the organization in Maine has grown from two chapters to 23.

While Cornell du Houx has actively rallied against many of President Bush's policies, he feels that his involvement in the Marines is not a conflict of interest.

"Regardless of my opinions regarding the war in Iraq, it is my duty as a U.S. Marine to serve and I am ready and willing to do my job to its fullest extent," he said.

Others on campus, particularly his political opponents in the Bowdoin College Republicans, feel differently about his service. Daniel Schuberth, a leader of the Bowdoin College Republicans and College Republican national secretary, said, "I applaud Mr. Houx for his service, just as I applaud any other soldier who is brave enough to take up arms in defense of his country. I find it troubling, however, that one of the most vocal opponents of our president, our country and our mission in Iraq has chosen to fight for a cause he claims is wrong. Mr. Houx's rhetoric against the war on terror places him in agreement with the most radical fringes of the Democratic Party, and I am left to question his logic and motivation."

Duty, honor, country
Paul Franco, one of Cornell du Houx's government and legal studies professors, disagrees.

"He exemplifies democratic citizenship at its best," Franco said of Cornell du Houx. "Though he opposes Bush's war policies, he still feels obligated to fulfill his duty. ... This is the exact opposite of what is done by those supporters of the war who would never dream of fighting in it themselves or sending their own children to fight in it."

The relationships and friendships Cornell du Houx has forged as a result of his participation in the Marines have affected his politics, as well.

"I have always felt comfortable expressing my political beliefs. In the Marines, we debate politics all the time in a lively manner. It's very interesting and eye-opening to be able to see both perspectives — where you are in the majority politically at Bowdoin College and in the minority politically in the Marines."

Cornell du Houx joined the Marines Reserves while in high school.

"The places you go, the people you meet, and the perspective you learn is something you don't experience anywhere else," he said.

Ever since he was young, Cornell du Houx was fascinated with service and athletics. These two interests drew him to investigate enlisting in either the Army, Navy or Marines. The Marines, he felt, was the most intense and challenging branch and the base in Topsham was a convenient commute from Brunswick.

Weekend drills
Every month, Cornell du Houx trains with the Marines for a weekend, drilling and practicing on the rifle ranges. In addition, every year he participates in a two-week retreat that explores more skill-related war tactics, including scuba diving

After his freshman year at Bowdoin College, he was called to active duty by the Marines and flew to South Carolina to participate in 13 weeks of recruit training and boot camp. He then attended the School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, N.C., during what was supposed to be his sophomore fall semester.

At Camp Lejeune, he learned everything from platoon formations to patrol techniques. He also received eight weeks of intensive training on his specialization of rocket launchers and assault.

His participation in the Marines has inevitably affected his college life. Because of his training at Camp Lejeune and now another interrupted college semester, Cornell du Houx is a year to a year and a half behind his original entering class at Bowdoin.

"Although, the Marines have extended my Bowdoin education for a couple more years, at the same time I'm learning a lot in the Marines that I couldn't learn in the classroom," he said.

A government and legal studies major, Cornell du Houx is also involved in a variety of activities at Bowdoin. Aside from his work with the Democrats, he is the co-president of Community Service Council, an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the Young Alumni Leadership Program, and a tutor at local schools in the America Counts Tutor Program. He also works at the youth think tank — Youth Empowerment Program.

As a freshman, Cornell du Houx was not particularly active in politics. He was more involved in his community service organizations.

"After coming back from my Marines training sophomore year, I began to see more of a connection between community service and political service. ... I realized that one must become politically involved to create long-term tangible results that make a real difference in people's lives," he said.

Politics put on 'hold'
Until he received word that his unit will be deployed to Iraq, Cornell du Houx planned to run for the District 7 seat on the Brunswick Town Council.

"As a native of Maine, a Marine, president of the Maine College Democrats and founder of the Bowdoin Community Service Council, I've learned that the most important issues are local, which is why I also decided to run for town council," he explained.

Last week, Cornell du Houx withdrew from the race because of the deployment.

Cornell du Houx is still not certain as to what he wants to do when he graduates from Bowdoin College. He is required to spend two years on call for the Marines after his six years in the reserves.

But first, Iraq awaits him, a fact that has friends on campus wishing him luck and hoping for his safe return.

"Alex is a great guy with a big heart. He is a committed community member, Marine and American," said Bree Dallinga, co-president of the Maine College Democrats.

The Bank is Open for Donations

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- A voice from the speaker system projects throughout the camp requesting assistance in helping a fellow human being. Without hesitation, eligible service members stop what they are doing to support the request--they know every second counts. (CLR 25 / pics at ext. link)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/02c1df08dec0746c852570a5003c74d7?OpenDocument


Submitted by:
2nd Force Service Support Group
Story by:
Computed Name: 2nd Lt. Jorge O. Escatell
Story Identification #:
200510257020

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- A voice from the speaker system projects throughout the camp requesting assistance in helping a fellow human being. Without hesitation, eligible service members stop what they are doing to support the request--they know every second counts.

The voice is that of the walking blood bank and is manned by the sailors and Marines assigned to the Surgical/Shock Trauma Platoon, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Force Service Support Group (Forward). These service members are tasked with giving those injured a second chance at life. When a patient has lost significant amounts of blood from an injury or surgery the walking blood bank is activated.

The help of the walking blood bank is requested by the attending surgeon whenever it is determined that a patient requires more than six units of blood or their red blood cells drop below 30 percent, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael R. Arceneaux, a 13 year veteran in the medical field and advance lab technician from Baton Rouge, La.

“We are not equipped to maintain large amounts of [blood] here like back home so it is crucial that people step up and answer the request for their blood type,” said Arceneaux.

A meticulous process must be followed before blood is given to a patient, said Arceneaux. The donors and patient’s blood must be screened and tested to ensure there is match. “Some service members will have a certain blood type on their dog tags or think they know what blood type they are but when we complete our spin tests they turn out to be something different."

If the results of the spin test come back positive the blood is not given to the patient said Arceneaux. A positive result means that the donor’s serum is reacting to the patient’s red blood cells which could cause problems.

It is definitely a team effort when these service members have to come together to save a life. “We have Sailors and Marines, who have been trained on how to screen and some to draw blood because every second counts,” said Arceneaux.

Seaman Francis N. Koina, lab technician and native of Portsmouth, Va. also with S/STP, CLR 25, 2nd FSSG (FWD) was assigned to this unit after completing a 56-week course that he said has helped him to better perform his duties.

Koina said he did not expect to deploy to Iraq right after school but was glad that he did, for the experience he is accruing here is very valuable. “Back in the states I would probably end up in some chemistry lab, here I get to help people with the training I received.”

For further information regarding the walking blood bank please contact Chief Joselito A. Jamero at [email protected]

October 24, 2005

Seamus M. Davey

LOWVILLE, N.Y. – Corporal Seamus M. Davey, 25, of the Marine Forces Reserve’s 4th Force Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Reno, Nevada, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died on Friday October 21, 2005 in vicinity of Haqlaniyah, Iraq.

http://www.newzjunky.com/obits/1024daveyobit.htm

October 24, 2005

LOWVILLE, N.Y. – Corporal Seamus M. Davey, 25, of the Marine Forces Reserve’s 4th Force Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Reno, Nevada, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), died on Friday October 21, 2005 in vicinity of Haqlaniyah, Iraq.

A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, October 29, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. at Lowville Academy Central School auditorium with Rev. Sarah G. Sanderson-Doughty, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Lowville, officiating. Military Honors will follow. Burial will be private.

Visitation will be on Friday, October 28, 2005 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, Lowville.

In memory of Seamus, memorials may be made to Lowville Academy Booster Club, c/o Christine Bach, Treasurer, LACS, 7668 N. State Street, Lowville, NY 13367.

Born in Pensacola, Florida on October 24, 1979 the son of Derek M. and Lorene A. Olson Davey, Seamus graduated from Lowville Academy and Central School in 1998, and attended Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calf., while living in San Diego, Calf.

At Lowville Academy he played football, basketball, and lacrosse, where he was with the lacrosse program since its inception.

He is survived by his parents, Derek and Lorene of Lowville; three sisters Shiloh M. Davey and her fiancé Ryan Mackey of Cambridge, Mass; Brittany L. Davey and Austin A. Davey both of Lowville; his paternal grandparents James R. Davey of Lowville, and Marget S. Davey of Brantingham; aunts, uncles, and cousins. He is predeceased by his maternal grandparents Frederick Olson and Conradine Ross.

Seamus was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Lowville and Lewis County Detachment #754, Marine Corps League.


Information provided by Virkler-Percoski of Lowville and Newzjunky.com

4th Force Reconnaissance Company practices parachute operations over Kaneohe Bay

Experienced jumpers can land on the target even at night in an unlit drop zone.
These Marines train in many other ways as well. (4th RECON / picture at ext. link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/9CD289AC2A034975852570A4008066E7?opendocument


Submitted by: Marine Forces Pacific
Story Identification #: 20051024192229
Story by Lance Cpl. J. Ethan Hoaldridge

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Oct. 24, 2005) -- Five thousand feet above Kaneohe bay in a CH-53D helicopter, Marines from 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, performed parachute operations, Oct. 18.


The reconnaissance Marines were training to make silent, undetectable insertions for future missions.


This insertion method is designed to put recon or special forces teams into an objective area undetected to conduct clandestine operations, either reconnaissance and surveillance, or direct action type missions.


The Marines performed two different types of jumps, double-bagged static-line jumps and military free-fall jumps.


Double-bagged static-line jumps have a static line grounded to the helicopter. The line pulls the chute open immediately upon exiting the aircraft. This method only allows a max jump height of 25,000 feet.


The military free-fall allows for anywhere above 25,000 to a max jump of 35,000 feet.


A military free-fall jump gives the jumper the ability to free-fall around 10,000 feet before opening the parachute himself.


During the parachute operation, the Marines glided to the landing zone from 1,300 meters offshore to the landing zone.


The landing zones are 500 by 700 meters, but ram air conopy, square parachute, jumpers can land within 100 meters of the target.


Experienced jumpers can land on the target even at night in an unlit drop zone.
These Marines train in many other ways as well.


The reconnaissance Marines consistently train in patrolling, land navigation, communications, boat work and sniper training.


“Both active and reserve components are seeking Marines who would like to take up the challenge of becoming a Reconnaissance Marine,” said the 4th Force Reconnaissance Company first sergeant. “If a Marine is active duty and approaching his expiration of current contract, he could consider transferring to the Reserves and joining the Marines of 4th Force Reconnaissance Company. If you want more information or would like to coordinate a screening, contact your Career Planner or the Transitional Recruiter at 257-1251.”

Setting up for marital bliss or preparing for a divorce

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Oct. 24, 2005) -- In 2004, 2,235 enlisted Marines divorced, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center. This brought the divorce rate in the Marine Corps up to about 65 percent, 20 percent more than the average rate in the U.S., according to the DMDC.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/128AF90916BFDF8F852570A50002EA8C?opendocument


Submitted by: Marine Forces Pacific
Story Identification #: 20051024203151
Story by Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Oct. 24, 2005) -- In 2004, 2,235 enlisted Marines divorced, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center. This brought the divorce rate in the Marine Corps up to about 65 percent, 20 percent more than the average rate in the U.S., according to the DMDC.

While the number of young people getting married in the U.S. has been declining, the number of married Marines between the ages of 17 and 21 has continued to increase, and so has the divorce rate.

According to the Training and Education Command, there are five recurring reasons why a young Marine decides to rush to the edge of commitment and dive in headfirst.

The first is the lure of more money, according to TECOM.

When the military went to an all-volunteer force, pay was increased and family entitlements were expanded to attract more recruits.

By calling attention to family benefits such as Basic Allowance for Housing, separation allowances and commuted rations, the military created the "financial illusion" that married military couples make more money than single servicemember. So, a number of first-term Marines came to believe they could support a spouse and children on their military pay and live more comfortably than in the barracks, according to TECOM.

The second most common reason is that young Marines want to leave barracks life behind. Rules, regulations, being constantly under a watchful eye and field day are all reasons Marines long to leave the barracks.

“Marines need to understand that getting married will leave you in the same position, if not worse,” said Sgt. Jeremiah J. Burcher, the administrative noncommissioned officer in charge here. “I got married when I was 19. I wanted to get out of the barracks. All it did was open the door for more problems and ultimately ended up in divorce.”

Burcher went on to give examples of challenges a Marine would face after leaving the barracks:

·You have to get a car, and in some cases two, if you do not already own one.

·You have to drive to work everyday. Gas and insurance are expensive.

·Homes, apartments and condos are not cheap, even with basic housing allowance.

·If you don’t marry for love, you will most likely end up unhappy.

·The extra money you get will just have to go to the new expenses. One paycheck has to feed, clothe and keep two people happy.

Inevitably you are right back where you started.

The next problem stems from the unique challenges of Marine life.

“Military life can make you lonely,” said Cpl. Theresa Medina, who got divorced after three years of marriage. “I didn’t want to be alone, so, I got married very quickly.”

According to Cmdr. Jeffrey Rhodes, the deputy force chaplain here, it is very important that a person does not look at marriage as simply a way out of loneliness.
“Do not search for the one you want to marry, search for the one you love,” he said.

Medina, a combat illustrator here, added, “I should have spent more time looking for the right one, not the right now.”

The fourth reason young Marines get married is a lack of insight. According to TECOM, a lot of young Marines are simply suckered into getting married.

“If a couple gets married within a month of meeting each other, chances are one of them should revaluate the motives behind it,” said Rhodes.

Servicemembers are entitled to benefits that are of great value, such as medical and life insurance, housing allowances and commissary benefits. These can be a large attraction for future wives and husbands, according to Sgt. Major J.D. Williams, the Headquarters and Service
Battalion, Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, sergeant major.

The last reason ties all of them together. Immaturity is the largest factor in the equation of a ruined marriage.

“It seems to me that Marines do not have much control over their careers, but the do have control over their personal lives. So, choosing to get married might simply be an exercise of control,” said Arlene McCormack, a Marine Corps Community Services family care advisor.

Each agrees that younger Marines fail to realize marriage does not solve all the problems.
According to McCormack, a Marine considering marriage should take as much time as possible to ensure they are comfortable with their motives to marry and to evaluate all the positives and negatives of their decision.

“If a Marine wants to get married I believe they should talk to their supervisor first, if only for advice. It’s always good to have a second opinion,” said Rhodes. “Also the Marine should consider talking to a chaplain; not just for religious advice but for basic marriage counseling as well.”

Chaplains are not the only resource for marriage counseling. MCCS One Source provides free marriage counseling for anyone who needs it, either in person or on the phone. If the Marine is interested they can call 1-800-869-0278 or look online at http://www.usmc-mccs.org/onesource/index.cfm.

“If a Marine wants to get married or is even considering marriage, he or she needs to think long and hard about the decision he or she is going to make, and should take advantage of all the advice and premarital counseling offered,” said Williams. “A marriage is nothing to take lightly, because if it fails, it doesn’t just ruin one life, it destroys two.”

Marine leaders mull over mentoring

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Oct. 24, 2005) -- The Training and Education Command has drawn up a program that will take the already hardened bond between leaders and their subordinates and form an even stronger link connecting senior and junior Marines through mentorship and encouraging better leadership qualities and unit cohesion.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/1F82C409BA866442852570A500042E6B?opendocument


Submitted by: Marine Forces Pacific
Story Identification #: 20051024204540
Story by Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Oct. 24, 2005) -- The Training and Education Command has drawn up a program that will take the already hardened bond between leaders and their subordinates and form an even stronger link connecting senior and junior Marines through mentorship and encouraging better leadership qualities and unit cohesion.

The Marine Corps Mentoring Program is being implemented not as a new concept, but as formal guide to an ancient tradition.

“This is nothing new really, its simply reminding Marines to follow their basic leadership principles, to help yourself become a better leader and more importantly set your Marines up for success,” said Staff Sgt. Jason O. Whitesel, the special security officer chief, here.

Senior Marines have been mentoring young Marines informally since the Corps’ creation. The fact is, that today not every Marine is mentored and not every Marine is provided one-on-one leadership by his direct senior, according to Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps.

As such TECOM has designed a guidebook to assist leaders in the formal mentoring program.
From the very beginning, the guidebook spells out exactly what a mentor is and how important they can be to a junior Marine’s life.

“I put a lot of faith into my mentor, First Sgt. Curt Day,” said Lance Cpl. Randi M.J. Foust, a combat videographer here. “Since he knows me as a person, and actually cares for me, I know I can go to him with any questions or concerns that I may have.”

A mentor is defined as a “…wise adviser, teacher and guardian.” Every Marine from the private, who is graduating recruit training to the commandant, needs a mentor to provide guidance and leadership, according to the mentor guidebook.

Along with the guidebooks, Marines will use their mentor logs as a syllabus to track their progress.

Mentor logs are documents that take the mentor through the process step by step, making sure to hit every key point, even so much as to tell them what tone of voice to use, when to respond and how to respond.

“All Marines must work to become good mentors. Being a good Mentor is a fundamental part of good leadership,” according to Hagee. “Having and displaying genuine concern for your fellow Marine all the time and for every endeavor is the key to success for Marine leaders.”

Commanders at all levels are responsible for ensuring that the mentor program is carried out in their units. Since the mentoring program is constantly changing and improving, any and all feedback is welcomed.

The Marine Corps Mentoring Program documents can be found at http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/mentoring/.

Tactical Combat Casualty Care course prepares Marines for the worst

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Oct. 24, 2005) -- “I’m hit, it’s my leg … some one help me … I want to go home!” (3/3)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/89AD439FDCA47D9D852570A500098665?opendocument


Submitted by: Marine Forces Pacific
Story Identification #: 2005102421442
Story by Lance Cpl. J. Ethan Hoaldridge

U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES, PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Oct. 24, 2005) -- “I’m hit, it’s my leg … some one help me … I want to go home!” Explosions, gory screams, blood gushing from wounds and utter chaos consumed the field, as exhausted Marines and Navy Corpsman rushed for cover. All had to make it to the evacuation point within minutes, keeping casualties alive and not adding further injuries.


Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment prepared for deployment to Iraq, with life saving training during a Tactical Combat Casualty Care course given by Special Operations Training Group, Oct. 7.


“In combat, the Marines are the first responders to casualties, whether it be from an improvised explosive device, a sniper or a helo being hit,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Barry Breuninger, the chief instructor for the SOTG medical branch.


“Our goal is to get them thinking tactically, so they won’t become a second casualty when responding to another,” he continued.


Marines are taught to get the casualties out of harms away and then treat the wounds.


“We are teaching these Marines to get the casualty off the X, the place they were injured, stop the bad guys trigger and address security,” said Breuninger.
If the Marines are able to do that, they can avoid more casualties and still accomplish the mission.


“We also teach Marines how to assess and reassess the wounds a casualty may have using the acronym MARCH, Massive hemorrhaging, Airway, Respiration, Circulation and Hypothermia,” said Breuninger.


MARCH helps the responder prioritize which types of wounds to deal with first.


Arterial bleeding, sunken chest wounds and broken limbs were common injuries that the Marine learned to treat.


The Marines spent three days in the classroom learning TCCC and then were allowed to practice in the field.


The exercise tested to see how much knowledge was retained.


Marines were put into squads and tested on the new skills during realistic urban warfare scenarios. During the drills, they received casualties in their platoon, while their instructors graded them on application.


“We tried to make it as real as possible using IEDs, casualties with massive hemorrhaging and gashes that would squirt blood all over the Marines,” said Breuninger.


The final mission given to the Marines left them with little supplies, many wounded and an evacuation point that was a few hundred meters away. The wounded casualties would have to be moved several times and treated in between the X and the evacuation point.


Some of the wounded would yell and scream, creating a more tense and stressful combat environment. Instructors would continue to spray fake blood on wounds that needed to be wrapped again.


The Marines had a positive response to the training.


“I think this training should be a requirement for all Marines going to Iraq or Afghanistan, because it could be my life that they save,” said Lance Cpl. Greg Dellavalle, a saw gunner, 3rd Marines. “I feel much more confidant, when it comes to first aid after this training.”


The commander of the battalion thought this training a necessity for his Marines as well.


“TCCC gives these Marines the bare basics of first aid, which keeps Marines alive,” said Lt. Col. Norm Cooling, 3rd Battalion commander. “The quicker you can get the Marine off the battle field and taken care of, the quicker you can take the fight to them.”

Marines and civilians honor those who "Came in Peace"

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - (October 23, 2005) -- “Oct. 23, 1983. For Onslow County, it was a day that will live in infamy,” said Maj. Gen. Robert C. Dickerson, the commanding general for Marine Corps Installations East.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/85B3693FF927EA96852570A4006848F9?opendocument

Submitted by: MCB Camp Lejeune
Story Identification #: 2005102414594
Story by Lance Cpl. Adam Johnston

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - (October 23, 2005) -- “Oct. 23, 1983. For Onslow County, it was a day that will live in infamy,” said Maj. Gen. Robert C. Dickerson, the commanding general for Marine Corps Installations East.

Civilians and service members gathered together Sunday at the Beirut Memorial in front of Camp Johnson to pay tribute to those who “Came in Peace.” This year’s guest speaker at the observance ceremony was Gen. Michael W. Hagee, the Commandant of the Marine Corps.

“For most of us Marines, that day is seared into our memories,” said Hagee. “I was a young major at the time, and I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I found out. I will remember that until the day I die.”

In the early morning of Oct. 23, 1983, a terrorist-driven truck loaded with explosives, drove into and destroyed 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment’s headquarters building. The resulting explosion and the collapse of the building killed 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers.

Nicholas J. Mottola, a former combat engineer with 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, was on-ship with the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit when the bombing occurred.

“We were on our way to relieve the Marines in Beirut when it happened,” said Mottola. “As soon as we heard what happened, we were ready to get over there, kick some [butt] and take care of business.”

Since the memorial’s commission in 1986, an annual observance has been held for all who wish to participate.

“We’ll do this forever, as long as the city of Jacksonville is here,” said Jan B. Slagle, Jacksonville’s mayor. “Those precious Marines and sailors will never be forgotten.”

Following his remarks, Hagee, along with Dickerson, participated in a ceremonial laying of wreaths at the foot of the monument to commemorate those Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“We struggle to find the words to say to those who lost loved ones during this tragedy,” said Hagee. “I wish we could say, as with many anniversaries, that this is a time for a peaceful remembrance, that we gathered here today to commemorate a danger that has long since passed. But, unfortunately, we cannot.”

For Mottola, this is his first time attending the ceremony since he got out of the Marine Corps in 1984.

“Many of my friends and fellow Marines died in the fighting that ensued as a result of the attack,” said Mottola. “I came here for some closure.”

The legacy of those 273 Marines, sailors and soldiers who lost their lives in Lebanon between 1982-1984, is being honored today by the valiant men and women of armed forces continuing the fight against terrorists and extremists, according to Hagee.

“America did not wish to send Marines abroad, but we sent them,” said Hagee. “We did not ask for violence, we answered. We did not end this war on terror, but we will end it.”

Kokomo, Ind., native rides again, on fourth deployment to Middle East

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- The current operational tempo of the Global War on Terrorism means many Marines are deploying to combat zones on a yearly basis. Back-to-back combat tours can cause headaches for Marines and heartaches for their families, but for Sgt. C. Alexander Wolf, it’s just another day at the office. (2nd MAW)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/F8C1EECAF87D343F852570A400718D1A?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 20051024164016
Story by Cpl. Micah Snead

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- The current operational tempo of the Global War on Terrorism means many Marines are deploying to combat zones on a yearly basis. Back-to-back combat tours can cause headaches for Marines and heartaches for their families, but for Sgt. C. Alexander Wolf, it’s just another day at the office.

Wolf, the signals intelligence chief for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), is on his fourth deployment to the Middle East, dating back to 2003.

The Kokomo, Ind., native, works for the Wing’s intelligence division, whose duties range from intercepting and analyzing electronic communications signals to production and dissemination of collected data. The 27-year-old Marine has spent the better part of six of his nine years in the Corps overseas, serving three yearlong tours in Japan before becoming a regular starter in the Middle East lineup.

“In my line of work, every deployment is different,” Wolf said. “I was probably kind of bitter about not deploying when I was in Japan, so now that I have the chance, I’m going to take it. What I love about deploying is the realization that what I do is directly affecting the war effort.”

Wolf joined the Marine Corps shortly after graduating high school in 1996, searching for a new way to challenge himself.

“I basically eased my way through high school,” Wolf said. “The way I see it, most schools are geared toward the lowest common denominator. For me, that meant it was pretty easy to breeze through. When I graduated, I knew I wanted to do something with my life.”

While some Marines may choose to steer their careers toward staying stateside, Wolf prefers the deployed life.

“I know I could’ve joined the Corps and spent three years on a base, taken college classes and done lots of different things,” Wolf said. “But out here, I get the piece of mind that I’m playing a part in what’s going on right now.”

Wolf’s experience is a great contribution to his superiors and the section as a whole, said 1st Lt. Adam G. Thomas, 2nd MAW’s signals intelligence officer.

“He has a complete understanding of the mission at hand and the processes to go about that mission,” Thomas said. “As any good noncommissioned officer, he operates almost completely autonomously, allowing me to continually be focused forward. It’s like holding the leash to a well-trained, 200-pound rottweiler. The only thing I have to do is point and hold on, he’ll take care of the rest. Needless to say, he makes my part of the job enjoyable.”

For Wolf, each deployment is an opportunity to increase his experience and add on to his base of knowledge, he said.

“I really enjoy doing as much as I can, working in the states or abroad,” Wolf said. “I want to keep building my knowledge base no matter what. In this field, knowledge is power.”

Constantly deploying usually means missed holidays and other celebrations, but it can also create a better appreciation for time with loved ones, Wolf said.

“You lose the flavor of holidays after a while,” Wolf said. “But, on the other hand, it means so much more when you are home. It’s like your sense of appreciation for what used to be normal occasions is enhanced.”

Wolf’s father is not always happy about his son’s deployment choices, but he is supportive, Wolf said.

“I don’t think any parent wants to see their child in harm’s way, but he understands this is what I do,” Wolf said. “My mother passed away, so the way I see it, she’s looking down on me, seeing what I do and knows I’m happy.”

The sacrifices Wolf has made throughout the years have allowed him to build a resume of experience and core of information that is unmatched, Thomas said.

“It’s funny, he’s been here so long that he will just recognize names that reemerge or show up in new areas, he remembers them all,” Thomas said. “I think he knows every bad guy in the whole country. I think one of the most difficult concepts for a new intelligence analyst to understand when they show up in country is the mindset of our current enemy.

“You can’t just think like a normal American would think,” Thomas said. “You have to completely set aside your biases for race, religion and creed and put yourself completely in the shoes of the enemy. You have to understand the language, the religion, the culture, the tribal relationships and the history, which Sgt. Wolf does very well. There’s no way to replace the knowledge gained (from having) boots on the deck.”

Wolf said he is not yet ready to settle back into a domestic routine and plans to deploy to Afghanistan within a year.

“When I’m deployed, I look forward to going home. But when I’m home, I can’t wait until I can deploy again,” Wolf said. “I’m usually scoping out my next deployment ahead of time. I’ll probably go until I’m burnt out or they won’t let me go again, I really don’t know.”

Wolf’s attitude and motivation have been the mostly likely keys to his success, Thomas said.

“One of my favorite sayings is ‘winners want the ball,’” Thomas said. “Sgt. Wolf just wants to be in the fight. He continually has a positive, can-do attitude and doesn’t let the little things get to him. I think that, more so than anything else, is the reason why he’s been so successful out here. I’m lucky to have him.”

Deploying seven months a year for three straight years may be too heavy a burden for some, but for Wolf it is an opportunity to learn, grow and take part in an important mission.

“I’m single and have my whole life ahead of me,” Wolf said. “If me coming out here means someone in a different situation doesn’t have to, then so be it. I enjoy it, so why not. I love the Marine Corps. I think that’s something that grows within us all. This is my way of giving back.”

Ammo technician learned much from life in the rear

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.(Oct. 24, 2005) -- There are many stories of Marines from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, who distinguished themselves on the battlefield in Iraq with valor and bravery. (pics at ext. link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/CA168085E6059BB5852570A4006D3921?opendocument


Submitted by:
MCB Hawaii
Story by:
Computed Name: Sgt. Joe Lindsay
Story Identification #:
2005102415530

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif.(Oct. 24, 2005) -- There are many stories of Marines from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, who distinguished themselves on the battlefield in Iraq with valor and bravery.

These 1/3 Marines, along with all American and coalition forces service members serving on the front lines, deserve the thanks of a grateful nation for putting their lives on the line, and in some cases, giving their lives, so that the United States and other countries of the world can be free.

But often forgotten amongst these brave souls are the one’s serving back on the home front. One such Marine is Cpl. Roberto Mundo, a 1/3 ammunition technician who was assigned to remain at Kaneohe Bay during the Lava Dogs’ last combat deployment.

“At first, I was disappointed not to deploy with the rest of the Lava Dogs to Iraq,” remarked Mundo, who spent his formative years growing up in Carolina, Puerto Rico, before relocating with his family to Columbia, S.C. “But, I figured if I couldn’t be at war with them, then the least I could do was my part back at home helping them.”

As Mundo points out, “There wasn’t too much need for an ammo tech back at (1st Batallion, 3rd Marine Regiment) in K-Bay, since most all of 1/3 Marines were fighting in Iraq, so I was assigned to help out with rear liaison issues.”
Those issues included rerouting mail to the Marines in Iraq, aiding in correcting pay problems, managing the barracks, and assisting new joins.

But of all his collateral duties, Mundo said, none meant as much to him as helping wounded Marines upon their return to Hawaii, and even more so, serving as a liaison to the families of Marines who were wounded or killed.

“When wounded 1/3 Marines came back to Hawaii, it was pretty much my job to take care of them,” commented Mundo. “Myself, the key volunteers, the regimental CO (commanding officer) and XO (executive officer), and any 1/3 Marine who could be spared would meet the wounded Marines at the airport and get them situated back at base. From there, it was my job to basically be there for them, to get them whatever they needed and to take them back and forth to all their doctors’ appointments. It was an honor for me.”

However, as much as being chosen to work with 1/3’s Purple Heart veterans honored Mundo, he said serving as a liaison to the families of the 1/3 Marines wounded or killed in Iraq was the greatest honor of all.

“Some of the families of Marines who were wounded or killed didn’t speak any English,” said Mundo. “One family even came directly to K-Bay from Mexico. Having grown up in Puerto Rico, Spanish is my first language, so I was chosen as the liaison for these families. I served as an interpreter, translator and escort, showing them around the base and accompanying them to military functions such as memorial services.”

“All of these families, despite the hardships and pain they were going through, treated me like a son,” recalled Mundo. “No matter what I do in the rest of my Marine Corps career, I’m not sure if I will ever do anything as important or as meaningful as that. It was a truly humbling experience. The families I came in touch with are so brave and strong, just like the children they raised who became Marines.”

Though Mundo’s experience in the rear during 1/3’s last deployment to Iraq is one that he said he will remember for the rest of his life, he added that “I am glad to be going with the guys on our upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.”
“Right now I am in my MOS (military occupational specialty) doing the job the Marine Corps trained me to do — making sure the grunts (infantry Marines) have the ammo they need to accomplish the mission,” said Mundo. “There are a lot of logistical aspects to being an ammo tech. We get orders for ammo, secure vehicles and make sure they are set up for ammo transportation, pick up the amount and types of ammo requested, count it and verify that it is correct, get it to the grunts and set up ASPs (ammo supply points) closer to the action. We are also entrusted with guarding the ammo and distributing it.”

According to Staff Sgt. Victor Olivares, 1/3 logistics chief and an Iraq veteran, Mundo’s job is a vital one.

“A Marine can have the best and most sophisticated weapons on the planet, but without ammo all those weapons aren’t going to do the Marines a bit of good,” said the Arleta, Calif., native. “Ammo techs keep our Marines in the fight. Corporal Mundo has a lot of responsibility, but we know we can count on him to get the job done. When he is given a mission, it gets accomplished. He’s doing a great job.”

Lance Cpl. Jack Hunter, a 1/3 mortarman and Iraq veteran, said he couldn’t agree more.

“Without our ammo we are pretty much useless,” said the St. Louis native. “As grunts, we all respect our ammo techs that are locked on, because they are with us wherever we go taking care of us. We’ve accepted Corporal Mundo as one of our own, which isn’t something that happens over night with the grunts, but he has proven himself over the past month on our live-fire pre-deployment exercise to Twentynine Palms that he is someone we can count on.”

Lance Cpl. Marc McGarry, a 1/3 rifleman from Rockland, Mass., spoke of Mundo in a similar vein.

“Corporal Mundo is down and dirty with us,” said McGarry, who is preparing to make his first combat deployment. “He works hard. For example, the other night I came off guard duty at 0100 (1 a.m.) and Corporal Mundo was sorting ammo. When I woke up at 0500 (5 a.m.) he was already up working on another task. Nothing is ever messed up with our ammo because he is so locked on. We see him working hard for us and we respect that. Everyone here is glad he is deploying to Afghanistan with the rest of the grunts.”

For his part, Mundo reiterated that although he will never forget the time he spent in the rear during 1/3’s last Iraq deployment, he is thankful to be going with 1/3 on their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“I wouldn’t want to miss out on serving with these outstanding Marines from 1/3 in Afghanistan, and I’m glad I am going, but at the same time I now have a greater appreciation for what the Marines are doing back at home,” said Mundo. “We are all doing our part.”

Medical outreach caps U.S. effort in Afghan operation

Mission instills in troops sense of ‘ultimate purpose’

By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Tuesday, October 25, 2005

WATAPOOR, Afghanistan — The shy, barefoot girl with the scraped toe shuffled up to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael Johnson.

To continue reading:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article;=32503

Forward Deployed Sailors, Marines Begin PHIBLEX 06

ABOARD USS ESSEX (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from the Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived at Republic of the Philippines Oct. 22 to begin Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 06. (31st MEU)

http://www.news.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=20727


Story Number: NNS051024-02
Release Date: 10/24/2005 11:53:00 AM
Top News Story - Editors should consider using these stories first in local publications.

From Task Force 76 Public Affairs

ABOARD USS ESSEX (NNS) -- Sailors and Marines from the Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group and the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived at Republic of the Philippines Oct. 22 to begin Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 06.

The annual bilateral Republic of the Philippines and United States exercise is designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and continue professional relationships between the United States and Philippine Armed Forces. The Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group last visited Republic of the Philippines in Fall 2003 during PHIBLEX 04.

Capt. Mark E. Donahue, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, and Marine Col. Walter L. Miller, commander, 31st MEU, spoke with Sailors and Marines about the upcoming exercise with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Both leaders emphasized the Navy/Marine Corps team concept and also discussed how vital it was to maintain readiness capabilities with their Philippine counterparts.

“The Navy and the Marine Corps together make a dynamic team,” said Donahue. “This exercise will not only showcase the Blue-Green teamwork, but also maintains the readiness capabilities for both the Philippine and U.S. Armed Forces, and goes a long way in supporting the peace and stability of the Asian-Pacific region.”

Miller expressed similar sentiments.

“What you will be doing here is very important,” said Miller, addressing the Marines on USS Juneau’s (LPD 10) flight deck. “Many of your Marine brothers are in Iraq but your Philippine brothers need you here. This is an amazing opportunity for us to learn from them and for them to learn from us.”

Amphibious Squadron 11 and Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group with embarked Okinawa-based 31st MEU, are currently on their Fall deployment conducting bilateral exercises, Talon Vision and PHIBLEX 06, with the AFP.

The three-ship Amphibious Ready Group consists of USS Essex (LHD 2), Juneau and USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43). Approximately 5,000 U.S. and Philippine military personnel will participate in the exercises.

Sailors and Marines will also participate in community service projects at local elementary schools and Medical Civil Action Programs (MEDCAP) with the AFP during the exercise. The humanitarian effort is a joint effort between the Philippine and U.S. Armed Forces not only to train and work together, but also to benefit the local community.

“While training is our emphasis, we understand how important it is to give back to the communities here in the Philippines,” said Donahue.

While Talon Vision and PHIBLEX 06 emphasizes interoperability between U.S. and Philippine forces, it will also sustain a seamless cooperative partnership between the Navy and Marine Corps.

One of the main evolutions that the Navy/Marine Corps team will be conducting during the exercise will be ship-to-shore movment of troops and equipment, using a variety of helicopters and amphibious landing crafts. Marine aircraft participating in the exercises are from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 262 (Reinforced), the Air Combat Element (ACE) of the 31st MEU. The Marine aircraft include CH-46E Sea Knight, CH-53D Sea Stallion, AH-1W Cobra and UH-1N Huey helicopters and AV-8B Harrier II jump jets. Amphibious landing craft participating in the exercises are Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), Utility Landing Craft (LCU), Air Cushion Landing Craft (LCAC) and Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC).

Essex, Juneau and Fort McHenry are based out of Sasebo, Japan, and part of the Navy’s only Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group.

For related news, visit the Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/ctf76/.

Pendleton Marine has leg amputated

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — A Pendleton Marine, who was injured in Iraq when a bomb exploded beneath his Humvee, remains in a military hospital in Germany after doctors amputated his left leg.

http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-12/1130165040213660.xml&storylist;=orlocal


10/24/2005, 9:19 a.m. PT
The Associated Press

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — A Pendleton Marine, who was injured in Iraq when a bomb exploded beneath his Humvee, remains in a military hospital in Germany after doctors amputated his left leg.

Pfc. Zachery J. Knight is recovering at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center's intensive care unit in Landstuhl, Germany. When he is stable, he will be moved to the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, said his mother, Tammy Knight.

She recently received good news from her son's doctors, who told her that Knight "pointed at some letters to let them know he feels like a million bucks," she said.

In addition to his leg injury, Knight's jaw and wrist were broken in the explosion.

A 2003 graduate of Pendleton High School, Knight was part of a military police company assigned to provide support to troops.

___

Information from: East Oregonian, http://www.eastoregonian.com

2/3 proves no mountain too tall

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Oct. 24, 2005) -- Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted Operation Pil in the Watapor Valley Oct. 16-23 in order to improve security and assist in stabilizing the government in the troubled region. (Pics at ext link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/7A5824EEDAF29BE4852570AC0059AD7B?opendocument


Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 2005111111931
Story by Sgt. Robert M. Storm

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Oct. 24, 2005) -- Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, conducted Operation Pil in the Watapor Valley Oct. 16-23 in order to improve security and assist in stabilizing the government in the troubled region.

Operation Pil was the latest mission launched by the Marines and sailors aimed at improving security within the problem areas of the region.

“We didn’t find much during this operation, but it was still good to show the villagers an ‘island warrior’ presence,” said Sgt. Curtis D. Magee, machinegunner, from Collins, Miss. “For our part of the mission we had to hike up over 5000 ft. to a mountain top, but it was good for us to do that stuff. It’s what we need to do as infantry, staying out in the field and accomplishing whatever mission we’re assigned.”

The Marines sustained little enemy contact throughout the operation with the exception of Camp Blessing, the farthest Marine Corps outpost in Afghanistan. Blessing received indirect mortar fire from anti-coalition militia.

In support of the operation, Marines and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment deployed to accomplish various missions throughout Kunar province.

“As the main effort we were tasked with ascending a mountain in order to cordon and search the village of Tsangar. This village was an ACM safe haven for planning attacks against coalition forces,” said 1st Lt. John Bambey, platoon commander, from Cincinnati, Ohio. “The Marines and sailors did a stellar job accomplishing the mission.”

The presence of the Marines in areas of Afghanistan is supported by many of the local villages who have long been threatened and intimidated by the thuggish tactics of the ACM. The United States leads a multinational force with about 20,000 troops pursuing ACM in Afghanistan. Noticeable progress has been made with the government in allowing free elections and the building of schools, hospitals and roads as provinces continue to improve their infrastructure.

The campaign in Afghanistan has come to be thought of as the “other” conflict since the invasion of Iraq began. However, while the country remains sometimes dangerous and uncertain, steps toward a peaceful and stable government are being made.

E-mail Sgt. Robert M. Storm at [email protected]

Local students honor Marines in Iraq

Every day, Emani Shelton, 7, walks past a photo of her mother posted on a display board in the hallway of Mossy Oaks Elementary School and places her forehead against the photo.

http://www.beaufortgazette.com/local_news/story/5279833p-4790906c.html

Published Mon, Oct 24, 2005
By REBECCA QUIGLEY
The Beaufort Gazette

Every day, Emani Shelton, 7, walks past a photo of her mother posted on a display board in the hallway of Mossy Oaks Elementary School and places her forehead against the photo.

"I like to put my head on there 'cause I miss my mommy," Emani said.

Emani's mother recently left her for a tour of duty in Iraq. It's the first time she has left since Emani was a baby.

"She started going there in August, and she's coming back in March," Emani said. "She went to help people."

As soon as her mother returns, Emani said she's going to "hug her and then pinch myself to see if it's a dream."

Emani has her own surprise that she will wait to tell her mother in person -- "I got on the AB honor roll," she said.

The picture of Emani's mother is one of several photos of students' parents and teachers' sons and husbands who have served or are serving in Iraq.

The display includes an American flag that was flown by Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 224, The Bengals, over the Al Asad air base in Iraq in honor of Mossy Oaks Elementary students.

The center of the display is a large map of the world with a small map of Iraq, pointing out the spot where family members have been stationed.

Showing students where Al Asad and Iraq are on a map both ties into their geography lessons and gives them a sense of place -- where they are relative to people in other parts of the world, said Principal Donald Gruel.

Zach Brown, who turns 11 on Sunday, pointed to a photo of himself with his dad, who Zach said was in Iraq for seven months but came home two weeks ago.

"When he was gone, I thought about him a lot," he said. "When I told him there was a wall up of everybody, he said 'Wow, thanks, Zach!'"

Zach said having a display at school is important because "it reminds people that don't have family members (there) to support those who do."
Have a Class Note? Contact Rebecca Quigley at 986-5517 or [email protected]

VMA-223 Sgt. Maj. brings unique experience, keeps Marines focused

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- Sgt. Maj. Courtney K. Curtis had never served in an aviation combat unit. After enlisting in the Marine Corps as an amphibious assault vehicle crewman, Curtis had spent all his time in the Fleet Marine Force with Marine Corps ground units. (Marine Attack Squadron 223- 2nd MAW / pics at ext. link))

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/74FD6D32BC1A5468852570A400238BC7?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 2005102422815
Story by Cpl. James D. Hamel

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- Sgt. Maj. Courtney K. Curtis had never served in an aviation combat unit. After enlisting in the Marine Corps as an amphibious assault vehicle crewman, Curtis had spent all his time in the Fleet Marine Force with Marine Corps ground units.

As a first sergeant, Curtis deployed twice with a tank battalion, to Djibouti, Africa, and to support the initial stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Curtis had been everywhere except the Wing.

“I was told that Wing Marines lacked disciple,” said Curtis, a native of Panama City, Fl. The veteran crewman was less than ecstatic when he received orders to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 223, a Harrier squadron based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

“I corrected a Marine more than once,” he recalled of his first days with the squadron. “That reinforced that this was going to be rough.”

But Curtis was pleasantly surprised. After getting to know his Marines, he realized they were just like any others.

“The difference (between Wing and ground Marines) is no difference,” he said. “Marines want to lead and are hard working. They’re continuously looking for challenges, regardless of their job.”

Curtis reported to VMA-223 in May 2005, shortly before the unit deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. The leadership of the squadron was happy to have an experienced sergeant major on board to take to Iraq.

“I was excited,” said Lt. Col. David Lancaster, the executive officer of VMA-223 and Dallas native. “(Marines) all have the same ethos, but having a fresh set of eyes on how to do business is always nice, and he was able to provide that.”

The one thing Curtis’ fresh eyes saw that he did not like was the lack of emphasis placed on the development of leadership qualities. As he saw it, the development of junior leaders is what makes the Marine Corps work so well, and he wanted to emphasize that within his squadron. To do that, he started his own Corporals Leadership Course, the first class of which begins in November.

“When Marines become (noncommissioned officers), the light doesn’t switch on and all of a sudden they’re leaders,” he said. “It’s a learning experience.”

Curtis is the type of sergeant major who wants to know each of his Marines. Lancaster said it’s impressive how well he knows the squadron considering the short amount of time he’s been there.

“He comes down, talks to us and gets involved. He even tried to work on aircraft,” said Cpl. Justin R. Edwards, an avionics technician and Nashville native. “When you have a sergeant major who interacts with his Marines, it brings motivation.”

Curtis deeply believes in the mission in Iraq, and he said his Marines agree with him.
“Everyone wants to be free and we all believe in the mission,” he said. “If younger generations can grow up to be free, that’s the most important thing to the Marines.”

Curtis said his biggest challenge as a leader of Wing Marines has been to keep them inspired about how their jobs contribute to the mission. In his previous deployment to Iraq, he and his Marines had the opportunity to interact with the Iraqi people and see the positive influence they had. Many of his Marines cannot see the effect they have.

“You can’t watch a bomb being dropped as maintenance Marines in a hangar,” he said. “There are times when we have to sit down as a squadron and remind them why they are here and how what they are doing is making a difference,” he said.

In characteristic fashion, Curtis does that the same way he does everything else with his Marines, by talking to them.

“These are challenges I address on a daily basis,” he said. “Every part they have in fixing these planes helps the war. It is a challenge, and I deal with it by being down there (on the flightline) with the Marines.”

Marines, Iraqi citizens work toward a better future

SAQALAWIYAH, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- The room is small and furnished with only a desk, two small sofas and a few file cabinets, but this doesn’t stop the police chief here from conducting daily business. (6th CAG)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/B181CF2969D4BA1C852570A4002CAE32?opendocument


Submitted by: II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story Identification #: 20051024481
Story by Staff Sgt. Ronna M. Weyland

SAQALAWIYAH, Iraq (Oct. 24, 2005) -- The room is small and furnished with only a desk, two small sofas and a few file cabinets, but this doesn’t stop the police chief here from conducting daily business.

A new Iraqi flag hangs behind his worn desk on a wall desperately in need of repairs. Yet, he selflessly speaks only of his concerns for a safer and better Iraq.

“Baghdad is only 30 miles away, but we are about 70 years behind in growth,” said the police chief.

The Saqalawiyah Iraqi Police are currently working with members of the 6th Civil Affairs Group, 2nd Marine Division, on projects to renovate the three local schools and the police station.

There are currently more than 1,200 Iraqi Police conducting security measures in and around the city of Fallujah.

EDITOR’S NOTE
Please feel free to publish this story or any of the accompanying photos. If used, please give credit to the writer/photographer, and contact us at: [email protected] so we can update our records.

31st MEU assaults air field, kicks off Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Republic of the Philippines (Oct. 24, 2005) -- Marines and sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Forward-deployed Amphibious Ready Group simulated an airfield seizure marking the start of the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2006 here Oct. 21. (31st MEU & 2/4 E BLT / pics on ext. link)

www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/3608D0DD152F3F68852570A400232F07?opendocument

Submitted by: 31st MEU
Story Identification #: 2005102422418
Story by Sgt. Mike Camacho

The Okinawa and Sasebo, Japan-forward-deployed American forces’ participation in the bilateral exercise holds a dual-fold purpose. In one aspect, the MEU receives evaluations for its special operations capable requirements while enhancing the interoperability between U.S. and Philippine forces.

“Both our forces have numerous training objectives to accomplish and we’ll accomplish them together,” said Col. Walter L. Miller, Jr., the MEU’s commander. “Not only are we conducting events such as live fire training and amphibious landings, we will also conduct medical and engineering civic action projects near our training areas.”

Approximately 4,500 U.S. Marines and sailors will participate in the exercise making it the largest U.S.-Philippine military training exercise this year.

“Operating with the U.S. forces allows us to exchange and enhance each other’s techniques, tactics and procedures,” said Philippine Marine Lt. Col. Benjamin B. Asiddao, assistant superintendent of the Philippine Marine Corps Training Center.

According to Staff Sgt. Brian K. Withrow, 2nd platoon sergeant, E Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, each service has much to offer the other.

“Our Marines are able to attend some really great schools and experience very sophisticated training, which we want to share with our Philippine counterparts,” said Withrow, a Susanville, Calif. native. “But it’s a mutual exchange because some of my Marines haven’t experienced combat, while many of the Phil-Marines have extensive experience.”

The U.S. Marines simulated an assault on an airfield here, and the Philippine Marines played the role of a defending force during the simulated firefight.

“The U.S. Marines reacted like robots,” said Philippine Marine Staff Sgt. Roy T. Borgarra, sniper instructor, Philippine Marine Corps Sniper School. “They are very disciplined and have no fear of the enemy.”

According to the 27-year-old Withrow, both forces’ performances were commendable, and proved the fundamental elements in a Marine Corps are the same.

“What I think we, U.S. Marines, do very well is decentralize command down to the lowest possible leader,” said Withrow. “We have four-man teams where the lance corporal is the one who makes important and competent decisions.”

The exercise, which is designed to improve interoperability, enhance readiness and build professional relationships between U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces, will end Nov. 1.

'Always upbeat'

Friends and family say Marine fulfilled his lifelong dream of joining Corps

http://www.herald-mail.com/?module=displaystory&story;_id=122745&format;=html

by DON AINES

WARFORDSBURG, PA.

[email protected]

From the time he was a boy, Steve Szwydek had set his goal in life: He wanted to be among "The Few. The Proud. The Marines."

"He told us when he was 5 years old," his mother, Nancy, said Sunday at their Fulton County, Pa., home, where family and friends had gathered to console the family over the loss of the son and brother killed last week during his second deployment to Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek, serving with Weapons Co., 2nd Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, and two fellow Marines were killed Thursday when an improvised explosive device detonated while they were on combat operations near Nasser Wa Salaam, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

"He was a typical kid, but never had any problems," his mother said. Born in Portsmouth, Va., Steven Szwydek graduated in 2003 from Southern Fulton High School, where he played outfield and catcher for the baseball team, managed the basketball team, sang in the school choir and was chaplain for the FFA chapter.

Steven was active in the youth group of his church, St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hancock, the family said.

"He was one of the nicest guys you ever knew," said his friend, Timothy Keebaugh of Needmore, Pa. "He'd do anything to help you out. He was a funny guy" who loved the outdoors, Keebaugh said.

In the summer before his senior year, Szwydek joined the Marine Corps through the delayed entry program, Nancy Szwydek said.

"We did try to talk him into - very strongly - looking into other branches of the armed forces," said his father, Wallace Szwydek.

"We told him the Marines were brainwashed," Nancy said, apologizing to two Marine sergeants who were with the family. Their son spoke with a U.S. Army recruiter, but was unwavering in his desire to join the corps, she said.

Nancy Szwydek told her son she would not sign the permission form necessary for those under the age of 18 to enlist in the program.

"He said, 'Mom, I love and respect you, but I'll wait 'til I'm 18,'" and sign up then, she recalled.

"So I signed," she said.

"He left for boot camp four days after graduation," she said.

Stephanie Bard of Warfordsburg, Steven Szwydek's older sister, said she read letters written to her brother by classmates when he was in first grade. In them, the classmates wrote that "he always wanted to be an Army man."

"He was a military history buff," his father said. His son was very proud of a military weapons collection that included American and foreign firearms from World War I to the present.

The family said he planned to make the Marine Corps his career. His younger brother, Corey, said he had discussed leaving the Marines to go to college and then returning as an officer.

Steven Szwydek, who has an older brother, Gregory Craven, in Oklahoma City, was deployed to Iraq from March to October of 2004, his father said. He was redeployed July 20, he said.

"He had leave and we also spent time with him at (Camp) Lejeune (N.C.) before he left," his mother said. About two weeks ago, they spoke with him by telephone.

Nancy Szwydek said her son had just finished a patrol and sounded tired, "but fine as always."

"Always upbeat," said his father, who noted Steven made the call at 3:30 a.m. Iraqi time.

Szwydek was the recipient of many awards during his service, including the Purple Heart. Other awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal, his parents said.

"He had no regrets about what he was doing, and he made it clear we have no regrets, either," Bard said.

"My husband and I both believe that freedom isn't free," Nancy Szwydek said.

About two miles from the Szwydek home, there was a sign in front of Wilkins Farm & Home Supply bearing Steven Szwydek's name.

Below his name, the sign read, "The Last Full Measure."

Ties That Bind

Military Members, Families Feel Connected To Family Of Marine Who Died In Iraq

http://www.dnronline.com/news_details.php?AID=1232&CHID;=2

By Jenny Jones

Staff Sgt. Shawn Mace never met Lance Cpl. Daniel Bubb, but he feels connected to the young Marine who was killed in Iraq a week ago today.

"It’s almost like losing my brother," said Mace, 35, a former Marine who is now a recruiting officer with the U.S. Army. "He paid the ultimate sacrifice."

Bubb, 19, died during small-arms fire while conducting combat operations in Al Rutbah, Iraq.

Bubb’s body is on its way home to Grottoes, where funeral arrangements are pending with Johnson Funeral Service.

The town of Grottoes, where Bubb is from, will hold a vigil at 6 p.m. Thursday at Grand Caverns.

Feeling Of Guilt

When soldiers die in the line of duty, members of the military family not only mourn their loss but also think about the possibility that it could have been them.

Brad Morris of Grottoes, whose son Jason Morris spent 11 months in Iraq, said hearing about Bubb’s death hit home "because you think of that possibility that that phone call or that visit could have been for you."

Jason Morris, who returned safely, said he is trying to get back to a normal life by looking for a job.

Brad Morris said he and his family feel guilty when they think about Bubb and his family.

"It’s hard to say how sorry you are when" Jason Morris made it home and Bubb didn’t, Brad Morris said. "It’s hard for [Jason] and hard for us to think about it.

"I know how [the Bubbs] felt up to the point where they got that visit," telling them that their son was killed, Brad Morris said. "They’ve made the ultimate sacrifice."

Honorable Death

Several military members say Bubb’s death was honorable.

"He died for a reason, and people need to keep him in their thoughts so he didn’t give his life in vain," Mace said. "Hopefully, people around here will understand the sacrifice these young people are making."

Larry Martineau of Harrisonburg, a retired Army staff sergeant, said that even though he’s been out of the military for 10 years, he still pays attention to military news.

Bubb’s "is the kind of story you sit down and read," he said. "I really feel sorry for the family and friends but I believe that he died doing something he believed in."

Contact Jenny Jones at 574-6286 or [email protected]

Together we serve: Brothers join Marines

Hurlock men follow in family's military tradition

http://www.delmarvanow.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051024/NEWS01/510240303/1002


By Kim Mitchell
Daily Times Staff Writer

HURLOCK -- It's how Norman Era Jr. raised his sons -- to not only be patriotic but to fight for their country.

So when he watched his boys, Norman Era III and Phillip Era, follow in his footsteps by joining the Marines, he knew what they were getting into.

"They looked at it as a challenge," the father said. "I was laughing at them the whole time."

If the two thought they had a strict and demanding childhood, the eldest Era knew what his boys were in for at basic training on Parris Island, S.C.

For their mother, Patricia Era, it was quite a shock to have her boys leaving home at the same time.

"When we're around she tries to act like she's all tough, but like any mom, she's worried about her boys," Norman Era III said Monday. "She wants us to go and be who we want to be."
Becoming Marines

In his junior year of high school, Norman Era III didn't know what he wanted to do when he was older. But a conversation with his grandfather led him to decide to join the Marines.

"It's a family tradition to go into the military," he said, speaking of not only his father but his uncles and grandfather. "The Marines work harder and earn more respect."

It became a plan but one that took some time to accomplish.

"I took time to have fun and get out of schooling ways," he said.

Phillip Era knew the Marines offered the opportunity to travel and break the monotony of everyday life. A year after he graduated high school he enlisted.

"One day he came home and said he signed up for the Marines," Norman Era III said. "I figured it was a good enough time, so I did too. We didn't plan it. It just came around and happened."

The oldest brother didn't know of his younger brother's intentions but was proud when he heard.

"It's good to know that your little brother looks up to you," he said. "And doing something that big with my brother really means something to me."

The two left Hurlock in May for training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. There, with others vying to become Marines, the two were pushed to their physical limits and learned to work as a team.

"When you're going to a place you've never been to before and no one you know there, it's hard. He was someone to talk to, relate to. It made it a lot easier," Norman Era III said of his brother.

With just a year difference in their ages, the two had always been close. Being together for the grueling three months of training made it easier for them.

"It was like a piece of home was there with me," Phillip Era said Tuesday.

Having his older brother as a fellow recruit also gave Phillip Era an extra edge.

"We're pretty competitive," Phillip Era said. "If he did something, I wanted to do it better. I always wanted to outdo him."

There were times when they questioned their decisions to join, but once they finished the training that transformed them from civilians to Marines, they knew it was worth it.

"I'd do it again just to go through the graduation," Norman Era III said. "There is no other way in the world to get a feeling like that."

The two graduated together Aug. 19, which made it easier for their parents, Norman Era Jr. said. "We only had to make one trip," he said.

After graduation, the two went to Camp Geiger, N.C., for Marine Combat Training where all enlisted Marines receive training.

But shortly after their training began, Norman Era III broke one of his hands. He remains at Camp Geiger on light duty until it heals.

It was different for the new Marines. After three straight months together, they'd have to be apart and independent.

"It was different," the youngest said. "But he isn't always going to be around me."

Norman Era III watched his younger brother graduate from MCT; he hasn't spoken to Phillip Era since.

"It was weird," Norman Era III said. "I used to be with my brother every day."
Where will they go from here?

Phillip and Norman Era III not only wanted to follow their father's footsteps into the Marines but also into mechanics.

Phillip Era is at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri receiving military occupation specialty certification in motor transport.

"I like trucks," he said. "They're just fun, and here I get to learn a few things about engines."

After Norman Era III regains the use of his hand and completes his MCT, he will also be off to Missouri for 31 days of schooling in motor transport.

"Both of us are going for drivers of Humvees," he said. "It's always been one of my favorite vehicles and getting a chance to drive one would be awesome."

Both of the Era men know they may be sent overseas to drive the Humvees in convoys or on military bases. But the prospect of going to war is something for which they are prepared.

"I knew before I signed up it was a big chance of me going," the older brother said. "I have no worries because of the training we received."

Although Phillip Era is also not fearful of going to war, his brother worries for him.

"I always like to protect him," Norman Era III said. "I know he can take care of himself. He's pretty much a man now, so I can't treat him like a little brother anymore."

# Reach Kim Mitchell at 410-845-4634 or [email protected]

Navy corpsman from Millers Creek dies in Iraq

Marines are killed when armored vehicle is hit by a roadside bomb near Baghdad. A Wilkes County native, who was a Navy corpsman assigned to the Marines, was killed in Iraq on Friday in a roadside bomb attack. (2/2)

http://www.journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSJ/MGArticle/WSJ_BasicArticle&c;=MGArticle&cid;=1128767715361

Marines are killed when armored vehicle is hit by a roadside bomb near Baghdad

By Monte Mitchell
JOURNAL REPORTER


MILLERS CREEK

A Wilkes County native, who was a Navy corpsman assigned to the Marines, was killed in Iraq on Friday in a roadside bomb attack.

"I can't let my Marines go without me," Chris Thompson, 25, told his father, just before shipping out on his second combat tour. "I take care of them."

A corpsman - similar to a medic in the Army - goes on patrol with the Marines and tries to keep the wounded alive. Thompson was a petty officer hospitalman third class. Thompson and another member of the 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) were killed in the bombing near Amiriyah, 25 miles west of Baghdad. Thompson was riding in the left rear seat of an armored vehicle when someone set off an improvised explosive device, his parents said.

Larry and Geraldine Thompson were home at 9:25 p.m. Friday when they got the news. She was already in bed reading. While he was in the living room, Larry Thompson looked up from the television and through the front door's glass panel to see Navy officers in dress blues. He knew immediately why they were there, Larry Thompson said.

Churches throughout Wilkes County offered up prayers for Chris Thompson and his family yesterday as news of his death spread. Mourners offered condolences at the family's home beside a road off N.C. 16 in the Millers Creek community.

His brother, David, also a Navy hospital corpsman assigned to the Marines, said that Chris Thompson's executive officer told him he was proud to go to war with Chris.

"He knew if something happened he'd take care of them," David said. "If things were worst, he'd be the first one to step up."

David Thompson, 35, hugged his parents before leaving yesterday to return to Camp Lejeune. He is scheduled to travel to Iraq on Nov. 4 and expects to meet with his commanding officer today to see if he will still do that.

The family doesn't know when Chris Thompson's body will come home.

Larry and Geraldine Thompson sat at their kitchen table as they talked about their son. They wore yellow bracelets with the message "Support Our Troops."

The bracelets were a gift from Chris, presented as they all stood in the rain July 21 at Camp Lejeune and he boarded the bus that would take him to the plane back to Iraq.

"We promised him we wouldn't take them off until he got back and they haven't been off," Larry Thompson said.

"Mine neither," Geraldine Thompson said.

While he had been home from his first combat tour, someone asked him how he could manage to insert an IV in someone's arm on a battlefield, while bullets were crackling by and bombs exploding.

"He said, 'All I can tell you is I haven't missed yet. When you've got somebody dying, you've got to do what you can do,'" Larry Thompson recalled.

During his first tour, from March 2004 to October 2004, Thompson used those skills to help four Marines seriously hurt when a bomb exploded beside the Humvee in front of his. One man was blinded. Another lost his right leg. Another lost his right arm. Another had a head injury.

Thompson attended to them, and held a fifth Marine, his best friend, who died in his arms.

When the fight was over, they would find two bullets inside Thompson's medical pack. He was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal with valor for his actions.

When he was home, he talked to his father about still seeing the faces of those who had died.

Larry Thompson, an Army veteran, understood. Larry said he still sees faces of those lost when he was in Vietnam in 1967-68.

"I don't want to forget them," he says he told his son. "I want to remember them and honor them.... You do the best you can and come home. That's all you can do."

His mother remembers a funny boy. She told the story of how as a teenager he would sneak her convertible out to take his buddies for a ride. He would think she didn't notice when she'd crank up and the gas needle would be on empty and the radio blaring. She never told him she knew.

She remembers the time he was wrestling for fun with his oldest brother, Jimmy Epley, who is now 42. Epley pinned him against the wall, but Chris got the last word by saying he would still be young when Epley was old.

Chris Thompson played football and baseball at North Wilkes High School. He grew up in the Mulberry area, and the family only recently moved to Millers Creek.

He joined the Navy when he was 21, and finished basic training three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He didn't get to go to his promised school, but was sent straight to the fleet as a seaman aboard the USS Austin.

Eighteen months later, he finally started the corpsman training that he had wanted.

Because Wilkes County was relatively close to Camp Lejeune, it wasn't uncommon for the Thompsons to come home and find tents hanging outside to dry. Their son and several Marine friends would be sprawled asleep inside the house.

Chris Thompson wanted to become a coach and teacher. Once his military duty ended in July 2006, he hoped to study at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.

In his parent's last phone conversation with him Thursday, Thompson asked them to send some clear lenses for his sunglasses. He also wanted some Kool-Aid mix because the water there tasted nasty.

They talked for only five minutes.

"He said 'Dad, I'm awfully tired, I can't stay long, I'm going out on another patrol,'" Larry Thompson remembers. "He said, 'I love you,' and we said 'We love you.'"

They talked about Coastal Carolina's overtime football win against Gardner-Webb University the previous weekend.

"He said, 'I'll go down there and go to school and you may see me on the sideline next year,'" his father recalled.

Military officials have told them that Chris Thompson's body will be flown into Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, his father said. They plan to have the funeral at Peace Haven Baptist Church and bury him nearby in Mountlawn Memorial Park.

• Monte Mitchell can be reached in Wilkesboro at (336) 667-5691 or at [email protected]

October 23, 2005

31st MEU and Philippine Marines conduct MEDCAP

GAWAD KALINGA VILLAGE, BARANGAY SANTA JULIANA, CAPAS, TARLAC, Republic of the Philippines (Oct. 23, 2005) -- More than 800 Philippine citizens gathered for the US-Philippine military sponsored medical civic action project here Oct. 23. (31st MEU

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/C8FBF75AAF41F466852570A50015564A?opendocument


Submitted by: 31st MEU
Story Identification #: 2005102423533
Story by Lance Cpl. W. Zach Griffith

GAWAD KALINGA VILLAGE, BARANGAY SANTA JULIANA, CAPAS, TARLAC, Republic of the Philippines (Oct. 23, 2005) -- More than 800 Philippine citizens gathered for the US-Philippine military sponsored medical civic action project here Oct. 23.

Navy Corpsmen with Marine Expeditionary Unit Service Support Group 31, and III Marine Expeditionary Force Special Operations Training Group, worked with Philippine military medics and provided basic health care for local Philippine citizens.

In anticipation of the early-morning event, the patients lined up on the outskirts of the village. The residents seeking medical care checked in at a table manned by a U.S. and Philippine service member where they filled out an application card indicating whether they were seeking dental or medical work.

After the application, U.S. and Philippine medical workers sorted and directed the local citizens on the location for treatment. The dentistry took place in a small building, and basic medical care was given in an open pavilion.

Navy Lt. Vincent Grimm, the MEDCAP site commander with MSSG-31, said the event primarily focused on basic care. The doctors, dentists, and corpsmen were limited to basic procedures because all the medical equipment was carried ashore by the corpsmen themselves. However, most of the issues were easily taken care of with basic medical procedures.

“We dealt with a lot of sick children and skin problems,” Grimm said. “There was one elderly lady who broke her wrist about a month ago and she had not gotten it taken care of. We set and splinted it for her.”

American and Philippines corpsmen and doctors worked side by side to take care of the numerous of patients waiting for care. Some personnel used the encounter to learn from their more experienced counterparts.

“I’m learning more than (I’m) helping I think,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Minter, a SOTG instructor and corpsman with III Marine Expeditionary Force Special Operations Training Group. “I’ve never been to a civic operation like this before. The real experience of helping people is awesome.”

Minter spent several hours working with Philippine Air Force Capt. Maria J. Posadno, an obstetrician gynecologist. She said she enjoyed the experience working with an American medic.

“It is good for us to work together like this,” she said. “We can learn so much from each other.”

“I do most of the learning, though,” Minter said. “She’s the best doctor out here.”

At the end of the day, the joint medical group had treated nearly 1000 villagers for medical or dental, with some of the patients receiving care in both areas.

“Projects such as these provide opportunities for U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces to work and train together while improving the well being of the people in the communities they serve,” said Col. Walter L. Miller, the commanding officer of the 31st MEU.

The MEDCAP was part of Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercises, which are bilateral training events strengthening ties and interoperability between the U.S. and the Philippine militaries.

The Okinawa, Japan-based MEU is embarked with Amphibious Squadron 11 and the Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group currently on their Fall deployment.

Operation Pil targets Taliban in Kunar province

U.S., Afghan forces aim to disrupt enemy activities

By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, October 24, 2005

WATAPOOR, Afghanistan — Bullets were tinging off the Humvees and rocket-propelled grenades were hitting so close to the Marines that they could see orange flecks as the grenades exploded. (2/3 / photos at ext. link)

To continue reading:

http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article;=32474

Green Dragons’ repelled insurgents, explosives

AL AMARIYAH, IRAQ (Oct. 23. 2005) -- The convoy of assault amphibian vehicles came up on a cluster of houses here during an operation late last summer. After cordoning off the area with the tracked vehicles, infantrymen dismounted from the armored vehicles, providing another level of security for the ‘cordon and knock’ operation. (2nd AAB & 2/7 / photos at ext. link)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/07A75D9B1EBB8409852570A300726C65?opendocument


Submitted by:
II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre
Story Identification #:
20051023164948

AL AMARIYAH, IRAQ (Oct. 23. 2005) -- The convoy of assault amphibian vehicles came up on a cluster of houses here during an operation late last summer. After cordoning off the area with the tracked vehicles, infantrymen dismounted from the armored vehicles, providing another level of security for the ‘cordon and knock’ operation.

The AAVs—labeled ‘green dragons’ for their size and loud engines by local Iraqis—were positioned on a defensive perimeter and their Marine crewmen kept watch as infantrymen began going house-to-house collecting information and searching for illegal weapons.

Assault amphibian vehicles are huge, ungainly war machines called “tracks” or “hogs” by some of their operators. Introduced to the Marine Corps more than 30 years ago, the 26-ton behemoths were originally designed with the intent of taking combat-loaded Marines from ship to shore.

In the fight against insurgents in Iraq, AAVs provide additional force projection with an increased level of safety and firepower.

“They are an additional force for coalition forces carrying out operations within the area,” said Gunnery Sgt. Richard A. Gross, 34, of Clarion, Pa., and platoon sergeant with 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. “They provide security, troop transport, firepower, mobility and speed.”

The armored vehicles are able to carry more than two dozen Marine infantrymen with a maximum speed exceeding 40 miles per hour. The gun turret is equipped with an M-2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun and a MK-19 grenade launcher, both capable of taking out enemy targets over long distances and giving coalition forces more area coverage with less troops.

For the troops on the cordon and knock operation, the AAVs are seen as an added bonus in carrying out their missions in Iraq.

“I can’t carry a .50 cal,” said Sgt. Jason Campbell, 29, of Waco, Texas, and a squad leader with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, of the heavy weapon capable of stopping insurgents in their vehicles. “They have increased [our] firepower and they can go pretty much anywhere.”

Recent debate about the use of the amphibious tracks in the desert terrain of Iraq increased after an insurgent attack used a massive bomb against an AAV causing several coalition casualties. Despite that particular loss, the squad leader from central Texas pointed out the effectiveness of the tracks against improvised explosive devices and other explosives while conducting the cordon and knock operation.

“The tracks take the brunt of the blasts,” said Campbell, whose platoon has been attacked with enemy explosives three times, once by a landmine, while riding in the amphibious vehicles. “It’s better to have a broken AAV, than a dead Marine.”

Some crewmen also believe the size, mobility and firepower of their ‘green dragons’ give the enemy second thoughts about launching a full-scale attack against their operations.

“The tracks provide a show of force,” said 1st Lt. Kyle J. Andrews, 24, of Lexington, Ohio, and platoon commander with the assault amphibian unit. “We may not always be needed but we are a psychological deterrent to those that oppose us.”

The Marines finished their operation after a Navy explosive ordnance disposal team destroyed a possible insurgent rocket found sticking vertically out of the ground. The unexploded rocket had been found in an area where children played.

The AAVs left the area to return to their base from what had been a routine mission. Shortly before arriving there, a terrorist driving a car bomb targeted Marines by detonating next to one of the tracked vehicles.

The bomber had succeeded in destroying himself in the blast. Yet the feared ‘green dragons’ emerged from the carnage without structural damage and only two Marines slightly injured.

Funeral Date Set For Lowville Marine Killed In Iraq

Cpl. Davey died Friday morning from an explosion in Iraq, according to his family.

http://www.newswatch50.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=38A80AFD-23A7-477F-BAC0-6C9E840CA0C2

10/23/05

Friends and family from near and far are expected at the Saturday, Oct. 29th funeral for Marine Cpl. Seamus Davey, of Lowville.

Cpl. Davey died Friday morning from an explosion in Iraq, according to his family.

"He has a wide assortment of friends and family who are scattered across the country," said his father, Derek Davey, noting that some family members are overseas.

He said the Saturday time frame for the funeral should give all family members and friends time to arrive.

Mr. Davey said the family hopes to secure permission for the use of the Lowville Academy auditorium for the funeral. No time for the funeral has yet been set.

Mr. Davey, a former Marine, said he is extremely proud of his son.

He said he in no way pressured his son to join the Marines but that "he developed his own pride and loyalty himself."

"He believed in service to his country," Mr. Davey said.

Mr. Davey said he expects his son's body to be returned stateside as early as today or by Monday or Tuesday at latest.

He said U.S. Marines in Syracuse have been very helpful with travel arrangements and providing military honors for his son.

MITT teams building ISF up with hard work

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 14, 2005) -- One of the biggest challenges, and key factors in creating a stable Iraqi state is helping to create and train a national army that can protect and uphold the principles of freedom that Coalition Forces is fighting. (3/7 Kilo photos at external link)

MITT teams building ISF up with hard work
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051021114911
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki


http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/2B6889B8DFAD73C1852570A10056E6B8?opendocument

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 14, 2005) -- One of the biggest challenges, and key factors in creating a stable Iraqi state is helping to create and train a national army that can protect and uphold the principles of freedom that Coalition Forces is fighting.

To help provide a quality training regime, and to help organize efforts by coalition forces to create Iraqi led and trained soldiers, the Military Transition Team was created. While starting off slowly with much publicized recruiting troubles and retention issues, the MITT teams have since organized a fighting force that will be able to protect Iraq’s domestic interests, said 2nd Lt. Erik Keim, a logistics advisor with the MITT team based at Camp Ramadi.

“I’ve been working with the Iraqi’s for five months now, and have seen a huge improvement out of them,” said the Casper, Wyo., native. “We are getting the (Iraqi Security Forces) ready for the next step in their evolution which is autonomy.”

The recent University of Wyoming graduate volunteered to be part of the MITT team so he could come to Iraq, experience what life was like here and make a difference before returning to his normal unit back in the states.

“My unit was just getting back from Iraq and wasn’t going to leave for more than a year from when I got there,” he said. “I wanted some experience before I deployed with my battalion and this opportunity came up.”

Although challenging at times, Keim likes being able to say he made a difference while in Iraq, especially with his work in the recent constitutional referendum vote. One of the platoons Keim worked with at Camp Ramadi was in charge of providing security and maintaining order at one polling sites in Ar Ramadi and he came along to supervise and observe the ISF setting up and running the site.

“We did an exercise about a month ago, where each Iraqi company set up a strong point, did day and night patrols, handled peaceful and angry crowd control situations, and handled things like car bombers and suicide bomber attacks,” said Keim. “Our companies did very well in those exercises. We also did a polling situation where they had to search people quickly and effectively and get them through the polls. It was a lot like what they had to go through here.”

The day before the elections, the ISF workers set up the site, reinforcing windows and doors with sand bags, setting up voting stations inside the building and maintaining security positions around the facility. Their work allowed the Marines of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment to maintain a cordon and stay out of the election process, further exemplifying to the Iraqi people that their ISF is making huge strides forward.

“Everything we do here they are watching us, but it feels good to know we are making a difference,” he said. “Almost on a daily basis we are reminded that we are the tip of the spear. Preparing the Iraqi people to handle their own security is a main effort for us being here. It’s challenging but I actually enjoy it. When this war is over, I will know I had a direct impact on helping this country.”

An all too familiar story for vets

The El Paso standoff involving Army Spc. Joseph Dwyer has a painful familiarity for some veterans.

It's not simply because of other dramatic cases involving Iraq vets, such as the shooting of a couple in Las Vegas last July, and the incident in Massachusetts in August, when a Marine shot into a nightclub crowd.

http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-lisold234481525oct23,0,891136.story?coll=ny-linews-headlines


BY INDRANI SEN
STAFF WRITER

October 23, 2005

The El Paso standoff involving Army Spc. Joseph Dwyer has a painful familiarity for some veterans.

It's not simply because of other dramatic cases involving Iraq vets, such as the shooting of a couple in Las Vegas last July, and the incident in Massachusetts in August, when a Marine shot into a nightclub crowd.


Mostly, they say, they can imagine themselves in his place.

"Even to this day, if I'm outside or I'm driving down the road and a car backfires, I go totally into defense mode," said Joe Sanders, a 34-year-old veteran of Operation Desert Storm who discovered that he suffers from PTSD a year ago. He lives in a Suffolk community he preferred not to disclose.

Richard Sawyer, 60, of Sag Harbor, finds himself struggling with rage 35 years after he returned from Vietnam.

"I don't just get angry, I get sort of ballistic," he said. "It [PTSD] is like a magnifying glass, it magnifies your feelings."

Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of Operation Truth, an advocacy group for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, worries that the psychological toll of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars may exceed expectations.

"This is the tip of the iceberg," said Rieckhoff, who served as an infantry platoon leader in Baghdad from June 2003 to June 2004. "There's a wave of veterans coming home with a multitude of issues and a system that is unprepared to deal with them."

Rieckhoff's organization has advocated with some success in Washington for more money for mental health services for soldiers and veterans. "People are shocked to hear there's homeless Iraq veterans," he said. "I'm shocked there's not more ... "

Sanders, who served as an ammunition loader on a tank, still can't expel certain images from his mind. The unbelievable whiteness of the socks of a dead Iraqi, half covered in sand. The "god-awful" look on a fellow soldier's face after the two realized a bullet had whizzed between them.

"People don't realize that once you take a life, once you pull that trigger, there's no way of taking that bullet back. And you're a totally different human being once you've taken someone's life. You're never the same."

Lejeune Marine was proud soldier

"Most of you cannot fathom doing some of the things my boys and I have done, and that's OK; you don't have to," he said, according to a written version of the speech. "Most of what you see on CNN are all the bad events that are going on. What you don't see are the Marines passing out toys to children, giving tools to farmers and supplies to schools, not to mention the countless hours spent socializing and learning about each other's cultures."

http://newsobserver.com/news/story/2823114p-9272049c.html


Russoli was 'a good man, the best, very loyal.'

By TOBY COLEMAN, Staff Writer; From Staff Reports

A Marine from Greensboro was killed Thursday when the armored vehicle he was in hit a roadside bomb in central Iraq.

Lance Cpl. Andrew David Russoli, 21, died near Nasser Wa Salaam, a town not far from Fallujah. Two other Camp Lejeune-based Marines died with him.

Russoli's friends gathered at his mother's house Saturday in Greensboro. They recalled a man with an infectious laugh who was always on the lookout for sublime movie quotes.

His mother, Sally White, remembered a boy who played with G.I. Joe figures and hoped that someday he, too, would wear a soldier's fatigues. "He just loved to play with military things," she said.

As a teenager, he told his friends that he wanted to be a Marine or a Navy SEAL. He ended up following his best friend, Marlin Adams, into the Marines after graduating from high school in 2003. "He was a good man, the best, very loyal, and he wanted to do what was right," White said of her son.

Russoli completed his first tour of duty in Iraq earlier this year. He estimated that he was in 19 fire fights, saw more than two dozen bombs explode and endured long, uncomfortable days without food or sleep.

After he returned home, he put on his dress uniform one Sunday and spoke to his church, College Park Baptist in Winston-Salem.

"Most of you cannot fathom doing some of the things my boys and I have done, and that's OK; you don't have to," he said, according to a written version of the speech. "Most of what you see on CNN are all the bad events that are going on. What you don't see are the Marines passing out toys to children, giving tools to farmers and supplies to schools, not to mention the countless hours spent socializing and learning about each other's cultures."

He said he was just glad to be alive. People had shot at him. At least once, a bomb had blown up under his Humvee.

"There were many times when we would be running into a fight or being blown up when I thought to myself, 'This is it,' " he said. "And then I would look to the Marine to my right and to my left and we would all say, 'So let's go out in a blaze of fire and see who's coming with us.' "

In the audience, people who watched Russoli grow up realized he had become a man, said family friend Juanita Lojko. His mother swelled with pride.

"It was just a shining moment," she said. "Especially for me because he was home safe."

Russoli was a proud soldier, but friends said he was not excited to return to Fallujah this summer. "He was ready to come home," said Daniel Ingram, a minister at Russoli's church.

When he went back to Iraq, Russoli continued to talk with his mother about his future. He was considering college, she said, along with the possibility of becoming a private security guard in Iraq.

That conversation ended Thursday, when four Marines showed up at her house. Now, she said, she is waiting for Adams, Russoli's best friend, to bring her son's body home.

(Staff researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.)

Staff writer Toby Coleman can be reached at 829-8937 or [email protected]
Staff researcher Brooke Cain contributed to this report.

A son, a Marine, a hero is saluted

CARY -- Just before Marine Sgt. Mark P. Adams left for Iraq, he hugged his dad so hard that Phillip Adams thought his ribs were going to break.

http://newsobserver.com/news/story/2823103p-9272292c.html

By LEAH FRIEDMAN, Staff Writer

CARY -- Just before Marine Sgt. Mark P. Adams left for Iraq, he hugged his dad so hard that Phillip Adams thought his ribs were going to break.

As the embrace ended, Phillip Adams said, he noticed two tears trickling down his son's face. He could not believe his son, the Marine and former high school wrestling champion, was crying.

"Then he looked at me," Phillip Adams said. "It wasn't a sad look. But he knew, and I knew, we would never see each other on this earth again."

Phillip Adams shared these memories Saturday from the stage of Colonial Baptist Church in Cary with about 500 friends and family who gathered for his son's military funeral. His son's flag-draped coffin lay in front of him as he spoke.

Adams, 24, was killed in Iraq while on patrol with his Marine unit on Oct. 15, just a few weeks after he arrived for his tour.

Adams, who grew up in Morrisville, died near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, after a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee. A piece of shrapnel from the blast struck him just under the back of his Kevlar helmet.

"Don't you feel sorry for him," Phillip Adams said at the service with his wife, Rene, and sons Marshall, 28, and Mike, 25, by his side. "Don't you feel sorry for us. I went there this week, and I asked, why was Mark in the gun turret?"

After all, he said, his son was was the platoon sergeant. He could've put someone else in the turret, the only exposed part of the truck.

"If he had, it would have been someone else's family, and I would not wish this on anyone's family," Phillip Adams said.

Before the service, friends and fellow Marines gathered in the church lobby to visit with the family and reminisce about their buddy. They said he loved NASCAR and rocker Van Halen and liked to play softball, but was never the MVP of the game.

"I was the battalion tattoo artist, and he was always hanging out in my room," said Anthony DeFelice, 28, who served in the 3rd Battalion with Adams during his first enlistment in the Marines. "He would never get one, though. He was too afraid of what his mom would say."

Nick Werner, who also served in the Marines with Adams, wiped away tears as he showed photos of his friend.

"That's him driving a Humvee," Werner said, flipping through the album. "And that's at my house on the Fourth of July."

Just before Adams boarded a plan for Iraq, he called Werner.

"He said 'Hey, don't worry about us. I will see you in seven months,' " Werner recalled, tearing up. "I didn't think anything of it. We have been around the world together."

Adams joined the Marines in 1999 after graduating from Cary High School, where he helped the wrestling team win the state championship. His enlistment ran out four years later, and he left the corps frustrated that he had not been sent into combat, Phillip Adams said. Adams spent a year going to school and working. He also served as a volunteer assistant wrestling coach at Cary High.

Mark Jahad, 18, now a student at N.C. State University, was on the wrestling team Adams helped coach.

"In my junior year, I really worked with him, and he [made] me better," Jahad said in an interview Friday night. "I placed third that year in state."

Jahad said Adams became more than a coach to him. He became a friend.

"He was a really, really nice guy," Jahad said.

After two semesters at Wake Tech, Adams told his dad he wanted to re-enlist, and this time he wanted to go to Iraq.

His father, however, did not want him to go.

"I said 'Mark, you could get killed,' " Phillip Adams said in his eulogy. "He said 'Daddy, I'm not afraid to die for my country.' "

Phillip Adams said his son believed in the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The family said they are deriving strength from their faith and knowing their son died doing what he loved. Phillip Adams said they have also enjoyed reading the letters from Mark's friends.

Just before the service ended with a slide show of Adams' life and a rifle salute and playing of Taps, Phillip Adams walked around the stage's podium and looked down at his son's casket.

"Sgt. Mark Phillip Adams, I salute you, my son, my Marine, my hero," he said and broke into tears.

Staff writer Leah Friedman can be reached at 932-2002 or [email protected]

Service members give back to the Community


CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Oct. 23, 2005) -- Whether running a convoy or patrolling nearby towns for insurgents, no mission in Iraq is without some element of danger. However, 18 service members here had a welcome break from the daily routine to bring smiles to the local children of Iraq. (2nd FSSG / pic at ext. link )

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/98EC157384E0B116852570A40048CD1E?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Force Service Support Group
Story Identification #: 2005102491511
Story by 2nd Lt. Escatell

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq (Oct. 23, 2005) -- Whether running a convoy or patrolling nearby towns for insurgents, no mission in Iraq is without some element of danger. However, 18 service members here had a welcome break from the daily routine to bring smiles to the local children of Iraq.

Soldiers from Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion 112 Armored Regiment and Marines assigned to the Provisional Rifle Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, both with 2nd Force Service Support Group (Forward) took advantage of the opportunity to pass out a variety of gifts to the children.

Preparing for such a mission is no different than any other in order to ensure everyone’s safety, to include the Iraqi people.

“Danger is always around and today’s mission is no different. Even though it’s a civil affairs mission we treat it just like any other high priority mission,” said Marine Sergeant Rodrigo M. Guzman, a driver for the security vehicle and a native of Arlington, Va. Since Guzman arrived just a little over a month ago he has been on 25 missions that require him to travel outside the safety of the camp.

Army Staff Sgt. Mark S. Sims, patrol section leader and native of Grapevine, Texas, said that in order to succeed in their missions they must rely on the training and experiences they acquire during their stay. Sims has been on more than 150 missions during his stay here and said that one must always be alert no matter whether it’s their first mission or their 150th.

As the unit approached the local town the children ran out to greet the troops. While the troops set up a station to hand out gifts the older children helped by keeping the younger children in line.

“These kids know that we are here to help them and give them gifts that they either need or may want,” said Spc. David F. Denbeck, a Denton, Texas native.

Army 1stLt Brian M. Gallavan, of Richmond, Va., said some children need clothes and shoes while others just want a soccer ball.

Today’s mission was not to search for insurgents or improvised explosive devices but as Denbeck said, “It’s about being good neighbors and showing the people that we care.”

MALS-26 Patriot creates unique art in Iraq

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 23, 2005) -- Once they turned on helicopters as they flew into combat. Now, they are enshrined with visions of Iwo Jima, Sept. 11, kabars, Purple Hearts and Marines patrolling the deserts of Iraq. (pics in ext. link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/DF4AF6AE6622DCC1852570A300677DAE?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 20051023145023
Story by Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 23, 2005) -- Once they turned on helicopters as they flew into combat. Now, they are enshrined with visions of Iwo Jima, Sept. 11, kabars, Purple Hearts and Marines patrolling the deserts of Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Michael Murrell, the 500 division quality assurance representative at Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 26 (Reinforced), paints these images on trashed aircraft blades, spending hundreds of hours turning useless metal into priceless memories for Marines deployed to Al Asad, Iraq, Oct. 23.

“I’ve been making artwork since I was a drill instructor at Parris Island,” said Murrell, a native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. “Down the road, guys will want to have these to show they were Marines and remember this deployment. I try to make them the best I possibly can so it can become the centerpiece of a persons’ accomplishments.”

Murrell is not the typical artist, and due to his robust size and stature, he said most people can’t believe he’s an artist. Yet, he spends nearly all of his off-duty hours working on artwork for other Marines.

“It throws a lot of people off,” said Murrell. “I’m a marital arts instructor, a swim instructor and I’m into art. People look at the pieces I’ve done, then take a double look at me and shake their heads in disbelief.”

Murrell has taken the world that surrounds him and created art. He receives blades from helicopter squadrons and due to the high operational tempo and rocky environment in Iraq, he is kept well supplied.

“The biggest thing is making people happy,” said Murrell, who spends at least 30 to 50 hours on each piece. “People tell me ‘that’s the best thing I’ve ever seen,’ and that fuels the fire to make more.

“A piece of military aircraft strikes people who work around them all the time a certain way. They would want this more than a canvas painting. Each blade I paint is better than the last. I’m constantly trying to improve and learn new skills.”

Murrell said the inspiration behind his art is camaraderie and knowing it will be hanging somewhere for people to see and enjoy for years.

“It’s incredible to see this type of art here,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dexter Conrad, a supply chief with MALS-26, and a Huntington, W.V., native. “I’ve seen it displayed in Washington, D.C.. It’s a piece of living history. It will be wanted throughout the Corps, and might be the only thing my wife lets me put up in the home.”

Conrad, who earned a Purple Heart during Operation Desert Storm when his amphibious assault vehicle hit a tank mine, is having a blade built for him with a Purple Heart enshrined on it.

“I won’t stop working until the blade is just right,” said Murrell. “I consider what the person wants and work with him during the process. I want to make sure he’s going to like it. The Purple Heart I make for Conrad is going to mean something more to him than anyone else. He earned it and had to live through that experience.”

Murrell made his first blades for Marines in his section. But, he said once he was done with them it will be first come, first serve. Since, each blade takes more than a week to paint, he spends most of his off-time working.

“He works a lot later than I stay up,” said Gunnery Sgt. Blake Staehr, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the quality division department with MALS-26, who lives with Murrell, and whose blade includes gunnery sergeant chevrons.

“He’s quiet as a mouse and works hour after hour,” said the Strousburg, Neb., native. “Sometimes I wake up and the blade has changed immensely, it’s unbelievable. Not that he is mass producing, but you can see the difference after four or five hours of work.”

Murrell retires from work and travels to his barracks to spend more hours painting, every night. His passion for art started when he painted a large glass window for his wife, which, almost brought her to tears.

“I’ve always thought of myself as an artist, father and U.S. Marine,” said Murrell. “I want my art to tell stories. The only thing we have to hold onto is our history as a Corps, and this is another way of always remembering it. I hope kids 20 years down the road can look at them and think about what it was like for us in Iraq.”

Murrell stressed that the blades are special because they are handmade by a Marine, for Marines and are not something that can be bought in stores.

“The operations chief wants a cartoon of the Hulk holding a U.S. flag and wearing a (drill instructor’s) campaign cover,” said Murrell. “She was a drill instructor and that memory is important to her. All I need is a picture of what she wants, and I’ll do it. I can’t wait to see the amazed look on her face. That’s really why I do this, the looks on peoples’ faces.”

Bulldogs in Iraq ready for any challenge

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 23, 2005) -- To protect lives, they devote all their energy, no matter what challenges arise.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/BE26CF952DB7DA0F852570A300729B5E?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 20051023165148
Story by Cpl. Cullen J. Tiernan

AL ASAD, Iraq (Oct. 23, 2005) -- To protect lives, they devote all their energy, no matter what challenges arise.

The Bulldogs of Marine Attack Squadron 223 at Al Asad, Iraq, Oct. 23, have flown every scheduled combat mission for more than two months while simultaneously replacing five engines on their AV-8B Harriers, a feat which has required the support of every Marine in the squadron.

“We knew we had to do it,” said Gunnery Sgt. Terry Weiser, VMA-223’s power line division chief, and Erie, Penn., native. “We aren’t training, it’s all business here. We simply had to do it to support the ground troops, no question about it.”

Weiser’s mentality is shared among the Marines at VMA-223. Bulldogs from the different shops volunteered to ensure the engines were replaced and not a single mission was missed.

“If these planes aren’t in the air, people die,” said Lance Cpl. William Baker, an ordnance technician with VMA-223, and a Joliet, Ill., native. “If we aren’t working at ordnance, we are helping other shops. It’s about getting it done and the mission accomplished.”

The Bulldogs said they have grown accustomed to working for more than 12 hours a day. Most of the Marines are enjoying it and creating lifelong memories, said Baker.

“I love being out here,” said Baker. “It’s something I’ll always remember. I learn something new everyday out here. Working so many hours together, people say and do some crazy and funny things. We are always finding clever ways to amuse each other.”

Between keeping morale up and working together, each Bulldog shop has their own mission to accomplish.

“The avionics Marines maintain the Harriers’ systems, repairing anything electrical on the aircraft,” said Lance Cpl. Alexander L. Branson, an ordnance technician with VMA-223. “The airframe Marines work on the body of the Harrier, the wings and flaps. The power line Marines work on the engine. They all make it fly, the ordnance Marines make it kill.”

The ordnance Marines focus on weapons and weapon systems. They have a wide job field and it takes the determined work of every Bulldog to make sure when the pilot presses a little red button, things explode, Branson said.

“We have all gotten a lot closer,” said Weiser. “In the rear, we would change five engines in a year. Here, we have accomplished that feat in a month and a half, with an increased amount of flight hours and less people.”

Weiser said days before the Bulldogs came here they were collecting Marines from different squadrons. Now, he said it feels like they are all part of the same family and working together for long hours has created a strong bond.

“Knowing what I do saves lives is my motivation,” said Lance Cpl. William Hardy, a power line mechanic with VMA-223, and Syracuse, N.Y., native. “I originally came from a training squadron, and it’s amazing being here contributing to the big picture. The big picture to me is protecting the lives of not just Marines but everyone on the ground, including civilians, and taking the lives of the enemy.”

Besides repairing and inspecting engines, Hardy said there is always something for him to do and some way for him to help contribute to the big picture.

“Our main focus is to make sure the plane drops ordnance that explodes,” said Baker. “We save lives by dropping bombs on snipers, escorting convoys and destroying weapons caches.”

The Bulldogs’ Harriers also play a role as eyes in the sky, recording what they fly over as well as the precision bombs they drop.

“If they can, the pilots come by and show us the videos,” said Baker. “It lets us know we are all doing a good job and doing it correctly. We don’t get to see what happens outside the wire, but it feels good inside to see how all our hard work affects what happens out there.”

October 22, 2005

No More Black, White Pasties

Say So Long to the Pits!
In the butts, pulling targets, marking hits, scoring shots and disking the score for rifle qualification may no longer seem like the pits at the Starlite Range on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., thanks to the Location of Miss and Hit target system.

From Marines Magazine
April- June 2005 edition


http://www.mcnews.info/marines/Divisions/Scuttlebutt3.shtml


No More Black, White Pasties
Say So Long to the Pits!
In the butts, pulling targets, marking hits, scoring shots and disking the score for rifle qualification may no longer seem like the pits at the Starlite Range on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., thanks to the Location of Miss and Hit target system.

LOMAH is an automatic target system that detects and records the passage of all rounds that are fired within its detection zone. Individual monitors in the LOMAH target system are connected to a master computer that views shooters’ progress when firing. The system contains six supersonic sensors that detect whether or not a round impacts a target surface. Sensors located around the target also detect rounds that miss the target surface.

One of the benefits of the CATS is that it can be operated with one hand. Plus, it is lightweight, adding about as much weight as a small cell phone. It has a strap-style design with a built-in rod for tightening and Velcro strap for securing.

Shooters view their progress on monitors at the firing line. The monitors will display a silhouette of the target, showing the location of shot impacts.

The CATS is touted as the most durable, easy to use and lightest tourniquet for use in the field. Plans are in the works to issue CATS to every Marine who has been trained in the Combat Lifesaver Course and all corpsmen.

The computer automatically calculates the number of rounds that hit the target as well as the shooter’s score. When an excessive number of rounds strike the target, the main computer is notified to sort out an overall range solution. The system is guaranteed to work in rain, snow or even hail and has a 99.5 percent probability of completing an eight-hour training day without equipment failure. The LOMAH target system can reduce the number of Marines needed in the pits pulling targets during marksmanship training.

Installment of the system on Parris Island is still under consideration but it is already in use at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., which is the largest LOMAH range in North America.


CATS... on Every Battlefield

New Tourniquet System is an Improvement Over Old Rubber Standby
Marines engaged in combat operations will soon replace their current rubber tourniquets with new, lighter, more effective ones.

From Marines Magazine
April-June 2005 Edition

http://www.mcnews.info/marines/Divisions/Scuttlebutt2.shtml

CATS... on Every Battlefield
New Tourniquet System is an Improvement Over Old Rubber Standby
Marines engaged in combat operations will soon replace their current rubber tourniquets with new, lighter, more effective ones.

The U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research recently evaluated nine tourniquets and found three to be 100 percent effective. But, only one made the choice to be carried by Marines into combat - the Combat Application Tourniquet System.

One of the benefits of the CATS is that it can be operated with one hand. Plus, it is lightweight, adding about as much weight as a small cell phone. It has a strap-style design with a built-in rod for tightening and Velcro strap for securing.

Unlike the old rubber-style tourniquet, which can deteriorate over time, the CATS is made of cloth and plastic and only costs about $18.

The CATS is touted as the most durable, easy to use and lightest tourniquet for use in the field. Plans are in the works to issue CATS to every Marine who has been trained in the Combat Lifesaver Course and all corpsmen.

With casualties resulting from blood loss as the leading cause of battlefield death, the CATS is a certain ally.

Teaching Old Shotguns New Tricks

MCWL Tests New Way to 'FRAG'ment Doors
Among the many new experimental technolo-gies at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the smallest, by far, is the 12-gauge high explosive round called the FRAG-12.

From Marines Magazine:
April-June 2005 edition

http://www.mcnews.info/marines/Divisions/Scuttlebutt1.shtml


Teaching Old Shotguns New Tricks
MCWL Tests New Way to 'FRAG'ment Doors
Among the many new experimental technolo-gies at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the smallest, by far, is the 12-gauge high explosive round called the FRAG-12.

Designed to function as a shotgun-fired grenade, the FRAG-12 might give the good old shotgun a whole new set of missions. The FRAG-12 gives the best “bang for the buck” by improving the combat effectiveness of shotguns in urban areas by knocking out door locks, stopping vehicles at roadblocks and checkpoints, guarding against barricade attacks, and remote probing of potential Improvised Explosive Devices.

The new round pulls off the “bang” by way of a standard three-inch 12-gauge cartridge case and propellant, firing a fin-stabilized 19 mm warhead. The projectile arms three meters from the muzzle and fires upon impact with sufficient explosive power to make one-inch holes in quarter inch thick cold-rolled steel plates.

When the FRAG-12 round is fired, four fins open to stabilize the round and the safety rotates the firing mechanism into its armed position. After that, all that’s left to do is to strike the target, knocking a fist-sized hole in whatever it hits. Because it is fin-stabilized, it has a longer effective range than most shotgun rounds – reliably hitting window-sized targets at ranges of 150 meters and more. The FRAG-12 also offers an armor-piercing projectile with a shaped charge configuration designed to penetrate a half-inch of steel armor.

After the FRAG-12 completes its safety tests, the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab hopes to field experimental lots of the FRAG-12s and evaluate the rounds against real-world targets. Given the results obtained so far, this may be poised to become a must-have addition to the urban warrior’s shotgun magazine!


Unseen Enemy Is at Its Fiercest in a Sunni City

RAMADI, Iraq, Oct. 22 - The Bradley fighting vehicles moved slowly down this city's main boulevard. Suddenly, a homemade bomb exploded, punching into one vehicle. Then another explosion hit, briefly lifting a second vehicle up onto its side before it dropped back down again. (3/7 Lima and Kilo in depth)

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/23/international/23ramadi.html?pagewanted=2&ei;=5094&en;=042fd41fd39161a9&hp;&ex;=1130040000&partner;=homepage


By SABRINA TAVERNISE
Published: October 23, 2005

RAMADI, Iraq, Oct. 22 - The Bradley fighting vehicles moved slowly down this city's main boulevard. Suddenly, a homemade bomb exploded, punching into one vehicle. Then another explosion hit, briefly lifting a second vehicle up onto its side before it dropped back down again.

Two American soldiers climbed out of a hatch, the first with his pant leg on fire, and the other completely in flames. The first rolled over to help the other man, but when they touched, the first man also burst into flames. Insurgent gunfire began to pop.

Several blocks away, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Rosener, 20, from Minneapolis, watched the two men die from a lookout post at a Marine encampment. His heart reached out to them, but he could not. In Ramadi, Iraq's most violent city, two blocks may as well be 10 miles.

"I couldn't do anything," he said of the incident, which he saw on Oct. 10. He spoke quietly, sitting in the post and looking straight ahead. "It's bad down there. You hear all the rumors. We didn't know it was going to be like this."

Here in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, Sunni Arab insurgents are waging their fiercest war against American troops, attacking with relative impunity just blocks from Marine-controlled territory. Every day, the Americans fight to hold their turf in a war against an enemy who seems to be everywhere but is not often seen.

The cost has been high: in the last six weeks, 21 Americans have been killed here, far more than in any other city in Iraq and double the number of deaths in Baghdad, a city with a population 15 times as large.

"We fight it one day at a time," said Capt. Phillip Ash, who commands Company K in the Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, which patrols central Ramadi.

"Some days you're the windshield," he said, "some days you're the bug."

Ramadi is an important indicator of just how long it may be before an American withdrawal.

The city has long been a haven for insurgents, but it has never fallen fully into enemy hands, as Falluja did last fall, when marines could not even patrol before an invasion in November. Senior commanders here will not rule out a full invasion, but for now, the checkpoints and street patrols continue.

Because troop levels have stayed steady here, Ramadi also differs from Tal Afar, a rebel stronghold near the Syrian border, where Americans laid siege only to have to return later because they were unable to leave enough troops to secure it.

Still, more than two years after the American invasion, this city of 400,000 people is just barely within American control. The deputy governor of Anbar was shot to death on Tuesday; the day before, the governor's car was fired on. There is no police force. A Baghdad cellphone company has refused to put up towers here. American bases are regularly pelted with rockets and mortar shells, and when troops here get out of their vehicles to patrol, they are almost always running.

"You can't just walk down the street for a period of time and not expect to get shot at," said Maj. Bradford W. Tippett, the operations officer for the Third Battalion.

Capt. Rory Quinn, a Bronx native who majored in international relations at Boston University, used a mixed analogy: "It's kind of like playing basketball: short sprints. Everything we do here is a minefield."

Commanders remain hopeful that Iraqi soldiers will soon be able to take full responsibility for the city. The number of Iraqi Army soldiers here has doubled in recent months. A city council has begun to work, and a local police force is being trained. But the relentlessness of the insurgent violence here ties the American units to the streets, forcing them to focus on the fight.

"We've never given them the chance to breathe, but it continues to be one of the most violent places," said Lt. Col. Roger B. Turner, commanding officer of the Marine battalion, which is attached to the Army's Second Brigade Combat Team.

The vast majority of Americans killed here since September have been victims of homemade bombs, what the military calls improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.'s. Sgt. William Callahan, a member of the bomb disposal team stationed with the Third Battalion, estimated that troops hit four such bombs a day in Ramadi. Most do not result in death or serious injury. Almost all are remotely detonated, which means someone is hiding in wait for coming vehicles.

Besides the two soldiers who died near Corporal Rosener's post, seven soldiers, including two Iraqis, in a Bradley were victims of homemade bombs in eastern Ramadi a week ago. Bombs killed one marine in a Humvee on Oct. 4, and five soldiers were killed in a Bradley on Sept. 28.

Gunnery Sgt. Jose C. Soto, the bomb squad's leader, said insurgents in Ramadi were highly trained, making bombs by linking several large artillery rounds together. They use fuel enhancements, like gasoline mixed with sugar, to cling to a victim's body and make a bigger fire, said First Lt. Bradley R. Watson, 27, of the battalion's Company L.

The Oct. 4 attack is an example. The area was rarely traveled by troops and was laced with explosives. Sergeant Callahan said 10 I.E.D.'s went off in the area that day. At 7:18 a.m., insurgents set off three explosives from holes in the road under a convoy, flipping a Humvee onto its back. Fuel gushed, making a pool on the ground, and a marine trapped under the vehicle was barely able to keep his mouth above the rising fluid. A Navy medic riding in the Humvee lost his leg but still gave first aid. The driver was killed instantly.

"It's like being caught in the undertow of a wave," said Lieutenant Watson, who was slightly hurt in the attack - the third time he has been wounded in Iraq. "Everything flips around. Everybody is shouting."

Snipers are a constant plague. In one area of the city, snipers have hit four Americans since late August, and soldiers were obliged to set up blast walls for security for a polling center there last week in the dark. A law school in eastern Ramadi had to be shut down because sniper attacks were coming from it at night.

"It's like everyone in this town is a sniper," said Muhammad Ali Jasim, an Iraqi soldier who has been stationed here since May. "You can't stand in one place for long."

"You get a workout," Corporal Rosener said. "It's all running. Running from building to building."

But closeness to the insurgents - a popular sniping position is in the hotel across the street from the marine camp in the governor's office - has given the Americans a better look at their enemy. The marines of Company K have seen arms pulling dead or wounded insurgents away from the hotel's windows.

Insurgent groups appear to be numerous and fractious. Religious and militant graffiti are scrawled on walls. Colonel Turner said he saw a man on Thursday giving out leaflets exhorting citizens to ignore any mujahedeen literature that did not bear the symbol of the Islamic Army militant group - two crossed swords draped with a black flag.

Ansar al-Sunna, another militant group, claimed to have killed four Iraqi contractors here on Friday.

Many of their techniques directly involve Ramadi residents. One is to use telephones to track American raids: Captain Quinn said he had heard the phone ring in houses along a block they were searching, and when the owner of the house they were standing in did not pick up, the calls stopped - the insurgents had found them.

The line between civilians and insurgents is blurry in Ramadi. In a twist that sets it apart from other violent cities, insurgents usually do not attack civilians in large groups. There have been no suicide bombings in recent memory, and I.E.D.'s are rarely placed close to houses. Insurgents have left alone American projects that deliver services that locals want, like the installation of 18 transformers last month for more power. And when the streets empty out, the Americans know an attack is imminent.

"The population clearly gets the word - there's a network out there," Colonel Turner said at the Third Battalion's camp, in an old palace on the Euphrates. "The average population has to go against them" or the fighting will continue, he said, referring to the insurgents.

Maj. Daniel Wagner, a civil affairs officer with the battalion, spends his days trying to draw in locals. But progress in Ramadi is measured in inches. Much of his time is spent patching and paving roads to prevent bombings, and planning demolitions to take away sniper nests - work he has sardonically referred to as urban renewal. Two parks are planned, as is a new police station. But the violence is a major hindrance.

"I should be able to just drive over," he said. "You need a four-vehicle convoy, you're out of breath, you're sweating, you sit down and say, 'Do you feel safe here? O.K., I've got to get out of here now.' "

The task is more difficult in that Anbar is one of Iraq's three poorest provinces, according to a survey conducted by the United Nations in 2004. Impoverished locals are easily recruited by insurgents. Captain Quinn said bomb makers usually carried $500 in their pockets - half the fee, he estimated, for the job, the rest being paid after detonation.

So far, reaching out to locals and persuading them to shut out insurgents seems a distant goal. Among the obstacles is the very armor that the troops so badly need for protection: on Ramadi's streets, marines in Humvees might as well be astronauts in orbit.

On one patrol last week, a marine from Florida smiled through several inches of bulletproof glass at a tiny boy in blue pants and a dinosaur shirt. The boy solemnly stood beside the Humvee, motioning with his arms - perhaps asking for a treat. The marine shook his head and shrugged, unable to understand.

The most immediate way forward, military commanders here agree, is training and deploying more Iraqi soldiers. Of the seven battalions in Ramadi, three are in eastern Ramadi with their own territory to patrol, said Maj. William R. Fall, the Iraqi Security Force coordinator. Still, only about a company and a half is based inside the central and western parts of the city.

Officers said Iraqi soldiers had vastly improved over the past year. The day of the referendum here was violent, with mortar and rocket-propelled grenade attacks raining down on many of the stations. But Iraqi soldiers stayed at their positions and returned fire when under attack, marines near the sites reported.

"I see incremental progress every single day," Captain Quinn said. "It's working, but it's not a three-month affair."

Four U.S. Troops Die in Iraq; Insurgents Killed, Captured

DOD Press Release
American Forces Press Service
Washington OCT 22, 2005


http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Oct2005/20051022_3132.html


Four U.S. Troops Die in Iraq; Insurgents Killed, Captured
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2005 – Three Marines were killed in two combat operations in Iraq on Oct. 21.

Two Marines assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), during a roadside-bomb attack on their vehicle near Amariyah.

The third Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was killed in an explosion near Haqlaniyah.

During the subsequent engagement, Marines killed four insurgents and destroyed a bunker adjacent to their position where an unknown number of insurgents had been firing from.

On Oct. 20 in central Baghdad, a Task Force Baghdad soldier died of a nonhostile gunshot wound. The names of the deceased are being withheld pending notification of the families.

Elsewhere in Iraq, 20 terrorists suspected of sheltering al Qaeda foreign fighters were killed and one was captured during a series of coalition raids on safe houses in Husaybah on Oct. 22.

Coalition forces raided two neighborhoods and discovered two large weapons caches containing small arms, ammunition, rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds, explosives, and bomb-making materials to include radios and detonators.

A vehicle bomb also was located near one terrorist safe house. Coalition forces destroyed the bomb, the five safe houses and caches using precision-guided munitions.

Also, during the past 24 hours, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, partnered with the 3rd Iraqi Army Division, captured five terrorists and nine smugglers. Two are reported senior-level leaders responsible for planning and funding terrorism in the northern area of Iraq.

In the past five days, the two U.S. and Iraqi units have secured and destroyed more than 10,000 pounds of explosives.

Officials report that Tal Afar residents are providing information leading to the capture of terrorists and the discovery of weapons and military caches. During one raid, citizens reportedly applauded Iraqi army and coalition forces as they led captured terrorists away.

Along the Syrian border, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment forces and Iraqi Border Police in western Ninewa captured nine smugglers as they were crossing into Iraq. The men were transporting contraband used to help fund the terrorists. The contraband was confiscated and all the men were transported to a holding facility for further questioning.

In Mosul, multinational forces from 172nd Infantry Brigade (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) uncovered 10 weapons caches and detained 16 suspected terrorists during two operations in northern Iraq on Oct. 17-18.

Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, detained 16 suspected terrorists and seized a weapons cache during a raid near Rawah along the Euphrates River on Oct. 17. The cache included mortar-aiming stakes, mortar-launching equipment, mortar propellant, and explosive paraphernalia.

The unit's troops also seized nine weapons caches during search operations near Rawah on Oct. 17 and 18. The caches included more than 600 various artillery rounds, more than 700 various mortar rounds, mortar tubes, various rockets, several rocket and rocket-propelled-grenade launchers, over 100 RPG rounds, over 50,000 rounds of small-arms and machine-gun ammunition, machine guns, AK-47 assault and other assault and sniper rifles, more than 800 point detonating fuses, several feet of detonation cord and timed fuses, 80 pounds of TNT, several sticks of PE-4, land mines, fragmentation grenades, blasting caps, 100-kilogram fragmentation bombs, and various projectiles.

In the air over Iraq on Oct. 21, coalition aircraft flew 51 close-air-support and armed-reconnaissance sorties. U.S. Air Force F-16s and F-15s performed air strikes against buildings used by insurgents in the vicinities of Karabala and Husaybah.

Other sorties included U.S. Air Force F-16s and Navy F-14s, which provided close-air support to coalition troops in the vicinities of Hit and Az Zubaydiyah and 12 U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft flying missions in support of operations in Iraq.

U.S. Air Force and British Royal Air Force fighter aircraft also performed in a non-traditional ISR role with their electro-optical and infrared sensors.

(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq and U.S. Central Command Air Forces Forward news releases.)

A daily struggle for control

RAMADI, IRAQ - The Bradley fighting vehicles moved slowly down Ramadi's main boulevard. Suddenly, a homemade bomb exploded, punching into one vehicle. Then another explosion hit, lifting a second vehicle onto its side before it dropped down again. (3/7 K)

http://www.startribune.com/stories/722/5684255.html


Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times

Last update: October 22, 2005 at 9:08 PM


RAMADI, IRAQ - The Bradley fighting vehicles moved slowly down Ramadi's main boulevard. Suddenly, a homemade bomb exploded, punching into one vehicle. Then another explosion hit, lifting a second vehicle onto its side before it dropped down again.

Two U.S. soldiers climbed out of a hatch, the first with his pants leg on fire, the other completely in flames. The first rolled over to help the other man, but when they touched, the first man also burst into flames. Insurgent gunfire began to pop.

Several blocks away, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Rosener, 20, from Minneapolis, watched the two men die from a lookout post at a Marine encampment. His heart reached out to them, but he could not. In Ramadi, Iraq's most violent city, two blocks might as well be 10 miles.

"I couldn't do anything," he said of the attack earlier this month. He spoke quietly, sitting in the post and looking straight ahead. "It's bad down there. You hear all the rumors. We didn't know it was going to be like this."

In Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, Sunni Arab insurgents are waging their fiercest war against U.S. troops, attacking with relative impunity just blocks from Marine-controlled territory. Every day, the Americans fight to hold their turf in a war against an enemy who seems to be everywhere but is not often seen.

In the last six weeks, 21 Americans have been killed there, far more than in any other city in Iraq and double the number of deaths in Baghdad, a city with a population 15 times as large.

"We fight it one day at a time," said Capt. Phillip Ash, who commands Company K in the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, which patrols central Ramadi.

"Some days you're the windshield," he said, "some days you're the bug."

Ramadi is an important indicator of just how long it may be before a U.S. withdrawal.

The city has long been a haven for insurgents, but it has never fallen fully into enemy hands, as Fallujah did last fall, when Marines could not even patrol before an invasion in November.

Because troop levels have stayed steady there, Ramadi also differs from Tal Afar, an insurgent stronghold near the Syrian border, where Americans laid siege only to have to return because they couldn't leave enough troops to keep it secure.

Still, more than two years after the U.S. invasion, this city of 400,000 people is just barely within U.S. control.

The deputy governor of Anbar was shot to death on Tuesday; the day before, the governor's car was fired on. There is no police force.

U.S. bases are regularly pelted with rockets and mortar shells, and when troops get out of their vehicles to patrol, they are almost always running.

"You can't just walk down the street for a period of time and not expect to get shot at," said Maj. Bradford W. Tippett, the operations officer for the 3rd Battalion.

Commanders remain hopeful that Iraqi soldiers will soon be able to take full responsibility for the city. The number of Iraqi army soldiers there has doubled in recent months.

A city council has begun to work, and a local police force is being trained. But the relentlessness of the insurgent violence there ties the U.S. units to the streets, forcing them to focus on the fight.

"We've never given them the chance to breathe," said Lt. Col. Roger Turner, commanding officer of the Marine battalion, "but it continues to be one of the most violent places."

Most of the Americans killed there since September have been victims of homemade bombs.

Sgt. William Callahan, a member of the bomb-disposal team stationed with the 3rd Battalion, estimated that troops hit four such bombs a day in Ramadi. Most do not result in death or serious injury. Almost all are remotely detonated, which means a man is hiding in wait for coming vehicles.

In Ramadi, snipers also plague troops. A sergeant from a unit with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, who asked that his name not be used, watched two officers drop to their knees in front of him, one after the other, shot by a sniper as the three were standing in a trash-strewn field last month. One died.

"It's like everyone in this town is a sniper," said Muhammad Ali Jasim, an Iraqi soldier stationed in Ramadi since May. "You can't stand in one place for long."

Easy Company turns tide of enemy attack

AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- October 2 began as another hot and dusty day in Iraq. By day’s end, however, the Marines of 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines defeated local insurgents in a decisive small-arms battle. (2/2 Easy photos in external link)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/1F6BBE95956AC8AC852570A10050B4CD?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051021104131
Story by Pfc. Chistopher J. Ohmen

AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- October 2 began as another hot and dusty day in Iraq. By day’s end, however, the Marines of 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines defeated local insurgents in a decisive small-arms battle.

The As Sadah Firefight, as the engagement is now known, was a decisive blow to the local insurgency cells and a push in the direction of a free Iraq.

“All the Marines did exactly what they were supposed to do,” said Sgt. Michael P. Hodshire, 2nd Squad Leader for 3rd Platoon. “We gave our initial orders and the Marines followed their training to take the fight to the enemy.”

The Marines of 3rd Platoon were conducting patrols out of a forward operating base when mortar rounds impacted 400 meters away. Their adrenaline pumping, the Marines in the building put on their gear and prepared themselves for whatever might happen next.

As soon as the first enemy rounds hit, a call went out for air support to try and find the point of origin for the enemy’s mortar position.

The impacts kept getting closer until eventually the Marines heard them land only 100 meters away. Each enemy round fired continued to encroach upon the FOB until they were within 30 meters of the Marines’ position.

Using a 60 mm mortar, Lance Cpl. Armand J. Anderson, a mortar man with the unit, fired rounds by hand, without a bipod, back at the enemy positions, while Lance Cpl. Gary W. Bell and his machine gunners laid down heavy suppressive fire on the enemy position from the rooftop of their FOB with two M2 .50 caliber heavy machine guns and one 240G medium machine gun. Anderson fired with such precision that the enemy mortars ceased firing.

“Without the well-laid fire from our mortars and machineguns, the enemy mortars may have hit even closer than they did,” said Sgt. Sean H. Miles, 1st Squad Leader for 3rd Platoon.

Shortly after the enemy mortar attack on the base, small arms fire started coming from a house to the east. In response, 2nd Squad pushed out in that direction to seek out and destroy the enemy.

When 2nd Squad was approximately 200 meters from the suspected insurgent house, a loud yell in Arabic was heard. Suddenly, the insurgents opened up on the Marines with rifle and machinegun fire. Rocket Propelled Grenades were also fired at the Marines from a dirt mound in proximity of the insurgent house.

Already 30 min had passed since the first mortar landed near the Easy Company Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines. By this time, air support was being re-routed to the battalion in order to provide close air support for this platoon-sized firefight. Third Platoon received an abundance of air power: a section of Cobra/Huey helicopters for close air support; a section of Air Force F-16’s looking for enemy indirect fire positions; and an Un-manned Arial Vehicle that was watching enemy movements on the ground.

With support from the Battalion Combat Operations Center, the Marines in the fight were able to paint an accurate picture that enabled the pilots to put ordnance squarely on the enemy position.

During this particular fight, the Marines on the ground were unable to establish direct communication with the pilots. Instead it had to be routed through other channels. With a chain of five Marines passing information, the pilots were able to communicate with ground forces.

“Upon the positive confirmation of friendly and enemy positions, air elements were extremely successful at suppressing the enemy attacking Easy Company,” said Capt. Matt L. “Runt” Walker, Battalion Air Officer.

“Despite the communication problems, the Marines on the ground, while in duress and taking enemy fire, were able to accurately convey the enemy’s position for the inbound air support,” said Capt. Brian P. Mclaughlin, the Assistant Operations Officer and Battalion Watch Officer on duty at the time of the firefight.

The Marines of a Mobile Assault Platoon (MAP) with Weapons Company were the closest reinforcement assets to the engagement and were called upon to provide support and reinforcement for the foot-mobile unit.

The enemy, having wired the main canal bridge with several improvised explosive devices, forced MAP to find an alternate route to 3rd Platoon, Easy Company’s position. The Easy Marines still needed the MAP’s support, so 1st Lt. James E. Martin Jr., the MAP’s Platoon Commander, pulled out his map of the area of operation and smartly located a secondary route to 3rd Platoon.

The MAP joined 3rd Platoon in the fight approximately 15 minutes later. They supported the platoon by providing communications gear, mobile firepower, and additional security at the FOB.

Throughout the firefight, the Corpsmen of 3rd Platoon, Easy Company, attended to the wounded in action. During the initial exchange of small arms fire a Lance Cpl. from 2nd squad sustained a gunshot wound to the leg from small-arms fire. With a cool head, Seaman Apprentice Kevin L. Smith, a corpsman with the platoon, pulled the Marine from the line of fire. Smith calmed him down and splinted McGraw’s broken leg with a stick and a stretchable support wrap.

After they were able to move injured the Marine to the casualty collection point on a stretcher, Hospitalman Clarence T. Lovelace Jr., another Corpsman with the platoon, checked the Marine for other wounds finding none. He applied a second bandage to the wound and splinted both his legs together for better support.

A field to the side of the FOB was quickly cleared so the casualty could be evacuated by helicopter to Fallujah Surgical on Camp Fallujah for further treatment.

Now nearly two hours into the fight, 3rd Platoon was running low on ammunition and water. Back at the battalion COC, available assets were quickly assessed and, in short order, a plan of action was developed to conduct a re-supply.

At a feverish but calculated pace, Capt. Roger S. Hill, the Battalion Logistics Officer, and Staff Sgt. James I. Dale, the Combat Train Platoon Commander, worked the problem at hand. In less than 30 minutes the vehicles were loaded with supplies, combat checks were conducted and the re-supply operation order was briefed to the Marines heading to 3rd Platoon’s position. They conducted a successful re-supply run in a safe and efficient manner enabling 3rd Platoon to receive the ammunition and water to stay in the fight.

Supply convoy; mobile support; air firepower – the As Sadah Firefight had required the Marines to use all the elements of combined arms. A perfect example of team effort and the Corps’ motto, “Semper Fidelis”, were manifested in the Marine’s actions that day.

And after three hours of fierce combat in the hot, dry climate, the Marines of 3rd Platoon, sweat dripping from their brows, secured the surrounding area and assessed the situation. Once the Marines were able to take a breath and look around, they saw the thousands of spent rounds they had fired to stay alive and destroy insurgent activity in the immediate area.

The house the insurgents used as a base had collapsed in on itself after being repeatedly hit with Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided missiles from the MAP and Hellfire missiles from the Cobras. It was also peppered with numerous small arms rounds from the two squads. Only one wall of the house still stood as the rest of the building continued to smolder. The Marines inspected the house for whatever was left. A squad of enemy insurgents was killed and wounded, dealing a severe blow to insurgent cells.

“We found the ground littered with small-arms rounds that had exploded from the missile attacks,” Hodshire stated.

It was over.

The heat of mid-day subsided and the dust settled on another day in Iraq. The 1st squad leader reflected: “All the Marines did everything they were supposed to, down to the most junior Marine in the platoon,” Miles stated. “I couldn’t have asked any more of them.”

Owosso, Mich., native excited to serve in Iraq

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- The challenge of the military is a draw for many. For Lance Cpl. Troy White, the choice boiled down to which path would provide the biggest test. It didn’t take him long to come up with the right answer – The Marine Corps. (3/7 Lima 2nd Plt. / photos at external link)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/8B7231D718A84172852570A100518455?opendocument
Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051021105022
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- The challenge of the military is a draw for many. For Lance Cpl. Troy White, the choice boiled down to which path would provide the biggest test. It didn’t take him long to come up with the right answer – The Marine Corps.

White, a rifleman with 2nd Platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, wanted to prove to himself that he could handle the toughest and most rigorous military service in the United States.

“I picked it because of the challenge,” said the Owosso, Mich., native. “The Marine Corps is the hardest. I wanted to see if I could handle the hardest.”

After enlisting in the Marine Corps, White says he chose to become an infantryman for the same reason he picked the Marine Corps; he wanted to test himself by choosing the hardest path.

“I wanted to do infantry stuff since I was a little boy,” he said. “I think it was a good decision now. There is a lot more to being a rifleman than what I expected – it takes a lot more brains than people think.”

After graduating recruit training and the School of Infantry, White was made a team leader, almost immediately after being assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines and was soon told he was deploying to Iraq.

“It was difficult being made a team leader as soon as I got here,” said White. “It was the first time I had to take charge and use my leadership skills. I think I learned pretty quickly.

“As for Iraq, I knew it was coming. Before I signed up, I knew I was going to Iraq. I was excited when we got the order. It was going to be something unknown, a new experience for me.”

Once in Iraq, White found there is a lot more to war than the old adage of “beans, bullets and bandages.”

“The war we are doing now is more mental,” he said. “If we just went around and blew everything up, we wouldn’t win. It’s hard to get the results we want because it’s hard to win the trust of the people here. But, I still don’t think it’s as bad as people back home think it is. We are going to win this eventually; it’s just going to take time.”

Although different than what he expected, White is still enjoying his first deployment and is grateful for the opportunities the Marine Corps has given him.

“So far, everything has felt like our training,” he said. “When we are patrolling through the city, we know what to do. I signed up to do this. Coming here is what I wanted to do and I am excited and ready to do it.”

3/7 works with ISF, IECI during national elections

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- With each passing day, the people of Iraq take another step toward self-sufficiency and away from the horrors and oppression they have lived under for most of their lives. On Oct. 15, the people of Ar Ramadi participated in the referendum vote on a proposed national constitution. If approved, it would be a major leap forward in the struggle for democracy. (3/7 6th CAG and Kilo 2nd Plt / photo at external link)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/63DA932B0D7D6705852570A100532610?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102111812
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- With each passing day, the people of Iraq take another step toward self-sufficiency and away from the horrors and oppression they have lived under for most of their lives. On Oct. 15, the people of Ar Ramadi participated in the referendum vote on a proposed national constitution. If approved, it would be a major leap forward in the struggle for democracy.

The city of Ar Ramadi, the capital of the often-turbulent Al Anbar province in western Iraq, has been called the key to the Coalition Forces’ efforts in the country. During the last national election in January, approximately 800 people voted; a miniscule percentage of eligible voters in a city of more than 300,000. With a population that is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, convincing this region that it is in their best interest to vote and that it is safe to participate in the fledgling democracy were the two keys to increasing the turnout for the elections, said Maj. Dan Wagner, team commander for Detachment 2, Team 4, 6th Civil Affairs Group, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

“We took a hands-off approach to the elections this time around,” he said. “We were here to assist the Iraqis conduct their own election. The Sunnis saw that they missed an opportunity when they didn’t vote last time. What we don’t want is for people who want to vote to feel threatened and not come to the polls because they are scared.”

Leading up to the election

In order to create a safe environment for the elections, Coalition Forces from all over the region, including the Marines from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, spent the days leading up to the election filling sand bags, building bunkers, helping the Iraqi Security Forces and Independent Election Council of Iraq prepare voting centers. They also took security over-watch positions and spread information to the population about how and where the voting will take place. These efforts, along with those of the local government and ISF were all coordinated to increase the population’s willingness to participate in the historic referendum.

“The Iraqis need to see a just process, a fair election,” said Wagner. “I think it’s important to establish a secure environment for launching an initiative like this. We’re trying to rebuild a country and conduct an election at the same time.”

In Ar Ramadi, much of the Marines’ effort was spent protecting voting areas while the ISF and IECI prepared polling stations. With help from the battalion’s detachment CAG units, eight different polling sites were selected and spread throughout the city. The sites were selected for various reasons, including their proximity to large population centers and their ability to be protected from attack.

“The Iraqi people don’t want us in their country,” said Cpl. Robert Shuman, a driver for CAG. “To convince them that we’re going to leave someday, we need the ISF to step up and really do a good job. I think they will and that’s another reason we are going to use a hands-off approach this time.”

As for the local population, most of them realize that democracy is coming, whether they take part in it or not. Although not everyone is a fan of the new constitution and regime, they understand that violence is not going to intimidate Coalition Forces or the ISF, said members of CAG.

“A large number of the local population see this election as a way to grab a bigger piece of power,” said Wagner. “But they want to see their own people stand up and protect them from the insurgency, the terrorists. Without secure elections, the people might not see these elections as legitimate.”

As the elections drew closer, local insurgent groups increased their attacks on Marine positions in the city. Increased numbers of improvised explosive devices were found as well. Other insurgent attacks included mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms and has kept the city under a blanket of violence that has yet to cease.

Marines with the battalion patrolled the city, finding many hidden IEDs and disrupting more than one enemy plan during the week leading up to the election. However, the threat of violence was still hanging over the city when the polls opened Saturday morning.

Election Day

After 24-hour days by both the Marines and ISF, and long hours from the IECI volunteers who were flown in from Baghdad the night before, Election Day was set to begin. During the previous night and evening, Marines maintained security positions while ISF workers used more than 30,000 sand bags to shore up buildings and jersey barriers to block off roads. Although the Iraqi government had declared the election a national holiday and barred all non-emergency vehicle traffic during election hours, the election officials wanted to take no chances.

At 7 a.m. Oct. 15, the polling sites opened with little fanfare. Some sites around the city had a few hundred voters stop in throughout the day, but most were empty as the day went on. Violence was scattered and unorganized and few people were hurt. The polls were open, and the people of Ar Ramadi voted with their feet – they want no part of the new government.

“They’ve said the new constitution doesn’t stress their Arab identity, doesn’t make the Sunni’s benefit from their geographical area,” said Wagner. “They don’t feel there is an interest in their well being. The people need to have a concrete reason to believe that the democratic process works for them to really get behind it. I think this election will give them that.”

According to 2nd Lt. Jordan Reese, the platoon commander for 2nd Platoon, Company K, the success of the election is more than a count of the people who came out and voted.

“We had two objectives out here,” he said. “Number one, provide security for the election, and number two, assist the Iraqi people with these elections. I think we did everything we could to pave the way for success here. This election, this democracy, is what we’re over here for; we have to set them up for success. It’s more about the safety of the voters. If they wanted to come and vote they could and felt safe.”

When the polls closed at 7 p.m. that evening, tallies showed that little more than 2,000 people voted on the referendum. It was a far cry from the massive showings that voting centers in Baghdad, Fallujah and the vast majority other cities experienced, but it was an improvement from January. More importantly, at least in the eyes of the battalion’s Marines who helped the ISF and IECI plan and execute these elections, was the fact that the Iraqi people stepped up and conducted all the groundwork and handled all the on-site, ground-level security for the polling sites. In terms of Ar Ramadi, success lies in the appearance of fairness and Iraqi stewardship rather than the actual number of voters.

“I think the Marines were very successful in placing the ISF and IECI in the polling sites and letting them do their job, “ said Maj. Brad Tippett, operations chief for the battalion. “The Iraqis who helped during the election showed both the desire and the ability to do their job without the Marines’ assistance. They legitimately had the skills and leadership to provide security and assistance to those polling sites.

“Our battalion’s mission was to provide the opportunity for local citizens to exercise their right to vote. It wasn’t for a certain number of people to vote or to force them to come to polls. What we demonstrated as a result of this election is that an Iraqi solution to an Iraqi problem is better then a coalition solution to an Iraqi problem,” said Tippett.

With another election just two months away, the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines are already applying what they learned this week in the planning for the next vote. The battalion is scheduled to begin more coordinated training with the ISF by assigning select ISF platoons to work with Marine companies. This is so that the Iraqis can learn first- hand the skills and knowledge they need to act independently of the Marines when Coalition Forces leave Iraq.

3/7 Marines construct living space for ISF

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- To help with training operations involving the Iraqi Security Force, Marines from Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, helped build a new berthing area for Iraqi troops working out of the Snake Pit base. (3/7 Lima and 1st CEB / photos at external link)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/6E6FC613F5C9BF66852570A10053DDD1?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102111162
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- To help with training operations involving the Iraqi Security Force, Marines from Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, helped build a new berthing area for Iraqi troops working out of the Snake Pit base.

The berthing area is being constructed so ISF soldiers can come to Snake Pit and stay for longer than the few hours an operation normally requires. The goal of projects like this is to increase the contact and training between the ISF and the Marines. This will ultimately lead to a better-trained and more independent ISF, decreasing the burden on the Marines, said Capt. Rory Quinn, the commanding officer of Company L.

“We are building a living space for a platoon of the Iraqi Army,” said Quinn. “So that when they come to our base to train, they will have a comfortable place to plan and rest before a mission.

“Right now they come for a few hours, maybe once a week. We figure that if we can give them better facilities, they will want to come here and train more often.”

Currently, to work with the ISF, Marines have to travel to the center of the city, pick up the Iraqi soldiers and bring them back to Snake Pit. Then, when the operation is complete, a convoy needs to be arranged to bring them back to their home base in the city. By building this new living space, Quinn hopes that more time will be put into planning patrols and raids in the city, not planning missions to pick up the ISF.

“My goal is that we will have twice as many missions, in half the time,” said Quinn. “Having them here will greatly increase our ability to train and mentor the ISF.”

Overseeing the project is the 2nd Combat Engineers Battalion, who provided the majority of the men and tools for the project.

“We really look forward to training the ISF to be proficient,” he said. “The sooner they are ready to protect their own the country, the sooner we can leave and not have to come back. It’s really endearing working with (the ISF) they work so hard and they are eager learners. When we are done with a training session, it’s very satisfying. These men have the will and the ability; they just don’t have the training. It’s a lot like teaching a new recruit.”

Oxnard, Calif., native gets experience to succeed

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Being a Navy corpsman is one of the most demanding and respected jobs in the military. Not only are they expected to be fully capable of performing life-saving field medicine under fire, they also must maintain the standards and discipline of the Marines they work with. For Seaman Allen Pham, a corpsman with 2nd Platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, the challenge of deploying and working with the best was part of the appeal.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/1D0177E6E835FB65852570A10055BECC?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051021113634
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Being a Navy corpsman is one of the most demanding and respected jobs in the military. Not only are they expected to be fully capable of performing life-saving field medicine under fire, they also must maintain the standards and discipline of the Marines they work with. For Seaman Allen Pham, a corpsman with 2nd Platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, the challenge of deploying and working with the best was part of the appeal.

“I like being a greenside corpsman,” said the Oxnard, Calif., native. “I’m not doing the same day-to-day paperwork that people get stuck with. I am out here shooting guns, going on patrols and doing the fun stuff. I have to be ready to use everything I am taught at any moment.”

Corpsmen are divided into green-side and blue-side, depending on what training they have been through and whether they work in the field with Marines or in garrison in Navy hospitals and clinics.

For Pham, “going green” was an easy decision. From the beginning he wanted to get the training that would allow him to pursue a successful career once out of the Navy.

“Before I joined the Navy, I was an (Emergency Medical Technician,)” said the Oxnard High School graduate. “It was hard to get a foot in the door in the firefighter world. Being a corpsman, getting the training I did, and working out here with these guys – it’s going to open a lot of doors for me.”

Being part of the primary medical team for the nation’s “force in readiness” means the chance of deployment is always there, something that Pham knew and looked forward to.

“I expected to come to Iraq,” said the 21-year-old. “Sure I would like to be home, but I just think about my next duty, and take it day by day. It’s part of the job, and I am glad to be helping out.”

In order to prepare for his deployment, Pham spent time with the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, going through the same training and deployment readiness classes that the Marines went through. However, when he got to Ar Ramadi, he found things to be a little different than what he had expected.

“It’s been relatively quiet,” he said. “I thought it was going to be pretty crazy, I’d heard a lot of stories. So far though, it’s been mostly sick call and preventative medicine, nothing too serious.”

Quiet or not, Pham knows that he has to be ready at all times to keep his Marines in the fight. He says that the experience and training he is receiving while in Iraq are irreplaceable and will give him the edge he needs to pursue his goals in the civilian world.

“It will definitely give me an edge,” he said. “When guys graduate EMT schools, all they have is a piece of paper saying they know what they’re doing. I can say I’ve done it in a combat zone.”

Members of CAG and 3/7 meet the people of Ar Ramadi

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Marines from 6th Civil Affairs Group and 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s recently conducted a presence patrol to survey the Ramadi citizen’s willingness to vote, determine the level of support for the proposed constitution and to see if the local schools needed support. (CAG photos at ext. link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/9F4A96E1C6DB1D73852570A100581AA3?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102112219
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Marines from 6th Civil Affairs Group and 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s recently conducted a presence patrol to survey the Ramadi citizen’s willingness to vote, determine the level of support for the proposed constitution and to see if the local schools needed support.

The patrol also provided an opportunity for 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines to gauge the level of support for the newly formed government. The city is considered to be an important area for Coalition Forces due to the large Sunni Muslim population who either refused to vote in the last election or were scared to vote because of insurgent threats.

With an increased presence by the Iraqi Security Force, often in tandem with Marine and Coalition Forces, this patrol and others like it allow the Marines to determine the people’s opinion of the city’s stability and safety – and whether they support actions taken by Coalition Forces to eliminate the insurgency.

“We do these patrols in order to spread the word of the upcoming elections and to help get the people comfortable with us,” said 2nd Lt. Walter Larisey, 1st Platoon’s commander. “The insurgents are using fear and terror to get people not to vote and support their own government. We are telling the people that we are here to defeat the insurgency so we can leave their country, so they can begin to build their lives.”

Marines with Company L, one of the three line companies with the battalion, have participated in these patrols before and understand the importance of getting support from the city’s residents. Many of the Marines are on their second or third tour in Iraq and realize the sooner the Iraqi people are freed from the shadow of insurgents, the sooner the war can wind down.

“Units like CAG, who help build schools and power grids, do good things for us and the local populace,” said Larisey. “We can do our job better if we have the locals on our side. (Civil Affairs Group) can do things like put in generators for small businesses and give schools supplies, all of which help defeat the insurgency.”

Just because the Marines went out on a friendly operation to talk to the population doesn’t mean they are necessarily out of danger. The insurgents can and will attack anytime, regardless of civilians nearby, said Larisey. While this operation didn’t take hostile fire, ensuring the Marine’s safety is just as important as it is on a combat patrol or a raid on an insurgent stronghold.

“We went out in the zone, brought everyone back safely, visited a school, met with a local business owner and found out what they thought about the upcoming election. I would definitely say this was success,” he said.

Starting at Company L’s home base, Snake Pit, the patrol made their way to a school and interviewed the vice principal to determine if they needed supplies or help with maintenance.

“We spoke with the vice principal,” said Gunnery Sgt. John Satanek, team chief for CAG team 4. “She seemed happy to see us, invited us in and showed us around the school. We saw that this school was in pretty good shape. They already had books and supplies so we moved on.”

The school children waved and smiled as the Marines toured the school, and members of the CAG team gave a few lucky children watches. After leaving the school and loading their convoy of humvees, the Marines moved to a local neighborhood to talk with local homeowners. After finding an occupied home, the Marines began knocking on doors.

“We stopped and spoke with a homeowner who welcomed us into his home,” said Satanek. “We spoke about security in the area and the quality of life including the availability of electricity and water. We also talked about how he liked the local schools and if he felt they needed help.

“He said he was a shop owner and that he felt safe. He also said he appreciated the Marines being around and that he felt we were doing a good job.”

The CAG representatives also asked the man if he felt the city was getting better or falling further under insurgent control. He responded quickly with an emphatic no, he felt the situation in the city was getting better everyday, said Lance Cpl. Zack Coward, a member of the CAG team.

“During their time in Iraq, both CAG will be conducting numerous patrols such as this to keep in touch with the local population, as well as spread information about what the Coalition is doing to help them take charge of their own city and country. It’s operations like this that build a solid relationship with the community, which is half the battle against the insurgents. Without the local populace’s support, the insurgency will die out and the Iraqi people can begin to govern themselves, something we’ve wanted from the beginning,” said Larisey.

Marines sweep through Ar Ramadi during Operation Bowie

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Two platoons from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, along with two Army units and a company from the Iraqi Security Force, took part in Operation Bowie, Oct.2 through the 4 in order to disrupt insurgent positions in southern Ar Ramadi.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/B8F412F1DD4E3C55852570A10058BCD0?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102112915
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Two platoons from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, along with two Army units and a company from the Iraqi Security Force, took part in Operation Bowie, Oct.2 through the 4 in order to disrupt insurgent positions in southern Ar Ramadi.

The operation, which was the first major operation conducted by the battalion since arriving in Iraq a few weeks ago, was the first to be held in the known insurgent stronghold of the Humara District since the Marines of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines patrolled the area in July.

“We conducted a cordon and search of the area south of Ramadi that has traditionally been a safe haven for insurgents,” said Capt. Twayne Hickman, Company I’s commanding officer. “It went very well. The Marines did a great job, worked for a long period of time and stayed focused on the mission.”

In the day leading up to the sweep, Marines from Company L, as well as Army units in nearby areas, conducted patrols throughout the city. When they were finished conducting their patrols, the main effort of the mission, Company I and the ISF moved across the train tracks that separate the Humara district from the city.

“The ISF did exceptionally well,” said Hickman. “This was probably one of the better companies we’ve worked with. My Marines were happy with their capabilities, and the experience they gained during the operation is invaluable.”

While sweeping through the mostly rural area, the ISF assisted the Marines in identifying people who were not from here and helped in searching homes and buildings for weapons caches and insurgent propaganda.

“Although we had no major finds of insurgents or caches, we had a great opportunity to interact positively with the residents of the city,” said Hickman. “Our experiences with a large number of the local population have been largely positive. Anytime we can interact with them, it demonstrates our commitment and willingness to help.”

These positive interactions are at odds with what many of the Marines expected before coming here. Many expected a more violent city that is resentful of American influence. It’s a welcome surprise that the local population seems to want a peaceful solution to the insurgency that hinders their efforts to ratify a constitution and establish a stable government, he said.

“In our zone, the locals are much more receptive than I expected,” said Hickman. “Their overriding desire is to stop the fighting and explosions in their neighborhoods.

“I would say to everybody that doubts our necessity being here, our participation in this mission, ‘If they could see the Iraqi children, the conditions they grew up in, they would have no doubts about us being here.’”

‘Tracks’ backbone for summer ops

AMARIYAH, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Marines and Iraqi soldiers moved through the town of Amariyah and the settlement known as Ferris Town during the early morning hours of Aug. 25 and 26. (2nd AABn- photos included in external link)

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/67791FAFF10C06FA852570A3005B9182?opendocument


Submitted by: II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story Identification #: 20051023124010
Story by Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre

AMARIYAH, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Marines and Iraqi soldiers moved through the town of Amariyah and the settlement known as Ferris Town during the early morning hours of Aug. 25 and 26. They conducted house-to-house searches throughout both communities uncovering illegal weapons and confiscating insurgent propaganda documents and videos in some of the dwellings they searched.

The military action was part of Operation Southern Fire, a mission kicked off last summer by coalition forces with the intent of establishing a permanent presence and laying the foundations for Iraqi police and army units to operate in an area more than 12 miles south of the city of Fallujah. The troops, conducting operations in an urban environment consisting of flats, store fronts and multi-storied apartment buildings, faced the challenges of operating in a treacherous urban terrain.

Supporting these infantrymen, were the Marines of 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. Using their ‘tracks,’ a nickname given to their assault amphibian vehicles, their operators blocked off intersections, roadways and entrances into the communities where service members on the ground conducted their searches.

“We’re ensuring that no vehicles and personnel come in or out of the cordon block,” said Cpl. Stephen G. Patton, of Jamestown, Tenn., and an AAV crewman with 2nd AA Bn., as he finished his watch behind a heavy machine gun and grenade launcher inside his AAV. “If they come towards the town, we send them away.”

The challenges poised in this operation and in other missions to the track battalion are not new to the unit. Amphibious assault crewmen and their vehicles have been used to patrol roadways, provide security at check points and in search of weapon caches.

With its assets, the battalion was able to provide increased security, greater mobility and more firepower to coalition forces conducting combat missions.

“We have participated in dismounted roles; conducting cordon and knocks, entry control points and [main supply route] security,” said 1st Lt. Kyle J. Andrews, of Lexington, Ohio, and platoon commander with the battalion. “Pretty much any mission that comes down from higher we can accomplish.”

The trackers used their vehicles to carry water and military rations during the operation adding relief to patrolling Marines by carrying additional gear for them.

The level of security provided by the trackers stands out through increased area coverage and firepower. This was seen as a reassuring comfort for troops on house-to-house searches.

“The AAVs out there are greatly appreciated,” said Gunnery Sgt. Oscar Gutierrez, of San Antonio, and training chief whose unit, Echo Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, participated in the cordon and knock sweeps. “Seeing them out there providing security, all the hard work, [intelligence information] they have been giving us will make us more successful.”

EDITOR’S NOTE
Please feel free to publish this story or any of the accompanying photos. If used, please give credit to the writer/photographer, and contact us at: [email protected] so we can update our records.


Predeployment briefs aimed at entire 22nd MEU (SOC)

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC (Oct. 13, 2005) -- In an effort to ensure all hands are prepared for its upcoming deployment, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Command Element conducted predeployment briefs at Camp Lejeune’s Marston Pavilion today.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/502FEDB2503DE080852570A20058A55B?opendocument


Submitted by: 22nd MEU
Story Identification #: 2005102212815
Story by - 22nd MEU (SOC) Public Affairs

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC (Oct. 13, 2005) -- In an effort to ensure all hands are prepared for its upcoming deployment, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Command Element conducted predeployment briefs at Camp Lejeune’s Marston Pavilion today.

The briefs were among the final steps the MEU will take before it sets sail as the landing force for Expeditionary Strike Group 8 later this year, and were geared toward providing the unit’s Marines and their families information they may find useful in the upcoming months.

Two briefs were conducted, with one geared toward single service members and the other focused on married Marines and their families.

Staff Sgt. Jamila Moore, the MEU’s family readiness staff noncommissioned officer, orchestrated the family brief, and said holding such events are key to ensuring unit and personal readiness.

“Our main focus here is to prepare the family members for the deployment,” said Moore, a native of Pittsburg. “The Marines have training to prepare them, this is the spouse’s preparation.”

During the two hour brief, a long list of briefers provided information that included such topics as communicating with their loved ones, dealing with the media, household and personal safety, legal issues, and tapping into local resources available for families of deployed Marines and Sailors, among others.

Additionally, each family member was presented with a deployment packet that included a resource guide, Red Cross reference card, and brochures for Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society and Marine Corps Family Team Building.

“This is very important for the spouses, the more self-sufficient they are during the deployment, the better off they will be,” said Moore. “This is our way of being proactive and letting the family members know that there are resources here that can help make this difficult time easier.”

Earlier in the day, the unit’s single Marines and Sailors with the MEU took part in a brief geared toward their specific needs. Information covered ranged from services provided by the Single Marine Program and United Service Organization (USO) to the procedures to store their vehicles and personal effects.

One of the more important presentations at both predeployment briefs was the one dealing with pay. The influx of deployment-specific entitlements such as combat zone tax exclusions and hostile fire pay can sometimes lead to financial problems for the Marines, and the brief by the MEU’s personnel officer sought to alleviate some potential problems.

“The Marines and Sailors, and their families, need to know what money they should expect and what not to expect so they don’t encounter financial troubles,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Felipe J. Aguilar, of New York City.

“I thought the brief was a major help,” said Pfc. Paul Varone, of New York City, an electrician with the MEU’s Camp Commandant section. “It was a good heads up on what to expect, and answered a lot of questions I had.”

In addition to its Command Element, the 22nd MEU (SOC) consists of Battalion Landing Team 1st Bn., 2nd Marines, Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 261 (Reinforced), and MEU Service Support Group 22.

For more information on the 22nd MEU, visit the unit’s web site at http://www.22meu.usmc.mil.

2/6 honors fallen brethren, Morrisville, N.C., native


CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- “On 15 October at 4:11 in the afternoon, I received the toughest news I have had to deal with as a company commander. A Weapons Company Marine, one of my Marines, had been killed.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/lookupstoryref/200511845742


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200511845742
Story by Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Zahn

CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- “On 15 October at 4:11 in the afternoon, I received the toughest news I have had to deal with as a company commander. A Weapons Company Marine, one of my Marines, had been killed. This was Sgt. Adams. We honor him today,” said Capt. Thomas G. Ziegler Jr., the commanding officer of Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment.

Marines from the battalion gathered on the shores of Lake Baharia under the light of a setting sun Oct. 22, to pay homage to one of their own.

Sergeant Mark P. Adams, a 25-year-old, Morrisville, N.C., native was killed in action when an improvised explosive device hit the vehicle he was traveling in. He volunteered to deploy to Iraq, joining the battalion shortly before they deployed. Adams had already served a four-year enlistment and was attending college when he volunteered.

“He felt that even though he had completed 4 years in the Corps, he wasn’t finished because he had to go through this time in the sandbox with the rest of us,” said Sgt. Jeremy Blake. “He just wanted to be on the ground leading and helping Marines.”

“He gained the respect of those he worked for and from those who worked for him,” said 1st Sgt. John E. Sackett, the company first sergeant for Weapons Company. “He made a positive impact on all of Weapons Company and we consider it an honor and a privilege to have worked with him.”

Adams is survived by his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Phillip E. Adams.

High school athlete takes on Marine challenge

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- The high school football and soccer player from Moncks Corner, S.C., had the option of going to college on a scholarship. Seeking personal self-improvement, the strapping young man instead joined the smallest branch of the military, the Marine Corps.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/0/508BD79B015FEEEE852570A20043CFCB?opendocument


Submitted by:
II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by:
Computed Name: Cpl. Ruben D. Maestre
Story Identification #:
2005102282041

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- The high school football and soccer player from Moncks Corner, S.C., had the option of going to college on a scholarship. Seeking personal self-improvement, the strapping young man instead joined the smallest branch of the military, the Marine Corps.

“I wanted to be independent,” said Lance Cpl. Corinthian Green, a postal clerk assigned to Camp Fallujah Post Office, Service Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, 2nd Force Service Support Group (FWD), of one reason he joined. “I didn’t want to depend on anyone but myself.”

Standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall, Green was involved in Berkley High School in Moncks Corner. Yet, his physical talent and potential as an athlete wasn’t always in the forefront of his life.

“I never played sports until my eighth grade year,” said the 2003 high school graduate who later became a football outside linebacker and soccer goalie for his school’s teams.

Once involved in sports, Green’s athletic abilities improved. By the tenth grade he made varsity for both football and soccer and by his senior year he was team leader on the high school soccer team.

Despite his talent in sports, there was something else missing. Green wanted independence, responsibility and self-discipline; traits he has grown to understand since entering the Corps in July 2003.

“I wanted to do something that was hard,” said Green of the challenge of boot camp. “Only [a small percentage] of Americans become Marines.”

He took the challenge, and as thousands do every year, he graduated from boot camp in the fall of 2003.

“[The Corps helps] make you into a better person,” he said of his experience as a Marine. “You have to learn how to deal with [different] people…this makes you a better person, a well-rounded person.”

Working alongside with a diverse group of people, Green continues to serve around the world. The South Carolina native has been to Southern California, Japan and volunteered for deployment to Iraq.

“If I stay in the Marine Corps, I felt I needed the experience,” said Green. “I felt my duty to protect my country was for me to come out here, do my part and say I did it.”

With over a month into his tour here, Green takes pleasure in making sure service members get the opportunity to send and receive their mail.

“Everyone needs their mail,” he said. “To see the smile on their faces when [service members] get the mail makes it worthwhile.”

Through the Corps, Green has gained a degree of financial independence, responsibility in ensuring troops get their mail and discipline by working through the obstacles he and other Marines face while serving in Iraq.

He has also found a sense of camaraderie among those he serves with.

“If you are out in the civilian world and you ask a stranger to help you out, they might look at you as if you’re crazy,” said Green. “In the Marines, regardless of if you know the person, if you need to get something done [Marines] are going to go out of their way to help you out.”

Green plans to join the Maine Corps Reserve after his active-duty enlistment and pursue a career in law enforcement.


EDITOR’S NOTE
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Recruiter sought combat role

ANDERSON TWP. - Rick Pummill was a U.S. Marine recruiter when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051022/NEWS01/510220424/1077

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Recruiter sought combat role
Anderson Twp. Marine killed in Iraq spurred by 9/11

By Steve Kemme
Enquirer staff writer


ANDERSON TWP. - Rick Pummill was a U.S. Marine recruiter when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred.

When the United States began its war with Iraq, he was still a recruiter.

Pummill, intensely patriotic and energetic, couldn't stand it any more.

The Anderson Township native gave up the safe, sedate job of recruiting to prepare for combat.

"He said he was tired of sitting on the sidelines," said his mother, Lynn Pummill. "He couldn't wait to go over there."

Pummill, a Marine first sergeant, died in Iraq on Thursday along with two other Marines when an explosive device hit their Humvee that was part of a convoy traveling about 25 miles west of Baghdad.

Pummill had been in Baghdad since July.

Lynn Pummill learned of her son's death from two Marines who came to her Anderson Township apartment at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Numb with grief, she stayed up all night. When she finally went to bed at 6 a.m. Friday, she slept only two hours. She said she's still trying to absorb the tragic news.

"I keep waiting for the Marines to call me and tell me they made a mistake and that he's still alive," Pummill said.

Rick Pummill's wife, Chantel, lives in Jacksonville, N.C., where the Marines' Camp Lejeune is located. He leaves a 3-year-old son, Donald Richard "Cliff" Pummill, who lives with Pummill's first wife in Norfolk, Va. He was also close to his grandparents, Donald and Ann Lesher, of Anderson Township.

On Friday afternoon, Lynn Pummill, teary-eyed, sat on her couch. Her friend, Patsy Hager of Mount Washington, and her son's best friend, John Morgan Jr., were there to comfort her.

"The day Rick went into the military, he gave me his spare dog tag," said Morgan, who had known him since they were 4 years old. "I've had it on my key chain every since."

He joined the Marines after graduating from Anderson High School in 1996. He spent his last two years in high school attending Scarlet Oaks Joint Vocational School.

Rick Pummill, whose great-grandfather was a Marine, was a stocky, muscular guy who played football and wrestled at Anderson High School.

Morgan described him as a generous, compassionate man who deeply valued family and friends and loved his country.

Pummill's mother said he didn't talk a whole lot about himself when he'd call her from Iraq. He wanted to know about family and friends. She last talked to him Tuesday night.

"He called just to make sure everything was OK," she said. "He was in good spirits."

She said her son didn't understand why some Americans oppose the war in Iraq.

"He had very strong convictions," Lynn Pummill said. "He'd say, 'Did they forget about 9/11?' "

E-mail [email protected]

Family, friends recall slain Marine

GREENSBORO -- Tears turned to smiles Friday as friends remembered Andrew David Russoli's "explosive laugh" and his efforts to keep girls out of his childhood "boys only" backyard clubhouse.

http://www.news-record.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051022/NEWSREC0101/510210334/1005/NEWSREC02010301

By Allison Perkins
Staff Writer

GREENSBORO -- Tears turned to smiles Friday as friends remembered Andrew David Russoli's "explosive laugh" and his efforts to keep girls out of his childhood "boys only" backyard clubhouse.

Russoli, 21, was killed Thursday in Iraq.

Russoli, a lance corporal, was one of three Marines and a soldier, all assigned to Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), who were killed by a roadside bomb attack near Nasser Wa Salaam.

Military officials said that during the subsequent engagement, Marines killed two terrorists and detained four others suspected of involvement in the attack.

Russoli, who graduated from Northwest High School in 2003, was serving his second tour in Iraq. He left for the combat zone in mid-July, one day before his 21st birthday.

He had previously been awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he received during his first tour, which ended in September 2004, when a roadside bomb caused his vehicle to flip upside-down.

Friends and family say being a Marine was something Russoli had wanted to do since he was a little boy.

"He always loved military things and he would play with G.I. Joes more than anything else," said his mother, Sally White, of Greensboro. "He used to dress up in camouflage, and he and his friends used to go to the creek and play 'creek control' and look for the bad guys.

"I think he was born to do this, just not for as long as I thought," White said.

"I'm very proud of him," she said. "He was a very good son. He gave the greatest bear hugs you could ever want."

On Friday, the friends he grew up with in his church youth group at College Park Baptist Church gathered at his mother's home and often burst into giggles as they talked about their childhood exploits together.

"So many stories. So many stories," said longtime friend Phillip Jones. Russoli was the cute one, the girls said. The one everyone had a crush on. His sense of humor, his laugh, were infectious.

He was a poet. When he watched movies, his mother said, he tried to learn the moral of the story and live by it.

Russoli was a trombone player in his middle school jazz band. When he was 10, he learned how to fence. When there were no students his age to compete against, he fenced against adults -- and won.

His dedication to friends and family was the memory they cherished most.

"If I ever needed to talk to him I really felt like he was listening," said Jones said.

As they shared stories and laughed, the gathered friends said they were proud of Russoli.

"Proud beyond belief," Jones said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact Allison Perkins at 373-7157 or [email protected]

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October 21, 2005

Navy Improves Network Security by Blocking Access to Commercial Webmail


NORFOLK, Va. - The Navy has begun enforcing policies set forth in its Information Technology User Acknowledgement Form by blocking access to Web-based commercial e-mail sites (webmail) from Department of the Navy-funded networks. That means it’s no longer possible for anyone using Navy information technology to access commercial webmail from providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and others.

http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,79131,00.html

Navy News | Joseph Gunder | October 21, 2005


NORFOLK, Va. - The Navy has begun enforcing policies set forth in its Information Technology User Acknowledgement Form by blocking access to Web-based commercial e-mail sites (webmail) from Department of the Navy-funded networks. That means it’s no longer possible for anyone using Navy information technology to access commercial webmail from providers such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL and others.

The new policy enforcement has taken effect throughout the Navy and applies to computer systems on ships and ashore, both in the United States and overseas.

ONE-NET (OCONUS Navy Enterprise Network) started blocking webmail access Oct. 18 for overseas users. Both NMCI (Navy/Marine Corps Intranet) for U.S.-based users and IT-21 for afloat users have been blocking since Oct. 12.

“Navy Networks are a weapon system and must be defended with the same rigorous standards as other weapon systems,” explained Vice Adm. James P. McArthur, commander, Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM). “People and mission are at risk without access to assured, secure, complete, accurate and timely information.”

The restrictions on commercial webmail are necessary to protect the Navy’s networks from multiple threats while maintaining operational security on all of its systems that are connected to the Department of Defense’s Global Information Grid.

According to Chief Warrant Officer Karen Williams, an Information Assurance implementation policy writer for NETWARCOM, webmail could provide a window for malicious software to enter a government computer system.

“Any pop-up ad that appears in a webmail message could potentially contain a virus when it opens," she said. "An attachment that comes in from a webmail message could possibly bypass all the safeguards all the way to the user’s computer.” In addition, just opening a Web browser window to these commercial webmail sites can leave a computer open to outside attack.

The policy was put into effect July 16 through a message from the Department of the Navy’s Chief Information Office about “Effective use of Department of Navy Information Technology Resources.”

A Navy Telecommunication Directive issued July 25 directed that every Navy network user must fill out, sign and date a Navy Enterprise Information Technology User Acknowledgement Form prior to receiving access to government-provided IT services and systems (i.e., being granted a network account with e-mail). This User Acknowledgement form was to be completed for all Network users by Oct. 1.

An educated user base is an essential part of Navy’s defense-in-depth strategy. “Everybody was supposed to have had Information Assurance (IA) training by Oct. 1 to ensure we have smart users,” Cathy Baber, branch head for policy and procedures at NETWARCOM said, “and no one else will be allowed access to the network until they have gone through a minimum level of training.”

“As for popular commercial Web sites and search engines, the only part of those sites that are being blocked are the commercial Web-based e-mail elements,” explained Neal Miller, deputy director of the Enterprise Management Directorate at NETWARCOM. “And it’s only from government-provided official business networks. It’s exclusively about securing our shared asset, the government enterprise network.”

“You can still go to a search engine to look on the web and surf,” said Baber. “This won’t prevent any of that.”

Ships have had various levels of protection in place since 1999, but they were largely based on managing bandwidth and were set at the discretion of commanding officers. Some ships have been blocking webmail for years for bandwidth and operational security reasons. The Marine Corps has been prohibiting access to commercial webmail since December 1999 on the Marine Corps Enterprise Network.

Sailors will still be able to send e-mail from their military accounts to a commercial account. But Baber stressed that users should never have their military e-mail set up to autoforward messages to their personal account. Autoforwarding to a personal account is a major operational security risk.

Baber said the policy prohibiting autoforwarding was put in the User Acknowledgement Form to ensure all users were aware of their responsibilities.

Network users are the first line of network cyber defense.

Though many commercial webmail providers claim to use the latest up-to-date anti-virus protection, Baber said that there’s no assurance that everything is safe or meets the Navy’s security standards.

There are options to help minimize the impact of not having access to commercial webmail, according to Baber. “Sailors on some large-deck ships may have access to certain computers in the ship’s library that aren’t connected to the Navy backbone that will allow commercial e-mail to be viewed,” Baber said. "This lessens risk to our official business networks.

Baber said that any legacy networks are required to comply with the Navy’s new policy.

“If there is a legacy network that has its own DNS (domain name system) server, it is required to implement blocking of these addresses, as well.”

Wounded Marine couple make plans for marriage


NEW YORK (Oct. 20, 2005) -- Two Marines will consecrate their love for one another by taking the vows of marriage in front of the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, and Airmen’s Club (SSMAC) here, October 27.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/7D8D77A6F99F982E852570A10058D526?opendocument


Submitted by: New York City Public Affairs
Story Identification #: 20051021121017
Story by Cpl. Lameen Witter

NEW YORK (Oct. 20, 2005) -- Two Marines will consecrate their love for one another by taking the vows of marriage in front of the Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, and Airmen’s Club (SSMAC) here, October 27.

Cpl. Kelly Orman and his future wife, former PFC. Rachel Cole, will join as one at the very spot they were engaged earlier this summer. Following the service, the newlyweds will have a champagne toast and bouquet toss inside the club. The USO Troupe of Metropolitan New York will also perform a musical tribute to the couple following the ceremony, honoring the young couple as they begin their honeymoon.

Orman and Cole, both members of The Wounded Warriors Project, met each other staying at SSMAC in participation of the Wounded Warrior’s Hope and Possibility run this past summer. Smitten with each other during the weekend-long trip, Orman proposed to Cole in front of the club amongst visiting fire fighters and gathering spectators. The Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, and Airmen’s Club, a non-profit organization that caters to the armed forces, covered the expenses of the couple and their fellow Wounded Warriors from Balboa Naval Hospital and Walter Reed Medical Center during the weekend of the race. Upon Orman’s romantic gesture, the club offered to have the couple come back to New York and cover the expenses for their ceremony.

“We are honored to be able to do this for two brave Marines and fine Americans,” said the club’s Executive Director, Peter Lebeau.

Orman, a Memphis, Tenn. native, suffers from severe skull injuries sustained during battlefield practices. Cole, who hails from Phoenix, Ariz., was diagnosed with lung cancer while preparing for deployment to Iraq. Although the two have experienced hardships, they both look forward to happy lives together.

“It’s all been really awesome! Rachel and I just can’t believe all that has happened. It’s going to be really great. I can’t wait,” said Orman.

Stafford, Va., native serves in Operation Iraq Freedom

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Being a Marine is something Lance Cpl. Joel Mulligan always wanted to be. Coming from a military family, the choice wasn’t hard for the 20-year-old from Stafford, Va.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/398B821E4F82FED7852570A1001D8C65?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102112244
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Being a Marine is something Lance Cpl. Joel Mulligan always wanted to be. Coming from a military family, the choice wasn’t hard for the 20-year-old from Stafford, Va.

“I’d always wanted to be a Marine,” said Mulligan. “Plus my best friend’s dad was a recruiter, so I learned a lot about the Corps through him.”

Mulligan, who eventually left for recruit training Nov. 10, 2003, actually postponed his entry date so he could become a machine gunner in the Marine Corps.

“I had to wait more than eight months to get the (Military Occupational Specialty) that I wanted,” he said. “I wanted infantry and was willing to wait to get it. I am glad that I did.”

This is Mulligan’s second tour in Iraq. His first tour was shorter because he volunteered to leave the School of Infantry (East) early to help out in Iraq. Comparing the two tours, he said being in Ar Ramadi is much different than being the in outlying areas of Iraq he patrolled last year.

“Here, we have more firefights and a lot more urban terrain operations looking for specific people,” he said. “Before, we did more rural operations across the desert looking for weapons caches buried in the sand or hidden in caves.

“Being in the city now, it’s different but that’s not bad. The people seem nice and understanding of what we are doing here. They mostly stay out of our way.”

The fact that Marines have operated in the area for nearly two years allows them to move through the city confident knowing the local residents understand their intent.

“When we are on patrol, the only people who come at us are bad guys or (vehicle-born improvised explosive devices),” said Mulligan. “The general population, I think, knows we are here to help them.”

Being on his second tour already, Mulligan says has taught him a lot about himself and forced him to mature maybe faster then he would have otherwise.

“It teaches you a lot of leadership - how to be a leader,” he said. “Being here, it makes you into a man. I know I’ll never take anything for granted after this, being here and realizing what we are fighting for helps you find out what’s important to you.”

Missoula, Mont., native seeing the world and loving it

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- People join the military for many reasons. Some join for adventure, some for college money, some for travel and some join for the experience and chance to serve their country. Lance Cpl. Brandon Holland, a 20-year-old from Missoula, Mont., decided to enlist and become a Marine for all those reasons and more. (3/7)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/C722EBA278DD7D49852570A10015AF00?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20051020235650
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- People join the military for many reasons. Some join for adventure, some for college money, some for travel and some join for the experience and chance to serve their country. Lance Cpl. Brandon Holland, a 20-year-old from Missoula, Mont., decided to enlist and become a Marine for all those reasons and more.

Holland, a heavy machine gunner with Platoon Black, Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, grew up in Montana and always knew that the world was a bigger place than his home state.

“I always wanted to join,” the Hellgate High School graduate said.” I had never been outside of Montana before. I wanted to see more of the United States, visit other countries and meet new people. I also come from a pretty military-heavy family.”

Although he studied welding and small-machine repair in high school, Holland never considered being anything but an infantryman in the Corps.

“It fit me better than any other job,” he said. “I couldn’t see myself behind a desk or working on a radio. The recruiter told me I could pick any job I wanted and I chose infantry.”

Arriving at Recruit Depot San Diego July 26, 2004, Holland soon found himself training for his first deployment to Iraq. After finishing recruit training and the School of Infantry (West,) he was stationed at Marine Corps Air Ground Training Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.

“We did a lot of training to get ready for this deployment,” Holland said. “We trained as CAAT platoons, practiced a lot of tactics and did a lot of (Military Operations in Urban Terrain) training. Now that we are here, I realize how much of that we actually use. I think it really prepared us for what we are seeing and doing here.”

Ever since landing in Iraq, Holland believes that the Marine’s time here will help the Iraqi people realize something that almost none of them have ever known – freedom.

“I think we are doing a good job here,” he explained. “When we go on patrol you can see it. The kids all wave, they love us. When we see the kids, it makes my day. I think we are doing good things for these people.”

The biggest difference between being in Iraq and back home he says, is when a Marine makes a mistake.

“Back in the states, you could mess up or do something wrong and it was no big deal, you just got yelled at,” he said. “But here, a whole new level of perfection is required. We have to be ever vigilant.”

Although he can’t wait to come home, he is glad he made the decision to join the Corps and especially glad he was deployed.

“I’m having the time of my life,” he said. “It has its moments when I wish I was home, but I would never change my decision to become a Marine.”

Corpsmen with 2/2 stand by their Marines

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- “Corpsman up!” is the first thing that comes to a Marine’s mind when one of his buddies is wounded.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/4AD5A44DEA2A6817852570A10017D6DC?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102102023
Story by Pfc. Chistopher J. Ohmen

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- “Corpsman up!” is the first thing that comes to a Marine’s mind when one of his buddies is wounded.

With the Navy medical personnel in the battalion spread out over the unit’s area of operation, the Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, know help is close by if someone gets hurt.

“Any slow days are good days at the Battalion Aid Station,” said Navy Lt. Craig C. Benson, the battalion medical officer.

With a battalion of Marines to take care of, there is never a day when there isn’t at least one patient getting treated. The medical officers advise the commanding officer on all health-related issues that arise in his area, not only causalities.

Dealing with everything from routine medical checkups to administering emergency care at a moment’s notice has ensured the Navy personnel here are part of the family in the battalion.

“We are always doing training to make sure that we are ready for any kind of medical emergency that may come our way,” said Navy Lt. Mark G. Banks, the battalion surgeon.

As part of making Iraq a sovereign and independent nation, the medical staff of the battalion are working with Iraqi Army soldiers, providing training and care so they can build their own medical staff.

“It might take a while to get them up to speed, but once they can care for themselves it will be a big step toward their goals,” Banks said.

If a Marine or sailor is seriously wounded in the field and needs to go to Fallujah Surgical, the patient is tracked so that the command knows exactly where the Marine is and the state of his condition. This includes patients that get transported to other medical facilities in Europe or back in the states.

Until the Marine is released and returned back to the unit, the medical personnel track the patient’s medical progress and continues to apprise the command of his status.

With all the different tasks the battalion aid station performs in such a large area, their work is never done. When something happens that they have never faced before, they tackle the problem and create a new standard operating procedure that includes the solution.

“We are providing the best medical care possible in an always changing environment,” said Chief Petty Officer Lester M. Wellmaker, the battalion medical chief.

Chicago native finds direction, guidance in the Marine Corps

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Some people need the guidance and direction the Marine Corps provides and Pfc. David Smush, a machine gunner with Weapons Platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, was one of them.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/0F4D3704F6661E07852570A100193219?opendocument

Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102103512
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Some people need the guidance and direction the Marine Corps provides and Pfc. David Smush, a machine gunner with Weapons Platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, was one of them.

A Chicago native, Smush was working odd jobs and struggling to find direction when he stumbled into a Marine Corps recruiting office one day.

“It was a spur of the moment thing,” the 19-year-old said. “I was tired of being at home all the time. I worked at a gas station and sometimes at a fire station. I needed something more.”

That “more” ended up being the Marine Corps. Smush had a grandfather who was a Marine during the fifties.

“I chose infantry because I wanted to blow something up,” he said laughing.

Soon, however, Smush was learning to do more than just “blow things up.” In order to prepare for a seven-month deployment in a combat zone, Company L participated in a number of training missions.

“It was long, hot and hard, but it was good training for what we are doing here,” said the Hamilton County Senior High School graduate. “And now that we are here, we are constantly fine tuning what we learned and adjusting to make things better and faster.”

Another change he had to make was adjusting to the day-to-day life of a deployment. However, Iraq was not what he thought it would be, said Smush.

“Iraq is not what they made it out to be,” he said. “The people are friendly for the most part. They’re not trying to shoot at us all the time. We were prepared for a lot worse. We had expected a lot more attacks and (improvised explosive devices), but we’ve only seen a couple in the month we’ve been here.”

Being a part of Weapons Platoon brings its own special kinds of missions, as they are often the quick reaction force for the company.

“We do raids and hybrid patrols with the seven tons,” he said. “We go out with the other section of Weapons Platoon and sweep areas for IEDs and bad guys. We also have to be on call in case someone needs help out in the city.”

Even with such an unpredictable mission, Smush says he is glad he decided to “get out of the house and do something with his life.”

“It’s better than having a civilian job,” he said. “I’m glad I did it. It got me away from my hometown, out of my house and has kept me out of trouble.”

Orange County, Calif., native joins Corps for many reasons

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Lance Cpl. James Loomis joined the Marine Corps for a number of reasons. While some people join for adventure or college money, others join for the chance to travel and experience other cultures. Loomis, a machine gunner from Orange County, Calif., enlisted in the Corps for all those reasons and more.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/66F3D98B377040A9852570A1001A602F?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200510210485
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Lance Cpl. James Loomis joined the Marine Corps for a number of reasons. While some people join for adventure or college money, others join for the chance to travel and experience other cultures. Loomis, a machine gunner from Orange County, Calif., enlisted in the Corps for all those reasons and more.

Loomis, who is with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, grew up in southern California and always knew that the world had more to offer than the odd jobs he worked before enlisting.

“I didn’t have any scholarships for college and was sitting around working general labor jobs,” the Amador High School graduate said. “Just before I enlisted, my family moved to northern California. I didn’t know anybody and had nothing to do there, so I enlisted.”

When it came to picking a job in the Corps, Loomis said the decision was easy.

“I signed up to be an infantryman,” he said. “I wanted to go to war and thought this would be the easiest and quickest way there. I wanted to contribute and do my part.”

Arriving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in July of 2004, Loomis quickly found himself training for his first deployment to Iraq. After finishing recruit training and the School of Infantry (West,) he received orders to Marine Corps Air Ground Training Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.

“We had a three-month training block to get ready for this deployment,” Loomis said. “We went to all kinds of schools and learned a lot of skills we will be using over here. We trained really hard for this deployment. We’ve been going nonstop since the beginning of May.”

Once in Iraq, Company L was quickly put to work conducting vehicle checkpoints, or VCP. A VCP is a temporary roadblock where Marines randomly check vehicles for contraband materials and insurgents.

“I was glad we did that VCP so early in the deployment,” he said. “It was fun to do my job and I got to see the city I will be working in for the next seven months.”

Although in Iraq for a short amount of time, Loomis says he was surprised at how different Iraq was from what he thought it would be.

“From what I’ve seen, the people here seem to appreciate what we are doing here for them,” he said. “It’s definitely not as bad as other people make it out to be.”

Centralia, Wash., native doing his part in Ar Ramadi

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Many young men and women harbor dreams of serving their country and enlisting in the Marine Corps. Joe Bier from Centralia, Wash., is following that dream. (3/7L)

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/9BF4BDE40514775B852570A1001B7F54?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200510211020
Story by Cpl. Shane Suzuki

AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 21, 2005) -- Many young men and women harbor dreams of serving their country and enlisting in the Marine Corps. Joe Bier from Centralia, Wash., is following that dream.

Corporal Bier, a 21-year-old machine gunner, is on his first tour in Iraq and looks back on his decision to enlist with pride.

“(Joining the Marine Corps) was something I wanted to do for a long time,” he said. “If I didn’t do it when I did, I would have never joined and regretted it for the rest of my life.”

Becoming an infantryman and deploying to Iraq is what he always wanted to do, it just took a little longer then many of his fellow Company L Marines.

“Coming here was what I originally wanted, but I spent a couple of years with the security force in Bangor, Wash.,” he said. “When I joined, I didn’t see the point in doing any other job. Infantry is what the Marine Corps is.”

When the order finally came down for the corporal, he was very excited and anxious to finally fight alongside his fellow Marines.

“I thought ‘Finally, I get to do what Marines do,’” he said. “It took me three years to get here, but I am glad to finally deploy.”

Before deploying however, Bier and his fellow Marines went through months of training in order to prepare for the often-difficult situations they are now facing in Ar Ramadi.

“We did a lot of (Military Operation in Urban Terrarin),” he said. “We practiced how to cordon and search a house. I felt prepared to do my job here and be successful.”

Preparation aside, Bier had his own ideas on what life in Iraq would be like, and found them to be a little off when he actually stepped foot on the streets of Ar Ramadi.

“I expected this place to be a little more hectic, to have more enemy contact,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed, I think it’s a little quiet. I expected more to happen here. It’s not like what is shown on TV.”

Despite not living up to his expectations, Bier is glad to have the chance to come to Iraq and take part in his generation’s war.

“If I hadn’t come here, I’d have felt like I had scammed out of something,” he said. “I just wouldn’t have felt right about not coming here.”

MCRD San Diego's newest Marines graduate Oct. 21

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2005) -- These are America's newest Marines and their leaders at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Company C graduates 482 men today:

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/AEFADE419E4D8056852570A100540A75?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 20051021111757
Story by - MCRD San Diego, Public Affairs

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2005) -- These are America's newest Marines and their leaders at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. Company C graduates 482 men today:

FIRST RECRUIT TRAINING BATTALION
Commanding Officer
Lt. Col. B. S. Blankenship
Sergeant Major
Sgt. Maj. A. A. Spadaro
Chaplain
Lt. Cmdr. J. E. West
Battalion Drill Master
Staff Sgt. L. G. Duranleau

COMPANY C
Commanding Officer
Capt J. E. Logan III
Company First Sergeant
1st Sgt. C. E. Burnett

SERIES 1113
Series Commander
1st Lt. B. J. Khaner
Series Gunnery Sergeant
Staff Sgt. A. J. Leibfried

SERIES 1117
Series Commander
Capt. R. W. Owen III
Series Gunnery Sergeant
Staff Sgt. J. R. Moreno

PLATOON 1113
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. J. A. Davey
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. J. L. Rich
Staff Sgt. C. R. Pancake
Sgt. J. C. Haglund

Pfc. M. D. Alarcon
Pfc. G. V. Alcantara
Pvt. S. P. Anderson
Pvt. T. J. Anderson
Pvt. M. E. Asenciocarpio
Pfc. J. A. Barzee
Pvt. J. B. Bascom
Pvt. J. P. Beauregard
Pfc. S. Becerra
Pvt. V. F. Benitez
Pfc. R. M. Betts
Pvt. C. A. Black
*Pfc. J. C. Blackburn
Pvt. R. M. Bleam
Pvt. W. R. Burke
Pvt. C. L. Burwell
*Pfc. M. D. Busby
Pvt. D. Cadman
Pvt. R. W. Calhoon
*Pfc. J. B. Campbell
Pfc. T. M. Carder
Pfc. N. K. Chapman
Pfc. C. M. Chavez
Pfc. M. M. Chesson
*Pfc. A. B. Clayton
Pfc. M. L. Coleman
Pvt. R. M. Coronado
Pvt. B. M. Cote
Pfc. G. J. Curley
*Pfc. S. A. Diaz
Pvt. N. T. Donoho
Pvt. J. R. Dotzler
Pfc. A. Elizondo
Pvt. R. R. Estrella
Pvt. J. M. Fitch
Pfc. D. J. Fletcher
Pvt. B. S. Goodrich
Pvt. M. F. Gose
Pvt. N. R. Gustafson
Pvt. M. R. Hansen
Pfc. W. M. Harden
Pfc. N. F. Harding
Pfc. J. F. Hayes
Pfc. R. C. Heiser
Pvt. G. D. Herzinger
Pvt. S. E. Hord
Pvt. D. O. Hunt
Pvt. A. C. Johnson
Pvt. J. P. Jordan
Pfc. M. D. Kenny
Pvt. M. J. Kenton
Pvt. K. C. Kesler
Pvt. S. C. Kidder
Pfc. M. S. King
Pvt. S. T. Kirkham
Pvt. K. R. Ledbetter
Pfc. C. J. Lein
Pvt. A. Luafalealo
Pfc. E. G. Martinez
Pvt. J. D. McClain
Pvt. S. A. Moeller
Pfc. M. Montoya
Pvt. J. M. Nemechek
Pvt. L. D. M. Reynoso

PLATOON 1114
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. C. B. Bull
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. A. G. Naranjo
Sgt. D. Elizondo

Pvt. A. R. Abbate
Pvt. J. S. Ahens
Pfc. E. G. Alfaro
Pvt. M. A. Almazan
Pvt. M. A. Anzaldua
Pvt. P. N. Balk
Pvt. T. J. Basuldua
Pvt. R. J. Bauer
Pvt. J. A. Beco
Pvt. M. K. Bird
Pvt. N. R. Boyd
Pvt. C. J. Bradford
Pfc. D. T. Bui
Pvt. B. L. Burns
Pvt. T. A. Butterick
Pfc. S. Calderonlopez
Pvt. M. L. Cammiso
Pvt. M. Cartagena
Pvt. J. Chacon
Pvt. E. Chavez
Pvt. J. P. Clarke
Pfc. C. E. Cole
Pvt. D. J. Covey
Pvt. J. S. Cruz
Pvt. J. T. Culwell
Pvt. J. A. Dahms
Pvt. P. A. Daniel
Pvt. R. M. Edwards
Pvt. J. J. Engler
Pvt. S. J. Falcon
Pvt. W. O. Flores
Pfc. M. I. Gaspard
Pvt. L. A. Gates
Pvt. B. Gerfen
Pvt. J. L. Grayson
Pvt. T. J. Griffith
Pvt. B. C. Gutche
Pfc. J. A. Gutierrezrodriguez
Pvt. C. B. Guy
Pvt. A. C. Hamelman
Pfc. C. C. Hartner
Pvt. P. N. Hatfield
Pvt. J. A. Hickox
Pfc. K. R. Hoard
Pvt. J. Miguel
Pvt. S. H. Jennings
Pvt. D. L. Kinsfather
Pvt. J. W. Kitchen
Pvt. B. J. Klinefelter
Pvt. T. J. Knight
Pvt. G. J. Kossler
Pvt. A. M. Lewis
Pvt. K. M. Libner
Pvt. E. L. McClure
Pfc. J. S. McCoy
Pvt. C. Medina
Pvt. J. C. Mendezflores
Pvt. G. T. Merrit
Pvt. K. W. Naylor
Pvt. T. M. Nguyen
Pvt. R. W. Nielson
Pvt. N. D. Owen
Pvt. A. M. Parini
Pvt. C. B. Parker
Pvt. T. W. Parkinson
Pvt. C. L. Pattison
Pvt. J. J. Penz

PLATOON 1115
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. C. C. Krusemark
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. A. Glenn II
Sgt. H. Delriohernanez

Pvt. K. N. Allen
Pvt. J. E. Austin
Pvt. A. J. Beger
Pvt. D. J. Berger
Pvt. D. D. Bjorklund
Pvt. J. M. Blair
Pfc. T. B. Brunson
Pvt. I. T. Campbell
Pvt. B. H. Chiang
Pvt. D. A. Coffman
Pfc. C. L. Cooley
Pvt. J. M. Crissman
Pvt. W. Cuevas
*Pfc. D. D. Diaz
Pvt. T. Do
Pvt. B. D. Downard
Pfc. R. P. Dunn
Pvt. U. Estradaprado
Pvt. A. J. Fairbanks
Pvt. A. Fernandez
*Pfc. J. S. Fetters
Pfc. C. A. Feyerabend
Pvt. G. H. Finley
Pvt. C. T. Frost
Pvt. F. L. Galloway
Pvt. J. Gonzalez
Pvt. R. J. Gonzalez
Pvt. M. S. Grothaus
Pvt. C. M. Hadley
Pvt. L. S. Haggerty
Pvt. M. C. Halverson
Pvt. S. C. Harper
Pvt. J. M. Harrell
Pfc. T. J. Hearsey
Pvt. J. A. Hecker
Pvt. J. O. Hernandez
Pvt. J. M. Hoage
Pfc. T. J. Hopkinson
Pvt. K. C. Hudson
Pvt. J. E. Ice
Pvt. B. B. Jackson
Pvt. C. Y. Jun
Pvt. G. T. Kamp
Pvt. J. C. Kindell
Pvt. D. D. King
Lance Cpl. S. A. Koppenhaffer
Pvt. M. P. Krause
*Pfc. J. K. Kuykendall
Pvt. S. E. Lambertz
Pvt. D. N. Le
Pvt. O. Loya
*Pfc. J. M. McDonnell
Pvt. R. T. McEwan
Pfc. A. D. Miller
Pvt. C. E. Miller
Pvt. K. J. Millhouse
Pvt. C. J. Morales
Pfc. J. D. Nelson
Pfc. D. M. Nielson
*Pfc. D. K. Nielson
Pvt. D. B. Ocampo
Pvt. D. T. Ortega
Pvt. J. Y. Pak
Pvt. E. D. Parson
Pvt. N. A. Peters
Pvt. J. P. Ramos
*Pfc. M. T. Roake
Pvt. G. A. Rodriguez
Pvt. W. W. Tsai
Pvt. B. L. Whitley

PLATOON 1117
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. E. Moreno Jr.
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. H. L. Lagrone
Sgt. D. R. Belec

Pvt. D Acostagonzalez
Pfc. M. J. Augustin
Pvt. J. M. Barnes
Pvt. J. M. Battista
Pvt. J. A. Blake
*Pfc. J. C. Blankenship
Pvt. J. A. Brigman
Pvt. J. A. Brown
Pvt. D. D. Bucholtz
*Pfc. J. X. Burley
Pfc. C. R. Cable
Pvt. Y. Cortestovar
Pvt. B. W. Duke
Pfc. R. T. Fischer
Pfc. R. G. Fitzpatrick
Pvt. J. Guzman
Pvt. D. Han
Pvt. A. G. Khalkhali
Pfc. J. Kuzmanoff
Pvt. S. P. McGinty
Pvt. J. Rodriguez Jr.
Pvt. J. A. Ross
Pvt. J. D. Rummens
Pvt. R. R. Runkle
Pvt. F. Salazar
Pvt. L. S. San Diego
Pvt. R. L. Schuberg.
Pfc. T. W. Sharp Jr.
Pvt. D. A. Shaw
Pvt. J. N. Shearin III
Pvt. J. M. Simms
Pvt. D. E. Smith Jr.
*Pfc. T. A. Smith
Pfc. G. J. Smithdalrymple
Pvt. C. A. Snyder Jr.
Pfc. J. Soto III
Pfc. C. R. Stafford
Pvt. D. R. Starrs
Pfc. N. R. Stefan
Pvt. T. G. Stellema
Pvt. J. G. Stevens
Pvt. C. C. Story
Pfc. K. L. Stone
Pvt. C. L. Stout
Pvt. A. R. Thompson
Pfc. W. M. Thorpe
Pvt. E. Tostado
Pvt. A.R. R. Trillo
Pvt. T. R. Vandenberg.
*Pfc. N. V. Velez
Pfc. S. Venancio Jr.
Pfc. D. A. Venzor
Pvt. F. Villa
Pfc. D. D. Waddell
Pvt. B. C. Wallace
Pvt. C. S. Walling
Pfc. R. K. Walters
Pfc. D. J. Walters
Pvt. J. R. Wells
Pvt. N. C. Whitaker
Pvt. D. J. Whitworth
*Pfc. A. J. Wilkerson
Pfc. N. J. Williams
Pvt. T. S. Williams
Pfc. L. C. Worts
Pvt. B. D. Yeazel
Pfc. J. L. Zalasar
Pvt. D. Zaragozacasillas

PLATOON 1118
Senior Drill Instructor
Sgt. J. F. Lopez
Drill Instructors
Sgt. T. L. Hunter
Sgt. M. A. De La Rosa

Pvt. J. D. Aguayo
Pfc. L. C. Alexander
Pfc. A. L. Altamirano
Pvt. J. Aranda
Pvt. K. Y. Camacho
Pvt. D. J. Campos
Pfc. E. Castro
Pvt. S. Chmura
Pfc. J. P. Christian
*Pfc. C. A. Cohn
Pvt. M. F. Cole Jr.
Pfc. K. Conroy
Pvt. J. A. Corby
Pvt. T. L. Deckard
Pvt. C. S. Demery
Pvt. J. Dennert
*Pfc. D. A. Dixon
Pfc. A. E. Echon
Pfc. D. A. Flores
Pfc. O. A. Flores
*Pfc. P. L. Frens
Pvt. L. S. Gautam
Pvt. J. R. Gear
Pfc. J. George
Pvt. D. Gertcher
Pfc. M. Gettler
Pvt. T. E. Guice
Pvt. B. S. Henderson
Pvt. R. Hendricks
Pvt. M. A. Hernandez Jr.
Pvt. C. Hernandez
Pvt. M. J. Hernandez
Pfc. C. L. Hodges
Pvt. J. Holloway
Pvt. J. A. Huff
Pvt. I. Huerta-Salas
Pvt. N. P. Jensen
Pfc. D. Jones
Pfc. J. C. Jones
Pfc. J. R. Knefelkamp
Pvt. A. E. Lee
Pvt. M. Leiv
*Pfc. E. E. Maeda
Pvt. J. O. Magana
Pvt. T. Mag-Atas
Pvt. C. Mason
Pfc. J. McDonald
Pvt. A. T. Mckiski
Pfc. C. Mejeur
Pvt. A. C. Melia
Pfc. R. N. Mercado
Pvt. N. Miller
Pvt. C. M. Morales-Valenzuela
Pvt. J. Mundell
Pvt. M. Munz
Pvt. K. Neuberger
Pfc. J. J. Nordstrom
Pvt. D. Ojedapedraza
Pfc. M. J. Olsen
*Pfc. J. C. Owens
Pfc. L. C. Pangelinan
Pvt. M. R. T. Panotes
Pvt. M. Perez
Pvt. N. Placke
Pfc. K. C. A. Pueblo
Pvt. J. R. Ramirez
Pfc. J. G. Ranas
Pvt. C. A. Smith
Pfc. L. Valenzuela

PLATOON 1119
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. J. A. Salaun
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. S. O. Dapaah
Sgt. G. L. Vega

Pvt. A. F. Allison
Pvt. B. N. Barnes
Pvt. P. Chavezmerino
Pvt. L. S. Flowers
Pvt. B. D. Foley
Pvt. D. J. Gignac
Pvt. J. M. Harbourn
Pfc. M. J. Haynes
Pvt. K. J. Hirschfelt
Pvt. C. A. Hughes
Pvt. R. D. Jimenez III
*Pfc. K. E. Kirkpatrick
Pfc. J. T. Liwanag
Pvt. D. G. Lunsmann
Pvt. A. Magos
Pvt. S. S. Marchel
*Pfc. C. J. McGillivray
Pvt. B. N. Najera
Pvt. M. D. Pate Jr.
Pvt. P. O. Philipps
*Pfc. D. L. Phillips
Pvt. M. A. Phillips Jr.
Pfc. C. W. Ranton
Pvt. T. C. Ray
Pvt. W. A. Reinert
Pvt. K. R. Rhine
Pvt. J. A. Rivas
Pvt. P. F. Rodriguez
Pvt. J. D. Rojas
Pvt. R. J. Romero
Pvt. M. A. Russell
Pfc. B. E. Sahagun
Pfc. M. A. Saldierna
Pvt. D. T. Sammut
Pvt. T. M. Sanchez
Pvt. F. J. Sanchez Jr.
*Pfc. G. M. Sanford
Pfc. J. L. Sanmiguel
Pvt. A. R. Schaffer
Pvt. J. J. Schneider
Pvt. R. L. Schrecker
Pfc. N. R. Seaton
*Pfc. J. R. Serrata
Pvt. A. J. Shelton
Pvt. R. W. Shiflet
Pvt. R. T. Shook
Pvt. C. W. Shurtz
Pvt. L. M. Sisson
Pvt. C. G. Smith
Pfc. D. J. Stidman
Pvt. J. C. Stockstill
Pfc. B. C. Stoddard
Pvt. T. D. Sturrock
Pvt. T. W. Tabor
Pvt. A. R. Thompsonschmidt
Pvt. T. M. Towns
Pvt. T. Q. Tran
Pvt. R. D. Vanarsdall
Pvt. R. J. Van Wetering
Pfc. D. L. Vaughan
Pvt. J. T. Vu
Pvt. W. W. Walsh
Pvt. M. A. Wendt
Pvt. R. C. Whittaker
Pfc. T. J. Schmitt
Pvt. D. Serrao IV
Pvt. T. A. Sorenson
Pvt. R. J. Tapia
Pfc. A. R. Valencia
Pfc. A. N. Wagner
Pvt. M. A. Walker
Pfc. J. L. Williams
Pvt. M. Zarate

PLATOON 1120
Senior Drill Instructor
Staff Sgt. D. J. Sutton
Drill Instructors
Staff Sgt. F. J. Suniga
Sgt. A. N. Davison
Sgt. J. L. Conner

Pvt. R. I Aguilar
Pvt. G. Arcos
Pvt. B. L. Ashlock
Pvt. D. J. Bert
Pfc. A. F. Blisset
Pfc. C. R. Clifton
Pvt. J. E. Davis
Pvt. A. M. Detmer
Pvt. J L. Diaz Jr.
Pvt. S. R. Dotzler
Pvt. C. C. Edwards
Pfc. S. J. Fowlkes
Pfc. M. S. Fries
Pfc. R. R. Harris
Pvt. B. J. Hayden
Pvt. K. M. Hernandez
Pvt. J. L. Isabell
Pvt. C. J. Kittle
Pvt. K. J. Kroese
Pvt. R. W. Kruczek
Pvt. D. A. Kruger
Pvt. E. H. Moore
Pvt. D. E. Murdock
Pvt. H M. Nguyen
Pvt. L. W. Parker
Pvt. R. R. Poos
Pfc. J. F. Quintana
Pvt. J. Ramirez
Pvt. C. R. Raught
Pvt. C. Rios
Pfc. J. M. Rodriguez
Pvt. K. N. Rodriguez
Pvt. C. L. Rutledge
Pfc. R V. Saldana
Pfc. E. E. Sanchez
Pvt. L. L. Sandoval
Pfc. J. Santiago
Pvt. C. D. Schaapman
*Pfc. J. R. Schwager
*Pfc. J. A. Scisson
*Pfc. E. A. Sharew
Pfc. R. E. Sims
Pvt. C. P. Sinnott
Pvt. D. Siong
Pvt. J. L. Slattery
Pfc. D. M. Slider
Pvt. M. V. Snodgrass
Pvt. B. A. Stewart
Pvt. M. S. Sweeney
Pvt. N. P. Swendrowski
Pvt. K. L. Tan
Pvt. J. A. Thornton
Pvt. N. W. Tibbedeaux
Pvt. J. L. Valle
Pvt. B. J. Vargas
Pvt. J. A. Vargasconzalez
Pvt. M. J. Vierra
Pvt. A. M. Villanueva
Pvt. J. T Volzer
Pvt. T. W. Wahlberg
Pvt. G. L. Wells
*Pfc. D. J. Weston
Pfc. N. S. Whitehorse
Pvt. C. J. Wilhelm
Pvt. E. A. Wilkinson
*Pfc. K. M. Williams
*Pfc. R. D. Wolfert
*Pfc. M. C. Woode
Pvt. J. P. Young
Pfc. D. Yuan
Pvt. J. F. Zavala
Pvt. E. D. Zelisko
Pvt. N. J. Zuvich

*Meritorious promotion

Father's yellow footsteps followed: DI's son strives to outdo dad; senior's PFT score better than junior's

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2005) -- He stands in line behind other members of his platoon with a solid face of worry. This is his defining moment of boot camp, his final physical fitness test. He has to pass it in order to graduate, but the worry on his face is there for another reason.

http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/BAE88094D54A23D5852570A10052D498?opendocument


Submitted by: MCRD San Diego
Story Identification #: 2005102111443
Story by Pfc. Kaitlyn M. Scarboro

MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2005) -- He stands in line behind other members of his platoon with a solid face of worry. This is his defining moment of boot camp, his final physical fitness test. He has to pass it in order to graduate, but the worry on his face is there for another reason.

This is his first chance to beat his dad at being a Marine. Drill instructors are known for being some of the most physically fit Marines around, and his father is no exception.

Pvt. Michael Montoya Jr. is determined to surpass his father's PFT score, simply because he wants to prove to himself that he can.

His father, 40-year-old Gunnery Sgt. Michael A. Montoya Sr., bragged of his 293 PFT score, a common score among drill instructors.

"I love to compete. He called my wife and said he was going to beat my PFT score," said Montoya Sr. of his son. "If he does, I'll go out there and beat him again."

Montoya admitted that his father was not around much during his adolescence. The drill instructor was forever training recruits.

When he was younger, Montoya got to visit his father in the squad bay. He never got to see his father training the recruits directly, but he knew his father was training when he wasn't at home.

"I got to see drill instructors a lot," said Montoya. "Their life is basically devoted to training Marines. I got to see him at night sometimes. When he'd come home during the day, he would just go to sleep."

Montoya never saw the drill instructor side of his father at home. He knew his father was a Marine, but Montoya Sr. made sure to leave his drill instructor attitude in the squad bay with the recruits.

"I've always been a father first before I was a Marine to him. I wasn't bringing the drill instructor home or the Marine. I was just bringing home my personality. I'm just a strict disciplinarian father," said Montoya Sr. of the way he raised his sons.

Montoya Sr. attributes the way he raised his sons to the way he was raised by his parents. They expected him to be tidy and clean all of the time. He expected the same from his sons the Corps does of its Marines.

"When I was small, he used to walk around the room and point at things as a drill instructor would with a recruit. My brother and I never knew what he meant," said Montoya.

Montoya said he understands now, after completing recruit training, what his father expected when he told his sons they needed to be clean.

When his father became a drill instructor, Montoya began to see less and less of him. After a two-year tour as a drill instructor in San Diego, Montoya Sr. was assigned to Okinawa, Japan, where his family accompanied him.

When they moved to Okinawa, Montoya turned 13 and started high school.

"As a teenager, you spend all of your time away from home trying to get away from your parents," he said.

While stationed in Okinawa, Montoya Sr. was deployed several times, leaving only seven sporadic months, between deployments, to spend with his family.

"I kind of regret not being there for him. The biggest thing for me was not being there for his high school graduation because I was deployed. It was his biggest accomplishment in life and it was hard for me to miss that," said Montoya Sr. "Now that he's a Marine, he's accomplished an even bigger feat than graduating high school."

Montoya admitted that after high school he had trouble deciding what to do with his life. He only finished the first semester of college and after that skipped around between jobs.

He decided to join the Marine Corps to get his life going in the right direction.

"I joined the Marine Corps to follow in the footsteps of my father and get my life on track," said Montoya. "I always wanted to be like my father but a step better."

Going to boot camp at 175 pounds, Montoya Jr. was nearly 30 pounds heavier than his father, who is now a sergeant instructor at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va.

"I've been told many times: I'm an exact image of my father," said Montoya.

"And a lot skinnier," said 1st Sgt. Craig E. Burnett, his company first sergeant, who was also a drill instructor with Montoya Sr. in Co. M.

Montoya has lost 25 pounds while at recruit training and resembles his father slightly more. Montoya Sr. said he is excited to see the transformation his son has gone through.

"He has gained a lot more self confidence. He really wasn't confident in what he wanted to do with his life, and I think he's going to find at least a start in the Marine Corps," said Montoya Sr.

Montoya Sr. doesn't plan on allowing his son to end the physical training of boot camp by himself. During the final motivational run on family day, Montoya Sr. will run at the back of his son's company, which may turn out to be another father-son competition.

Dad's PFT score edges his son's by 24 points. Montoya Jr. scored a 269.

Conowingo, Md. native manages transportation web

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Lance Cpl. Jason M. Crawford tracks the numerous convoys moving through the Al Anbar province.

http://www.usmc.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/main5/D23BF439F54A1E9B852570A1005BD6E5?opendocument


Submitted by: 2nd Marine Division
Story Identification #: 2005102112437
Story by Sgt. Ryan S. Scranton

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq (Oct. 22, 2005) -- Lance Cpl. Jason M. Crawford tracks the numerous convoys moving through the Al Anbar province.

As a tactical data network specialist the 20-year-old Conowingo, Md. native is a bit out of his element. When he volunteered to deploy he imagined himself helping other Marines construct and maintain the 2nd Marine Divisions computer network. Instead he is helping keep Marines in the region safe from both the insurgency and each other.

Convoys here often run at night and on the dust filled roads friend and foe are not always easily distinguishable. Crawford eliminates the guesswork. With the aid of a tracking system called the Blue Force Tracker, Crawford can account for every administrative and logistical convoy traveling in the province. He uses the information he gathers from the global positioning system to inform other Marines manning checkpoints and guard posts of the convoy’s arrival in their area. The information is used to reduce the chance of mistaken identity.

“Anything that comes into our area we have visibility on,” Crawford said. “I can track the different convoys and keep Marines manning [observation posts] from shooting at each other. So we can minimize the number of blue on blue incidents.”

Crawford also uses the information he gathers to help guide Marines away from potential road-side bomb sites and traffic jams. Marines can use the small laptop tracking system to relay known bomb locations and roads with a high volume of vehicle traffic. Crawford then warns other convoys near or heading toward those locations to steer clear of potential threats and bottlenecks.

“When we get word that there was an improvised explosive device explosion or a traffic jam I plot it on the grid,” Crawford said. “Then we can see who is in the area, let them know the situation and figure out what actions may be taken to get around it.”

Crawford also uses the tracking system to help Marines who have been injured. The device can be used to report insurgent attacks allowing Crawford and other Marines monitoring the convoy’s location to coordinate needed medical support.

“Whenever we can, we try to help coordinate a [medical evacuation],” Crawford said. “It feels good knowing that you get the medical support or information out that they need. It can get hectic when there are a few incidents happening at the same time.”

Crawford said he enjoys what he is doing here. The job requires a great deal of computer work, something that he wanted to do when he joined the Marines. He attended Cecil County School of Technology after graduating from Perryville High School in June 2003 before enlisting in the Marine Corps in September. His skills learned at the technical school coupled with his Marine Corps training helped him tremendously.

“I learned a lot at the technical school and my Marine Corps training went hand in hand,” Crawford said. “I’m used to doing this kind of work and I like it.”

Crawford plans to continue working with computers when he leaves the Marine Corps although he is still not sure when that will be. He believes he’s learned a lot from his experience in the Marines and is glad he joined.

“It’s taught me how to work under a lot of stress,” Crawford said. “It’s also taught me how to take charge and get what needs to be done, done.

“The Marine Corps has been good for me. I joined for experience and because I thought I would learn a lot and I have.”