Monday, December 27, 2004

UNIDENTIFIED Soldier to Rumsfeld: Sir, how do we win the war in the media?

UNIDENTIFIED Soldier to Rumsfeld: Sir, how do we win the war in the media? It seems like that is the place where we're getting beat up more than anybody else. I've been here -- this is my third tour over here, and we have done some amazing things. And it seems like the enemy's Web sites and everything else are all over the media, and they love it. But the thing is, is everything we do good, no matter if it's helping a little kid or building a new school, the public affairs sends out the message, but the media doesn't pick up on it. How do we win the propaganda war? RUMSFELD: That does not sound like a question that was planted by the press. (LAUGHTER)

There are three battlefronts to this war: the ground war, the war with our own media and the war with the fifth column or sympathizers or supporters embedded within our own society using our laws to paralyze our defense.
The war with the old media not only encompasses the works the unidentified soldier declared but the success of Iraqis in defense of their country. The successful prosecution of the war in Iraq can NOT publicized by the dinosaurs of the old media. From Powerline

"Haider Ajina sent us this translation of an article that appeared today in the Iraqi Arabic newspaper Nahrain:

A press release by the Iraqi ministry of defense.

1. At 1 am Iraqi National Guard (ING), the Mahmudih division, arrested 217 individuals suspected of being terrorists and confiscated a large cache of light and heavy caliber weapons and ammunition.

2. At 2 am the same ING division arrested Hatem Alzobaae, a suspected terrorist cell leader.

3. At 2:30 am ING in Hillah arrested the terrorist Ali Mehsan Ghnajar. In his possession were 19 grenades, three 28mm mortars.

4. At 4 am, based on a tip that he had returned from Syria, the criminal Ali Latief was arrested by the ING. Four men who are part of his cell were also arrested.

5. At 4 am 10 terrorists were arrested after returning from Mosul by the ING Mahmudiah division.

6. At 4 am ING raided the Hai Alaskari area based on a tip. As a result of the raid the ING arrested 10 terrorists one of which resisted and was wounded and arrested.

7. At 4 am terrorists attacked the Hadbaa police station and were repelled with 2 terrorists killed and their weapons confiscated.

8. At 5 am ING started a security clean sweep of Bab Shams. They confiscated a large number of hand grenades and mortar weapons and rounds."

I'll bet you will go blind first before you find any mention of this story in our MSM.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Young soldier, who had just lost his left hand and right eye from an explosion comes to the defense of Donald Rumsfeld

From the Banty Rooster a Christmas story that will outlive the ages.
The below-referenced Captain Dan Mattson reports:

It made my day, and I'm pretty certain it made theirs too. It's Christmas Eve, though it didn't feel like it. There are some good decorations in the hospital, but we had no Christmas music in the OR today, and no snow on the ground. No nativity scenes or festive cheer in this part of the world. Then, after a routine for here but hardly routine day in the OR, my day was made. I'm referring to the interaction I witnessed and helped facilitate between a young injured soldier and a high ranking official. Here is how it happened:

I was reading at around noon when I told the anesthesiologist that "the Donald" was in town on a surprise visit. No, not Donald Trump, but Donald Rumsfeld. He laughed cynically and said no way would he come here. Well, at around 1600 I was in the OR and I was told that Rumsfeld was downstairs, and we could go down there if we wanted to. I was not in a position to leave, obviously.

Well, the timing worked out well, because I was taking my patient to the recovery room when we wheeled the stretcher through a mob of dignitaries, to include 3 and 4 star generals. I knew the Secretary was nearby, and it turns out he was in the ICU. The patient drew enough attention because of his bruised, banged up face that the 4 star came over to get his story from the surgeon. I was doing some charting by the bedside when Mr. Rumsfeld came over and heard the kid's story from the 4-star. Rumsfeld looked concerned and kind of kept his distance from the gruesome site. He said something like "bless his heart", as if talking around him.

That is when I, without any thought, piped in with "Sir, you can talk to him, he's awake." He told the soldier, named Rob, how proud he was of his service. The soldier was in a bit of disbelief, because he couldn't see with one eye patched and the other swollen shut. He said he wanted to talk to Rumsfeld. That's when I said "He's standing right to your left, Rob, that's his voice you hear. You can talk to him." The kid was nervous at that point, but sputtered out how honored he was to talk to him. Mr. Rumsfeld replied, "No, it's an honor for me to talk to you."

Then remarkably, the young soldier, who had just lost his left hand and right eye from an explosion, came to the defense of the Secretary of Defense, stating "Mr. Rumsfeld, I want you to know, that you are doing a fantastic job. I know that you are taking a lot of heat for the problems with getting armor for vehicles. I want you to know that things are vastly improved. Our vehicles are great, and I have never searched through junk piles for scrap metal."

At this point, Rumsfeld looked choked up, and I had a lump in my throat and and watery eyes. It was moving. What makes a man who has been so close to death, and maimed for life, come to the defense of the Army's highest ranking official? Loyalty, I dare say. Did Rob think Mr. Rumsfeld was having a self-esteem problem? In his greatest hour of need, his thoughts went to the emotional needs of another. I found it quite amazing, and moving. The Secretary took out a coin and gave it to a bystander for him, as if he didn't know he could touch him. Finally, the soldier said, "Man, Donald Rumsfeld, I wish I could shake his hand."

Even at that, I felt Mr. Rumsfeld needed some prompting, so I picked up the kid's arm and looked at the Secretary, and he reached out and took the kid's hand. After the entourage left, I took the coin and placed it in the soldiers hand, for him to feel and hold. I said, "that's not one you'll get every day." He was happy. I told the person caring for him to make certain that coin went with him to his room. I was assured that he would. I told Rob it was an honor to care for him, and then went on to do my next case. I'd like to see him tomorrow, but I heard he is flying out tonight. "

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Where do terrorists come from?

Marc Sageman, former CIA case officer now a forensic psychiatrist, provides interesting data gleamed from 400 terrorists who either tried to or were involved in attacks against the United States:

Most people think that terrorism comes from poverty, broken families, ignorance, immaturity, lack of family or occupational responsibilities, weak minds susceptible to brainwashing - the sociopath, the criminals, the religious fanatic, or, in this country, some believe they’re just plain evil.
Three-quarters were professionals or semi- professionals. They are engineers, architects, and civil engineers, mostly scientists. Very few humanities are represented, and quite surprisingly very few
had any background in religion. The natural sciences predominate. Bin Laden himself is a civil engineer, Zawahiri is a physician, Mohammed Atta was, of course, an architect; and a few members are military, such as Mohammed Ibrahim Makawi, who is supposedly the head of the military committee.

Far from having no family or job responsibilities, 73 percent were married and the vast majority had children. Those who were not married were usually too young to be married. Only 13 percent were madrassa-trained and most of them come from what I call the Southeast Asian sample, the Jemaah Islamiyya (JI). They had gone to schools headed by Sungkar and Bashir. Sungkar was the head of JI; he died in 1999. His successor, Bashir, is the cleric who is being tried for the Jakarta Marriott bombing of August 2003; he is also suspected of planning the October 2002 Bali bombing.
E-Notes: Understanding Terror Networks - FPRI

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Google Hits:HERO- Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta 3,500 vs.231,000 DESERTER- Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes

Col. Oliver North' s recent column,HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: HERO IN FALLUJAH: Marine Laid Himself on Top of Grenade to Save Rest of Squad by Oliver North ,
on the heroism of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta who, despite his wounds, reached for a live enemy hand grenade and used his body to save his mates from the blast vs. the media hype surrounding AWOL-Petty Officer Paredes who called a press conference to announce he was "resigning" from the WOT is a near perfect illustration of Robert Kagan's essay "The Media and Medievalism" on the mainstream media membership in the cult of victimhood. Run a google check on each name and despite actions that will most certainly receive the Medal of Honor there are only, as of today, 3,500 hits of interest for Sgt. Peralta. Paredes' actions receive 231,000:
You see, Pablo Paredes, a Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, did something the liberal elites consider "heroic" and the media consider "newsworthy" - he defied an order. Last week, Paredes refused to board his ship bound for Iraq along with 5,000 other sailors and Marines. He showed up on the pier wearing a black tee shirt that read, ``Like a Cabinet member, I resign.'' North.
The cult of... " victimhood is a legacy of the 1960s and its immediate aftermath — when, according to Peter Novick in The Holocaust in American Life (1999), Jews, women, blacks, Native Americans, Armenians, and others fortified their own identities through public references to past oppression. The process was tied to Vietnam, a war in which the photographs of civilian victims — the little girl fleeing napalm — “displaced traditional images of heroism.” The process has now been turned upon the American military itself. When not portraying them as criminals in prisoner abuse scandals, the media appear most at ease depicting American troops as victims themselves — victims of a failed Iraq policy, of a bad reserve system, and of a society that has made them into killers."
"Yet the soldiers and Marines with whom I spent months as an embed in ground fighting units found such coverage deeply insulting. At a time when there are acts of battlefield courage in places like Fallujah and Najaf that, according to military expert John Hillen, “would make Black Hawk Down look like Gosford Park,” media coverage of individual soldiers and Marines as warrior-heroes is essentially absent.4 "KAGAN

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Locked, Cocked and Ready to Rock! Jan 9th and Jan. 30

Austin Bay, who just returned from Iraq, has this reminder: Jan 9th Palestinians go to the polls and Jan 30th Iraqis get to cast their first vote in their lifetime. The forces of evil will be out in full regalia with their vote to force the people to remain slaves to dictators. They will not succeed. The outcome is not predetermined yet all know what is at stake: the death of all dictators. The forces of evil know that once a slave gets a whiff of freedom all hell breaks loose.

But they are going to fail. Even if Iraq's election shifts to February (unlikely, since Iraqi leaders such as Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani oppose any delay), the ultimate vote will produce a triumph for the oppressed.

For years, the Arab street (a violent drag controlled by tyrants, their power enforced by terror) kept Arab moderates and democratic reformers in the Arab alley or the Arab jail. The Arab street also has served as a theater for choreographed displays of anger, usually directed at Israel and America. Addressing the real sources of Arab deprivation and degradation, autocratic oppression and systemic corruption, was verboten.

America's reaction to 9-11 -- specifically, its strategic offensive reaction -- is taking the gun out of hands of tyrants and terrorists. Removing Saddam Hussein began the reconfiguration of the politically dysfunctional Arab Muslim Middle East -- a dangerous, expensive process, but one that gives Middle Eastern moderates the chance to build states where the consent of the governed creates legitimacy and where terrorists are prosecuted, not promoted.

Monday, December 13, 2004

From the Fat Chance Dept.

Inside Politics / The Washington Times INSIDER: " Fat chance
The District-based WMAL radio is leading a fund-raising drive on behalf of Fisher House, which, explains talk-show host Michael Graham, assists 'the wives, children and parents who have wounded loved ones receiving treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Hospital or Malcolm Grow Medical at Andrews Air Force base.'
Mr. Graham offered that explanation in a letter to a potential big donor -- or, rather, a big potential donor: documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.
'America's soldiers have been very good to you,' Mr. Graham writes in an open letter to Mr. Moore. 'Most of them don't like you, but they're prepared to die attempting to protect you from terrorism so that you can continue to crank out your profitable propaganda.
'They've done all this for you. I'm writing to give you the opportunity to do something for them. ...
'The message of your books and films is that the American soldier is a victim. The soldiers I've spoken with at Fisher House vehemently disagree with you, as do the majority of my active-duty military listeners. However, we all agree that the soldiers who have been the victims of Iraqi terrorist violence ... deserve our support.
'Therefore, I am writing to challenge you to give back just a small portion of the money you have earned as a critic of their mission. Your film 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has grossed around $150 million. Our entire goal for the Fisher House this holiday season is a tiny percentage of that amount. ...
'If you feel, however, that the money can be better spent on yet another trip to France, nobody will be surprised.
'You can send your check made out to the Fisher House Foundation, care of 630 WMAL, 4400 Jenifer Street NW, Washington, DC 20015.' "

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Raider One: Ten Scouts and one War Pig in 10 seconds in Fallujah

"It was just August when the company commanders created the concept of Raider One — a single vehicle that can deposit up to 10 scouts on the ground within seconds to fight in conjunction with Light Armored Vehicles known as "war pigs." The setup provides new flexibility during hand-to-hand combat and has proven so effective that Raider is assigned constant missions in Fallujah."
"This is urban combat to a 'T,' with 360 degrees of danger," says Sgt. Kevin Boyd, the young-faced chief scout from Pittsburgh, Pa., who forged Raider's clockwork skills of houseclearing by daily practice on the ship to the Middle East, storming stairwells and clearing catwalks on upper decks.

"You've always got to be looking in every house — behind every couch there could be a guy hiding," says Sergeant Boyd, an Eagle Scout who wore his first camouflage at age 3 and owns more than 20 guns.

Boyd graduated from high school on a Friday, celebrated on Saturday, and left for the Marines on Monday. He says Fallujah is "10 times" as dangerous as the Iraq invasion, during which LAR lost one marine, who stepped on an artillery shell.

"It's a lot faster combat, a lot more deliberate. Grenade, grenade, rocket-boom! You're in," says Boyd. For luck, he keeps an Ace of Spades in his helmet.

"I love the adrenaline of it, the fast pace," Boyd adds. "I'm breathing in plaster and composition B from the grenade, choking on it — spitting out black stuff as I'm clearing the room out. It's great!" - Marines on the front lines talk of God and guns

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The cult of victimhood.

How is it the media has the power to stop a successful operation in progress, to ignore the good news from Iraq and worse of all to ignore the thugsters who play possum only to shoot our people in the back? Robert D. Kaplan has an explanation in:
The Media and Medievalism by Robert D. Kaplan - Policy Review, No. 128
Because the media confuse victimization with moral right, American troops in Iraq have had occasionally to contend with unsympathetic news coverage, which in an age of mass media has concrete tactical and strategic consequences. Last spring, I accompanied the first United States Marines into Fallujah. After several days of intense fighting, the Marines — reinforced with a fresh new battalion — appeared on the verge of defeating the insurgents. A cease-fire was called, though, snatching defeat from victory. No matter how cleanly the Marines fought, it was not clean enough for the global media, famously including Al-Jazeera, which portrayed as indiscriminate killing what in previous eras of war would have constituted a low civilian casualty rate. The fact that mosques were blatantly used by insurgents as command posts for aggressive military operations mattered less to journalists than that some of these mosques were targeted by U.S. planes. Had the fighting continued, the political fallout from such coverage would have forced the newly emerging Iraqi authorities to resign en masse. So American officials had no choice but to undermine their own increasingly favorable battlefield position by consenting to a cease-fire. While U.S. policy was guilty of incoherence — ordering a full-scale assault only to call it off — the Marines were defeated less by the insurgents than by the way urban combat is covered by a global media that has embraced the cult of victimhood.

The 2/24 Chicago based Marine Reserves work the Thugsters 'hood'

Perhaps the most successful of the marines' tactics have been the nighttime raids. With more than 70 police officers in the battalion, the work-up for the raids at the Mahmudiya base has been strongly influenced by American police tactics. Colonel Smith said he attributed much of the unit's success in tracking down wanted insurgents to Warrant Officer Jim Roussell, a 53-year-old Chicago police sergeant who spent years working with the city's gang unit.
Mr. Roussell, a tall, spare man with a graying crew cut, agreed that tracking down insurgents in Iraq was not so different from hunting down street gang members. "In both cases, you're dealing with young people who are disenfranchised and angry and pick up weapons," he said.
To identify them, he said, the marines' intelligence unit follows family ties, picks up tips from street patrols and develops "snitches," many of them captured insurgents.

"It's ground-level intelligence, it's patrolling, it's interacting with people," he said. "At base, it's straightforward police work."
The New York Times > International > Middle East > Marines' Raids Underline Push in Crucial Area

Caroline B. Glick: On the advantages of the Terrorists over Marines

Capt Gil Juarez, last month reminded his LAR Marines
:"This is a political war." Glick's column on Kevin Sites footage fully explains exactly what is meant by that statement.

Terrorists have two basic advantages over the Western armies and societies that fight them: their own invisibility, and the self-obsession and hatred of Western Leftists. By not abiding by the centuries-old rules of war that stipulate that combatants are uniformed members of the armed forces of a country or a recognized insurgency in control of territory, the terrorists have an upper hand despite their relatively small numbers and outdated weaponry. How can a war be justified against an enemy you can't see who looks just like the civilians you are obligated by law and your values to protect?
Add to this the fact that terrorists eagerly exploit universally recognized symbols of non-combatants and you have a war that you simply cannot justify on camera. Terrorist shoot from mosques so mosques must be raided. Terrorists are transported in ambulances so ambulances must be inspected. But of course, the television cameras aren't filming when the terrorists fire RPGs from minarets, only when terrorists wounded while shooting them lay pitifully on the floor. And there is no camera on hand when they plant explosives beneath gurneys.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Cpl John Wilson 3rd LAR wounded in Fallujah

While patrolling with the Third Light Armored Reconnaissance Unit in Fallujah, Wilson and his fellow soldiers heard mortar rounds and went to investigate. “He said they were running down an alley, and when they turned a corner, there were men with guns who started shooting at them,” Wilson’s father said. He said Wilson’s gun jammed, and as he was retreating, he was struck in the leg by a bullet from an AK-47.

“His doctor said he was very lucky, because the bullet went right through his leg without striking the bone,” said Wilson’s mother. Two other soldiers in Wilson’s unit were injured, as well, but none of the injuries is life threatening.

According to his parents, this is not the first time Wilson has been in mortal danger, but it is the worst time. One day, the armored troop transport vehicle Wilson was riding in rolled over, his father said. Wilson suffered only a black eye and bruises.

Wilson’s father also said that on another day, Wilson and his unit were walking along with their transport vehicle rather than riding in it, and a rocket struck the transport right where Wilson would have been sitting, destroying the vehicle.

MNSUN - News

Monday, November 29, 2004

Scan Eagle: Unmanned aircraft does reconnaissance work for Fallujah Marines

A robotic aircraft that is four feet tall with a ten foot wing span and can stay aloft for 15 hours at a stretch on two gallons of fuel has been providing valuable intell in Fallujah for Marines.
"It travels above insurgent positions and sends real-time video images to Marines on the ground. The unmanned device can relay facial expressions on enemy soldiers, and can transmit in such detail that it shows steam rising from their coffee.
The 4-foot-long aircraft has a 10-foot wingspan and can fly up to 15 hours at a time on less than two gallons of fuel, Boeing officials said.
Unmanned aircraft such as ScanEagle are expected to play an increasing role in future battles because the Pentagon (news - web sites) sees the planes as an integral part of combat missions. Weapon systems are in the works that will share a common operating language so soldiers, ships, submarines, planes and satellites can share information in a battlefield network. "
Yahoo! News - Marines Aided by Robotic Airplane in Iraq

Fallujah: LAR Co. Discovers Bomb Control Center

There are 50,000 buildings in Fallujah and each one has to be searched:
"Yesterday, one platoon of the Light Armored Reconnaissance company discovered a control center that could explode at least eight improvised explosive devices, the kind of roadside bombs that have inflicted large numbers of deaths across Iraq. The control center was set inside a normal building, with a wide horizon view of the main highway that cuts through the city. Each IED was labeled, and the operator had only to touch the copper wire for the battery to set off the explosive."

On Saturday the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines engaged in a serious battle in the south of Fallujah that killed two Marines and wounded several others. As the fight continued, Marines estimated that they had killed 34 insurgents and captured another 23, at least 10 of whom were foreign fighters.

Also Saturday, Bravo company of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, found two vast weapons caches in the northeast of the city, which is considered to be the most "cleaned" so far, and therefore the most likely to see the earliest return of civilians.

"We've been through half the doors. It's a necessary but laborious process going on," says Col. Craig Tucker, commander of the Regimental Combat Team-7, one of two regiments active in Fallujah. "We'll go through every house in this city. We'll bring back people by sectors, but we don't want to bring people back while we are still finding 100 105 mm (artillery) rounds in a single house."

Honolulu Star-Bulletin Hawaii News

Sunday, November 28, 2004

How NOT to Clear a Room

When the team from Alpha Company finally entered the last redoubt of the insurgents -- a burning house that had already been hammered by rockets, explosive charges and tank rounds -- they had every reason to believe any remaining gunmen were dead. But two were alive.

Point man Lance Cpl. Richard Caseras entered with his team and ran into the spray of an insurgent's AK-47 assault rifle. A second fighter then emerged, a pineapple grenade in each hand, with pins already pulled.

Eyeball to eyeball with their opponents, the Marines shot them both dead; the grenades fell to the ground and exploded, blasting the Americans with shrapnel.

In the eerie light of the roaring flames, the wounded men were dragged back out to the street while Marines targeted the house with steady gunfire.

As the shooting lit the battle space with muzzle flashes and noise, a lone U.S. Navy medical corpsman jumped out to gather the wounded. This correspondent moved to help, joining in to pull the three injured men into the vehicle by their flak jackets.

"I'm so sorry! I should have used the frag(mentation) grenade and not my M-16 (rifle)," Caseras yelled to his fallen comrades as the vehicle raced toward a combat hospital at Camp Fallujah. Lance Cpl. Nathan Douglass was peppered with shrapnel. Also prone in the back of the armored vehicle, on crates full of ammunition and explosives, lay Cpl. Catcher Cuts the Rope (his American Indian name), with a tourniquet above his knee; grenade shards hit his shoulder and hands.

"Don't worry," Douglass, from Hillsboro, Ore., said consolingly. "We shot so much into that house. There shouldn't have been anybody left."

The final blow came with heavy fire from an AC-130 Spectre gunship, which destroyed four houses used by the insurgents with 40 Howitzer shells.

The toll from a brutal night: one dead Marine and nine wounded, including this correspondent, who was struck in the arm by a small piece of shrapnel.

The firefight brings the casualty rate in the Light Armored Reconnaissance Company to one man in five -- far less than the 60 percent reached during the battle for Vietnam's Hue City in 1968, the last urban assault waged by U.S. Marines before Fallujah, but far higher than most modern combat operations.

Honolulu Star-Bulletin Hawaii News

Saturday, November 27, 2004

LCpl. Kc Moran 3rd LAR WIA but on time for Family Thanksgiving dinner

Kc was on a rooftop (in Fallujah) a forward scouting position. He was under heavy mortar and rocket fire when a mortar round went off nearby and shrapnel tore into him.

"And, then I got hit in my back where it went in and got into my intestine and they had to remove part of my intestines," explained Lance Corporal Moran. Wounded in both legs and with shrapnel in his guts, his colleagues couldn't lower him in a stretcher off the building. So, under continuing mortar fire, Moran had to first climb down from the building they were on.

On the way to an aid station, his vehicle hit two different roadside bombs, knocking out first one, and then the second driver and mildly wounding the medic. Then the ambulance humvee that was sent to rescue them hit another bomb.

The fact that Moran was here to talk about it at all on Thanksgiving was a little miracle.

"I'm thankful to be here with my family, thankful that I came out of it alright," he said.

komo news | Marine Injured In Iraq Home For Thanksgiving

Thugs Can't Beat American Troops Attack Iraqi Forces

"....insurgents in Mosul have had little luck attacking American troops head on, as their rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and roadside bombs typically do little damage to the 19-ton Stryker light armored vehicles that the Americans have been using..." ...thugs "have learned that if they go head to head with us, they'll lose big time," said Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla, the commander of a battalion that oversees much of western Mosul. "Instead they are going after the Iraqi security forces." " About 400 troops pushed into Old Mosul this week in the first operation of that size there in at least six months. For three hours, as they were soaked by rain under the constant rumble of two Apache attack helicopters circling overhead, they banged on doors, questioned homeowners and shopkeepers, and tried to navigate the labyrinth of streets, which quickly flooded with murky water.

They went in expecting the worst: the mission objective, in military parlance, was "movement to contact," or attacking and capturing insurgents who fired at them as they advanced.

But to everyone's surprise, not a shot was fired, save for a few standard warning shots. Nor were any shots fired during an American raid early Thursday morning, also near Old Mosul, where the military scooped up two men suspected of complicity in attacks on Iraqis who work at a nearby military base.

"I'm kind of disappointed in the enemy," said Capt. Bill Jacobsen, the commander of a 174-man Army company that led the afternoon raid into Old Mosul. "We were there for three hours. Someone all the way to Baghdad could have responded."

The New York Times > International > Middle East > Insurgency: Troops Finding Scores of Bodies of Slain Iraqis

2Slick's Forum: Letter from Fallujah

In Fallujah, the enemy had a military-type planning system going on. Some of the fighters were wearing body armor and kevlars, just like we do. Soldiers took fire from heavy machine guns (.50 cal) and came across the dead bodies of fighters from Chechnya, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Afghanistan, and so, this was not just a city of pissed off Iraqis, mad at the Coalition for forcing Saddam out of power. It was a city full of people from all over the Middle East whose sole mission in life was to kill Americans. Problem for them is that they were in the wrong city in November 2004.
Anyone back home who thinks the world is a safe place needs to come here for a day and learn real fast that there are an awful lot of people out there who hate Americans so much that they risk their lives to try to kill us. We cannot live peacefully back at home right now unless we continue to stay on the offensive against our enemies and fight them in their backyards. Remember, radical Arabs started this war...and they continue to fight it, proving to America over and over that they need to be fought.
********* **********************
one fighter came running out of a building that our tanks set on fire...he was on fire and still shooting at us. As our Sergeant Major said, "going up against tanks and brads with an AK-47, you have to admire their effort!"

2Slick's Forum: Letter from Fallujah

Friday, November 26, 2004

"This is political war":Capt. Gil Juarez, the LAR commander

Capt. Juarez explained the risk from the asymmetrical threat posed by the Iraqi thugs in Fallujah as the presence of civilians increases. Marines have been subjected to white flags as cover for ambush and thugs playing dead in the street only to jump up and fire on unsuspecting Marines. "I'm telling you Marines, you have the authority to use lethal force," Capt. Gil Juarez, the LAR commander, told his platoon chiefs when giving the order for Monday's operation. "But be advised: If you make a mistake and frag innocent civilians, there is going to be a (military lawyer) on the scene and an investigation."

"We'll win the battle, no problem," Juarez continued, "but this is still a war about human relations. This is political war. Everything we do must help toward winning that war."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin Hawaii News

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving To All

Happy Thanksgiving to all near and far defending our nation.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Shopping list and Helpful Al QaQa calls Air Strike on himself

Chester has another great email from a Marine officer in Iraq. Written pre-Fallujah, I swiped a couple of paragraphs but your really need to go and read the whole thing:

"Small things, dude for when you get here: wear the ballistic goggles,
drink water all damn day (the camelbacks are great), I'm drinking probably 5
gallons of water per day, and it ain't enough. Helmet and Flak Jacket
worn at all times when you are outside, it sucks, but it saves lives. Wear
both the throat protector and the groin protector. Perforated eardrums are
common, get and wear the anti-blast ear plugs. I wear them whenever we're
in a vehicle,just in case of IED's. Purell hand sanitizer is a good piece
of gear also."
And:"Got another one you'll like: Air strike went in on the outskirts of
Fallujah targeting a specific building hiding some Foreign Fighters
from Syria or Chechnya trying to infiltrate. Good hit, target destroyed.
About thirty seconds later, my radio battalion guys monitor a cell phone call
from a terrorist cell leader, saying "the Americans missed me, but they just
hit XXXXXX's house across the street." We called the air dogs back, had
them re-target and run another strike. BIG BOOM! Secondary explosions all
over the place from a weapons/ammunition cache they had in the house that
the idiot just called from. Thanks for the assist Hadji. He's doing a
one-on-one interview with Allah right about now.

The Adventures of Chester

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Email from Fallujah from Dave

A USMC Major emails his father on the battle for Fallujah. Must read.

There is an image burned into my brain that I hope I never forget. We came up behind 3/5 one day as the lead squads were working down the Byzantine streets of the Jolan area. An assault team of two Marines ran out from behind cover and put a rocket into a wall of an enemy strongpoint. Before the smoke cleared the squad behind them was up and moving through the hole and clearing the house. Just down the block another squad was doing the same thing. The house was cleared quickly and the Marines were running down the street to the next contact. Even in the midst of that mayhem, it was an awesome site.

The fighting has been incredibly close inside the city. The enemy is willing to die and is literally waiting until they see the whites of the eyes of the Marines before they open up. Just two days ago, as a firefight raged in close quarters, one of the interpreters yelled for the enemy in the house to surrender. The enemy yelled back that it was better to die and go to heaven than to surrender to infidels. This exchange is a graphic window into the world that the Marines and Soldiers have been fighting in these last 10 days.

I could go on and on about how the city was taken but one of the most amazing aspects to the fighting was that we saw virtually no civilians during the battle. Only after the fighting had passed did a few come out of their homes. They were provided food and water and most were evacuated out of the city. At least 90-95% of the people were gone from the city when we attacked.

I will end with a couple of stories of individual heroism that you may not have heard yet. I was told about both of these incidents shortly after they occurred. No doubt some of the facts will change slightly but I am confident that the meat is correct.

The first is a Marine from 3/5. His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson). As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door. As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out. The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg. He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway. Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover. As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway. Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety. The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in. He immediately entered the room following the second explosion. He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine. You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled. Marines usually let them "cook off" for a second or two before tossing them in. Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30 seconds.

The Green Side

Flushing Out Al Qaqa's with LAR

Flushing out leftover Al Qaqa's is getting tougher as they try to sucker punch LAR units with the White Flag:

"Even in Fallujah, flushing out insurgents is no easy task, despite overwhelming US firepower. The Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) company launched two concerted attacks over the weekend, clearing blocks of suspect houses in conjunction with other units across the city.
US marines on a foot patrol this weekend paid little attention to a man walking along the road and holding a white flag - a common sight as the conflict dies down and civilians pop up to scavenge for food and water.
But this time, US officers say, as the marines came by, the man dipped into an alley, returned with an AK-47 assault rifle, and sprayed the marines with bullets. Two Americans died, and others were wounded."
Fallujah attacks expose new risks |

Friday, November 19, 2004

Bravo Co. LAR Uncovers Fallujah Mother Lode of Al Qaqa Weapons, Bombs

Disquised as a red cross type charity office, in just another building that no one had cleared, Bravo Co found 1000 pounds of HE among other interesting items: The scale of the weapons cache discovered Wednesday by Bravo Company at the suspected Zarqawi charity was the largest found in the city so far - and stashed in such a nondescript collection of buildings that US troops passed by several times without taking a closer look. With an estimated 1,000 pounds of explosives, it could have caused damage up to six city blocks away, if detonated all at once. "Not all this stuff was being used for Fallujah - a lot was being exported out, and used as IEDs and car bombs in Ramadi and elsewhere," says Colonel Tucker at the downtown site, just 200 yards from the central Hadra Mohamadiya mosque. "This was the central location for planning."
Fallujah yields up weapons, videos |

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Lieut. Michael Aubry, First LAR

"They call it the 'strategic corporal,' " says Lieut. Michael Aubry, a vehicle commander from Arlington Heights, Ill., with the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance company in central Fallujah. "[Lower ranks] are seeing stuff and reacting to it without guidance" from higher authority. In a 1999 article, Gen. Charles Krulak, then the Marine Commandant, coined the term. In the 21st century, he wrote, young marines would need "to confidently make well-reasoned and independent decisions under extreme stress - decisions that will likely be subject to the harsh scrutiny of both the media and the court of public opinion. In many cases, the individual Marine will be the most conspicuous symbol of American foreign policy."

Yet in the heat of the moment Saturday, a young marine did severe damage to the image of a precise and clean assault that the US had hoped to project from Fallujah. The footage has already become more fodder on jihadi websites peddling the conspiracy theory that the US is on a crusade against global Islam. It also caused cringing in the capitals of US friends and allies. Tuesday, UN Human Rights chief Louise Arbour called for an investigation of alleged US abuses in Fallujah. The incident, captured by NBC reporter Kevin Sites, who is embedded with the Marines 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, is chilling. In a mosque that had seen heavy fighting the day before, marines enter to find Iraqi dead and wounded slumped against a wall. One of the marines begins cursing and shouting about a wounded man, insisting he's "faking he's dead." A marine fires at the man's upper body, and another marine says, "He's dead now."

Setback to US image in war |

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

"Do not let your guard down here, or you'll be the next one dead." SSgt. Colin Fitts

You get one chance to drop your guard and then you pay the price of being dead or wounded. Capt Sean Sims and two Army soldiers walked "casually" nto an "apparently abandoned house...and was confronted with a room full of armed men" In the hail of fire the two soldiers retreated but the body of Capt. Sims lay on the kitchen floor. ' "Staff Sgt. Colin Fitts, a combat-hardened NCO, called his men together.
"The CO is dead," he rasped, "and I'll tell you why. They were just a gaggle walking into some house. They weren't clearing the building properly before going in.
"We were doing that, and that's why we're living. Do not let your guard down here, or you'll be the next one dead." '

'The CO is dead,' troops are told - The Washington Times: World - November 15, 2004

Lance Cpl. Kyle W. Burns, 20 LAR

Burns, 20, died Thursday in al-Anbar province, which includes the city of Fallujah, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Saturday. Burns was assigned to the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, which is part of the 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.

Wyoming digest -

Corporal Victor Gomez, scout on a light armored vehicle.

After a week of fighting in which the number of civilians on the streets could be counted on one hand, the scene inside the mosque was a welcome surprise to marines.

Throughout the fight, most people seen outside have been armed, and have been engaged.

"I really liked what I saw in there," says Corporal Victor Gomez, a scout on a light armored vehicle. "I didn't want to come in here [to Fallujah], shoot a load of rounds and then leave, as if we'd done our job. That really set my mind at ease today."

Next Fallujah battle: hearts, minds |

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Smoke Nazis Letters to the Editor

New York Post


Email Archives
Print Reprint

November 11, 2004 -- Your Page One photograph of the Marine hit me between the eyes ("Smokin'," Nov. 10).

This guy is all-GI.

That dirty face, the whiskers on his unshaven face, the cut on the bridge of his nose, the dangling cigarette and the 1,000-yard stare in those battle weary eyes tell the story of what's really going on in Fallujah.

His features are reminiscent of the renowned World War II GI that Mattel replicated to make its GI Joe.

Forget about these Pentagon generals with their spotless dress uniforms, spit-shined shoes, $100 haircuts and shiny, manicured nails.

This guy's nails and hands are laced with blood. His sweaty body smells from sleeping in the sand. His breath stinks from eating field rations.

As the winds of November blow across Indiana, I sit comfortably drinking coffee as this guy, and thousands of other GIs, bravely and valiantly battle throughout the filth and stench of these Fallujah neighborhoods.

You are the best, and we think of you in the spirit of Veterans Day. Earl Beal

Terre Haute, Ind.

How many kids trying to emulate heroic U.S. soldiers in Iraq will choose to slowly commit suicide as a direct result of your ill-conceived Marlboro pandering?

Be a responsible part of the community instead of simply leeching off it 25 cents at a time. Terry Craw

Stamford, Conn.

Thank you, New York Post, for Wednesday's cover.

Finally, a newspaper that acknowledges our soldiers and reports the good news about the war in Iraq.

I am going to frame this cover.

For the first time, I feel the pride of our soldiers and am reminded that America has the strongest military in the world.

Our soldiers need more positive coverage as a reminder to the American people that they are in Iraq, ready, willing and able to win the War on Terror.

America needs to stand together, and the media should start covering the good news coming out of Iraq. Misty Sawyer


How much did Phillip Morris pay for the front cover advertisement?

Thank you for continuing to encourage the development of cancer. Mark Leininger


Your cover is a disgrace.

War is not a video game.

Actual people are losing their lives.

At least 10 U.S. soldiers died early in this battle, not to mention many innocent Iraqi civilians who hadn't left the area.

This man is not a cartoon character. He is a real man who has just been through some of the most trying moments of his life — moments that will most likely haunt him forever.

Yet, there you are exploiting him and promoting cigarettes.

It's disgusting. John Keenan


The Post's cover was horrible and crude.

How could you compare our soldiers to the Marlboro Man?

We are not "kicking butt" in Iraq.

We are in an unjustified war with a people who will never allow democracy to come to their country. Janna Passuntino


I was shocked to see the front page of your newspaper.

Showing a GI smoking and portraying it as being cool is disgusting, to say the least.

First of all, you are promoting smoking, even though it is a health hazard.

Secondly, our brave men and women are fighting a tough war in Iraq, and to show them as you did does not do them justice.

Maybe showing a Marine in a tank, helping another GI or drinking water would have had a more positive impact on your readers.

Smoking should be outlawed, not endorsed. Ali Mahdi

North Brunswick, N.J.

Thank God New York isn't occupied by terrorists.

Mayor Bloomberg wouldn't allow a Marine who smokes to enter the city.

He would probably rather be a prisoner than see someone smoke. Hank Sbordone

Middletown N.J.

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COM
are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc.
Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo Gallery :: Picture of Marine Drives Smoke Nazis NUUUTTSS!!

This pix appeared in the New York Post and the paper was inundated w/outraged smoke nazis protesting the display of the Marlboro Marine from Charlie one eight. Hooraahh!!
Photo Gallery :: Troops reach heart of Fallujah :: 1

Three LAR take a region known as “the peninsula” "

On Sunday, the Marines’ 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance battalion, accompanied by Iraqi commandos, moved in west of the city to take a region known as “the peninsula” that includes a major regional hospital and two key bridges.
On Monday, two Marine regimental combat teams swept into Fallujah from the north while a U.S. Army brigade held the southern rim of the city to prevent insurgents from escaping. Piccoli said U.S. Army and Iraqi forces were an integral part of the invasion force.
Marine Corps Times - News - More News

Lance Cpl. Justin D. Reppuhn, Third LAR

Lance Cpl. Justin D. Reppuhn, 20, died in an explosion Thursday while fighting into the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, Iraq. He had served just eight weeks overseas. A poem, written by his mother, is framed on the counter. Prophetically, it reads, "My son knows what the cost is and is willing to challenge it with courage, honor and loyalty. His gift to us, the possibility of the ultimate sacrifice." "I brought them up being extremely patriotic," his mother said. "We told them that in life, if it comes that you must pass away, the most honorable thing in the whole world (is giving your life for your country."

We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his friends and his mates.

Friday, November 12, 2004

LAR in Southern Cordon

Check out chester for detail analysis of Fallujah Battle. He has links to other blogs with even more info. One, called carnivorous conservative has a map where he thinks LAR is located.
The Adventures of Chester: "Note who he thinks is doing the southern cordoning. This seems correct, and the USMC forces are probably the 4th Recon Battalion, and whatever Light Armored Reconnaissance battalion is in theater.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

LAR platoon discovers new "sleeper" tactics by Al QaQa

One example Wednesday was a group of four men, found in their house by the LAR Raider Platoon during a search. They said they had recently been caught by the mujahideen, or holy warriors of the resistance, and been tortured.

Later that day and several blocks away, Raider Scouts searching other buildings found four more men. They also said they stayed behind to guards their houses, and that they had been tortured.

But further questioning found that there were no signs of torture - militants in Fallujah typically kill suspected traitors - and that the men's claimed identities did not hold up to investigation.

"It was well rehearsed," said Lt. Michael Aubry from Arlington Heights, Ill. "The first time didn't look suspicious, but the second time ... it did."

"There are sleeper cells all over the place," says Juarez. New rebel tactics emerge in Fallujah |

light armored reconnaissance company, demonstrated how overwhelming U.S. firepower has dominated the fight.

"Capt. Gil Juarez, the light armored reconnaissance company commander, began the assault by blasting his 25mm turret gun down a street toward a target house. Teams fired small mortars. 'You want me to fire one more volley?' Juarez asked a Bravo Company officer.
Bravo's final attack of the day, mounted jointly with vehicles of a light armored reconnaissance company, demonstrated how overwhelming U.S. firepower has dominated the fight.
"href=""> - Marines blast into Fallujah

Monday, November 08, 2004

Captain Gil Juarez First LAR in Fallujah:"Never send a Marine where you can send a round,"

Never send a Marine where you can send a round," Capt. Gil Juarez advised his Light Armored Reconnaissance company as final preparations got under way. "The enemy is crafty. We just have to be methodical, with techniques that work. Put steel on the target. We need not panic in the face of the enemy."
Honolulu Star-Bulletin Hawaii News

SGT. Kevin Boyd First LAR: "They are house bombs"

"They're seeing wires strung up between houses - even the first houses,' says Sgt. Kevin Boyd, chief scout of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) company, after hearing the news on his helmet radio set. 'They are not [car bombs]. They are house bombs.'" The LAR company is attached to the 1st Battalion 3rd Marines, one of six battalions that make up the Fallujah invasion force. The marines expect to face ruthlessness from an insurgency infamous for hostage-taking, videotaped murders, and frequent indiscriminate suicide attacks against civilians that have increasingly gripped Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Assault on Fallujah is On

"This town is held by mugs, thugs, murderers, and terrorists," Lt. Gen. John Sattler, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Unit, shouted to marines at a staging ground Sunday. "You know what your mission is. Go out there and get it done."
Take all the rope in Texas
Find a tall oak tree, round up all of them bad boys
Hang them high in the street for all the people to see that

Justice is the one thing you should always find
You got to saddle up your boys
You got to draw a hard line
When the gun smoke settles we'll sing a victory tune
We'll all meet back at the local saloon
We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces
Singing whiskey for my men, beer for my horses

US heading into major urban assault in Iraq |

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Cpl. Christopher DeBlanc, LAR: Al QaQa's Hide Tank Mine inside Chokepoint

Add this item to your combat savvey: recall the occasional gaps between canals in Iraq, add a crater blast hole made by earlier anti tank mine and now your vehicle has to go further out to get around the hole. This LAR unit was lucky. Very lucky.

"U.S. Marines of the Light Armored Reconnaissance, or LAR, company on patrol Thursday near Fallujah, found a gap between canals. Already at the chokepoint, there was a crater--formed not long ago, when an armored vehicle had rolled through and blew up an anti-tank mine.

Suspicious because the crater forced the convoy along a very narrow dirt path, Marines dismounted from the first armored vehicle and walked it through the breach unharmed.

The second vehicle, however, hit another anti-tank mine, blowing the 14-ton chassis into a muddy fishtail, tearing away a rear tire, and blasting open the armored rear doors, wounding two Marines and an American photographer. It's a pretty good tactic, to force the vehicle to drive around the blast hole," said Cpl. Christopher DeBlanc, a team leader from Spotsylvania County. "There's nothing you can do," said 1st Lt. Paul Webber, an LAR platoon commander, nodding toward the two craters. "Somebody's got to go through here, sometime. It was just a matter of time. They knew." The new crater--4 feet deep and 8 feet wide in dark fertile farming soil--looked precisely like the first one. And there were other strange signs picked up by the Marines as they piled boxes of explosives, rockets, and ammunition from the diesel-soaked vehicle.

The blast destroyed the amphibious propeller and spread camouflage pack material across the waving reeds. A pile of burning ash included 25 mm shell casings.

Every one of those, now rusted, had been taken apart, and their primer taken by insurgents. The primer can act as a blasting cap for improved explosive devices, or IEDs.

The Marines fanned out across the muddy fields, detaining two sheep herders and stopping a car that did not halt with machine-gun fire.

Another man emerged from the reeds with his hands up, claiming to be from Tikrit, with $400 in his pocket.

But the Marines who remained at the blast site marveled at what they saw as their bad luck--this platoon had never been hit before--and at their relative good luck. No Marines died; the wounds to the two were not life-threatening; and Stephanie Kuykendal, an American freelance photographer for Corbis photo agency,had only wounds to her mouth. - Spotsylvania Marine on Fallujah strike force

"Locked, cocked and ready to rock," : In Fallujah

"Locked, cocked and ready to rock," said Lance Cpl. Dimitri Gavriel, 29, who left an investment banking job in Manhattan 18 months ago to enlist, using a popular Marine expression. "That's about how we feel."
The New York Times > International > Middle East > G.I.'s Itch to Prove Their Mettle in Falluja

Friday, November 05, 2004

Chester's qualifications to Comment on Battle for Fallujah

If you have been following adventures of chester you may also have also asked yourself the following inquiry:
"A reader asks in the comments section how I can know what is going on if I'm not there. Excellent question. Short answer: educated guesswork. I was a staff officer involved in planning before, during and after the invasion. Though I was in nary a firefight, figuring out the big picture was my job. I should note that I am not going to post anything that I think will endanger our boys. I have some pretty wild ideas about the ground assault that I will keep to myself. I am a combat engineer by training and the idea of going into a fortified city has my creative juices flowing . . ."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

LCPL. A.J. Witzel, 3rd LAR and letters from Home

Mail, with news fresh from HOME, is always appreciated by Marines on the FRONT line. Here, fourth graders from Miss Carrie Robert's class pitch in to show support, improve your morale and share some jokes such as why did the elephant paint his toe nails had to be there.

News West
LAUGHLIN — Letter-writing may seem to be as contemporary as videocassette recorders or manual typewriters to some, but to U.S. troops deployed to Iraq, a simple letter could be the one thing to brighten the day.
And that is exactly what Carrie Roberts’ fourth grade class is doing. The young scribes at William G. Bennett Elementary School are writing to U.S. Marines deployed to the Persian Gulf region.
One of the Marines fortunate enough to be sent a greeting from home is Lance Cpl. Andrew James Witzel, 19, of Bullhead City; a Marine with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion attached to the 1st Marine Division.
His father, Bill Witzel, visited Roberts’ class Oct. 19, armed with a slide show and anecdotes from his son and fellow Marines.
Bill explained to the class what U.S. Marines do and the sort of training they undergo, living conditions and what is most often requested during the 20 minute satellite phone calls Andrew makes home.
Although Bill said Andrew cannot discuss the operations and missions he is involved in, he has described Iraq’s environment, saying the physical geography is similar to that of the Tri-state area, minus the mountains.
Bill said one of the most frequent requests he receives from his son are unscented baby wipes, toilet paper and cigarettes. Bill said the troops will often use these “valuable” items to trade amongst each other.
Bill said he just sent Andrew a large box of the needed goods.
The proud Marine’s father also fielded questions from the fourth graders, questions ranging from diet to haircut regulations to why Andrew joined the Marine Corps.
“(Andrew) absolutely worshiped his grandfather (Max M. Witzel) ... a World War II (Marine) dive-bomber in the Pacific,” Bill said.
Roberts said her 26 students wrote their first letters about four weeks ago and described the letters as entertaining stories about the students’ lives.
“For a moment in time, (the Marines) can laugh and smile,” Roberts said. “(The class) feels the power in what they are doing.”
The students wrote about friendships, asked questions and told knock-knock jokes, Roberts said. The students will begin composing their second set of letters soon.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Required reading in Fallujah

Excerpts from a CS Monitor article on how Marines are preparing for combat in Fallujah:

"On Captain Gill Juarez's desk in a Spartan makeshift operations center, is a worn book called "Russia's Chechnya Wars 1994-2000: Lessons from Urban Combat." The light armor commander has asked all his officers to read it, to understand how Russia's superior firepower - brought to bear destroying the Chechen capital, Grozny - did not bring victory.

"It's no secret for mechanized units: you're vulnerable [in urban warfare]," says Juarez. "You have to have dismounted security. I tell my scouts [marines on the ground] that they need to have eyeballs 'one feature over.' They need to know what's going on the other side of the wall or the berm."

A further challenge in Fallujah, US commanders say, is the apparent ease and speed with which insurgents have adapted their tactics. And this offensive will be no surprise to Fallujah - the showdown has been telegraphed for weeks; more than 80 percent of the population of about 300,000 are believed to have left the city to avoid the invasion.

"They've had a lot more time to prepare," says Lt. Col. Michael Ramos of Dallas, a battalion commander. If past operations are any measure, the marines are likely to face an array of roadside bombs, booby traps, and other surprises.

Every vehicle in the city will be considered a potential car bomb; every person who remains, a potential insurgent. Guerrillas spread their expertise on the Internet and word of mouth throughout their strongholds. "The use of technology is really changing the face of warfare," says Colonel Ramos. "The speed with which you can spread an idea is so fast. The loop between action and innovation is getting smaller and smaller."

Despite those changes, the battle for built-up Fallujah is expected to be an infantry fight. And some insurgents still fight the old way, even against tanks.

"We've seen the enemy come running at our tanks with small arms fire," says Capt. Robert Bodisch, an M1A1 tank company commander, who adds that his units "every day reduce the insurgent population of Fallujah."

"I think they honestly believe they can damage us," says Captain Bodisch. "But then they are not around long enough to go back and tell their buddies." Still, the tanks are "not really designed to fight in an urban environment," the captain says. "We've had to change our tactics."

The dry runs with combat units this week are yielding lessons, and ironing out issues before they turn into battlefield problems. "Good job on concealment - you guys were up a little bit too long," says Cpl. Steven Komin of Mundeleine, Ill., standing on a crushed concrete platform to address the fire teams after the combat drill. "You've got to move quickly - sometimes you won't have cover at all; just work with what you have."

"We're looking forward to this," says Lance Cpl. Geoffrey Bivens of Katy, Texas, one of the marines doing the mock urban combat training. "Now [insurgents] are really scared to come close to us. They know it's suicide."

"They're just spraying and praying," says Lance Cpl. Lance Fischer, of Bradenton, Fla., dismissing insurgent rifle fire. "They're not trained marksmen, like we are."

That sparked a warning from Corporal Bivens: "Yeah, but they're spraying and praying at chest height."

Marines prep for a shifting enemy |

Well Done!

Congraduations! You did it! Not only does POSTUS score a remarkable victory in gaining the lead in electrol college votes he also has the majority in popular votes not seen since 1984 with the election of Reagan.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Monday, November 01, 2004

LAR: Most lethal, versatile force on the battlefield

Article in the U.S. Army Journal on how LAV's will fit into future transformation of the military as so ordered by POTUS:
"The Marine Corps made extensive and successful use of their Light Armored Reconnaissance units equipped primarily with the wheeled LAV-25 (Light Armored Vehicle) which carried a 25mm cannon to protect convoys, fight irregulars and patrol their sector of Iraq. The 1st Marine Division's after-action report concluded that with some important upgrades, such as a heavy gun/mortar capability, these units 'can be the most lethal, versatile forces on the battlefield.'"
The U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection:

"OJT" On Job Training: Painful Lessons

NPR's Anne Garrels had this report today on the Kamikaze Al QaQa who blew himself up against a Marine convoy truck carrying several Marines. This reports points out the speed at which you have to go through your loops:OODA

GARRELS reporting:
Marines are preparing for the offensive, wondering only when it will happen, not if. In addition to the daily bombing attacks on Fallujah, troops on the ground run regular reconnaissance missions probing the enemy to draw him out learn more about his tactics and keep him off guard. Over the weekend, Marines were returning from several days in the field when the company commander, Captain Gerald Garcia saw cars suddenly come out from behind a wall of some kind. Captain GERALD GARCIA (US Marines Company Commander): I looked into his face as I drove by. I looked at him, he looked at me, gave me a look I'll never forget and looked down into his steering wheel and then I--you know, everything came together--white suburban, multiple bullet holes through the windshield, you know, the only vehicle sitting around anywhere. GARRELS: As 35-year-old Garcia radioed to warn the rest of his convoy--a matter of seconds--the suicide bomber rammed into a seven-ton truck carrying several Marines. Cap. GARCIA: There was people jumping off of other trucks and jumping onto that truck as it was on fire and as it was melting. You know, with no regard for their own body and their own safety and pulling off Marines that were burning alive. We were carrying our ammunition and pyro so grenades were going off, rounds were cooking off. Marines didn't care, they just jumped up there. Our Marines, they're incredible. GARRELS: The Marines continued to come under attack in what was clearly a well-planned assault. Help arrived but eight Marines were dead, nine injured, three of them severely. These Marines have only been in Iraq for a couple of weeks. They were sent in specially to reinforce units for the anticipated assault, which will target insurgents' stronghold throughout Al Anbar province. Colonel MICHAEL RAMOS (US Marines, Battalion Commander): You have to learn fast in this environment. Marines are great at learning fast and adapting to the enemy. Techniques, tactics and procedures, that's what we're doing and we're going to be ready. GARRELS: Battalion Commander Colonel Michael Ramos says they've learned some painful lessons in the short period they've been here. Col. RAMOS: The enemy is willing to sacrifice lives. They're willing to martyr themselves for what they believe to be an important cause. The enemy studies the movements of our forces. They improvise as well. They are crafty and cunning. GARRELS: While the Marines are trying to keep the insurgents on edge, the insurgents are doing the same thing. As the new battalion of Marines was settling into its base of operations, the insurgents had a welcome present for them. Sergeant Major Michael Burgh(ph) says a rocket landed in their midst, wounding 10. Sergeant Major MICHAEL BURGH (US Marines): They'll kind of aim it in the general direction, shoot it off and they get out of there because they know our counter-battery fire, it's going to pinpoint right where they're at. So they'll get one or two rockets off and they hope they hit something. So, yeah, it's luck of the draw what they hit. They were real lucky that day. GARRELS: Most of the Marines who fought in Fallujah in April, before the Pentagon ordered them to cease fire, have rotated out. So for many, this will be their first big battle in Iraq. And for many, it will be their first real combat ever. They will be entering a city, which officers say is held by several thousand insurgents who've honed their skills since their last major encounter with the Marines in the spring. Captain Gerald Garcia says the commander of his regimental combat team believes this will be something entirely new for everyone. Cap. GARCIA: He told us, `If any of you were here before, forget what you know and what you thought you knew about what's happening here.' It's absolutely a different atmosphere. I don't think anybody has the upper hand on it.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Adventures of Chester

Interesting analysis on the order of battle in Fallujah by a former Marine officer now blogging from Texas as a civilian. "The upcoming offensive is getting more and more press, more and more frequently. My initial focus was on Fallujah, but now on second thought I think it a certainty that Ramadi is going to be hit too. Look for 5th Marines to hit Ramadi, 1st Marines to assault Fallujah, and 7th Marines to continue guarding the Syrian border in the West, and possibly act as an operational reserve. They've probably shifted a good bit of the armor that is normally a part of 7th Marines (like 1st Tank Battalion) over to either 1st or 5th. Bet on it."

The Adventures of Chester

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Questing Cat:Armored Vest Protection

From the blog "the questing cat" written from Iraq and what happens when you do wear your armored vest: "What happened to him puts into perspective something I've been seeing all along. That fucking vest we wear has proved it's fucking worth. The damn thing adds like 10 degrees to every hot day, the plates limit your range of motion and add like 20 fucking pounds to your regular load. Those things are horrid, and they are killing my back, giving me pains I never had before. All sorts of soreness in our lower backs. If you watch the movie Black Hawk Down, you see a Ranger pull the plate out of his back saying he didn't want the extra weight. All I can say is that I am keeping mine in.

The Questing Cat

Saturday, October 23, 2004

1st Lt. Patrick Murray LAR Votes Absentee Ballot From somewhere near the Syrian Border

This election year, your attempt to vote may not be as difficult as LAR Lt Patrick Murray's efforts to cast his ballot from Iraq but your vote will be just as important. The fight against the forces of evil starts at home, right here in river city, by exercising your right to vote for the next POTUS. | Absentee ballots get boost

Friday, October 22, 2004

War Wounds: Wear Your Goggles

Body armor and helmets are doing a great job keeping injuries away from the your head and chest areas. Vulnerable faces and eyes, however, remain a problem and a source of serious injuries from IED explosive blasts. Wearing goggles can protect your eyes from the explosive blast as a recent IED incident involving two soldiers indicates. The soldier wearing his goggles suffered minor cuts from shrapnel while the other soldier who had not placed his goggles over his eyes lost both eyes form the pressure of the blast. Until we invent a darth vader type helmet with a.c. to keep your eyes safe: wear goggles.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Doug Steffy, Charlie Company 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Spokesman

As Buckeroo Banzai says:"No matter where you go-there you are." Doug Steffy returned from the wars to find himself fielding questions during a panel discussion attended by some 300 people. The questions varied from Osama bin Laden to the teachings of Jesus Christ. The information, the knowledge you gained from liberating Iraq becomes invaluable when shared with the populace fed from biased streams of information provided by the media.
Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers share their war-time experiences :: The Daily Herald, Provo Utah

Saturday, October 16, 2004

2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Apache Company

The support for LAR Marines continues unabated. This group is sending parcels to their Marines on the front lines of Fallujah. I think package-delievery groups are a great idea. Keeps the civilians in touch with their Marines and the Marines on the receiving end don't feel like they are so far out on the limb. I don't recall any package clubs during Nam. There might have been but I never ran into one. First parcel I ever got in 'Nam was from a lady who served in the WAC's during WW II. I met her once for about five minutes when I was still in high school and later when she heard I was in Nam she managed to get my address somehow and sent me a small package filled with halizone tablets, cigarettes, dried fruits, gum, candy and all kinds of little things. What I still remember is how she managed to pack so much into a 7x4x3 box that it was like working a chinese puzzle to get the goodies out. When I wrote back to thank her I had to ask how she knew how to pack she replied that during WW II she got a lot of practice sending parcels to her Marines on the islands of the South Pacific.

Buffalo News - A mother's care leads to packages for troops: "

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Find the needle in the haystack: In the Dark!

Life is hard and then you go to Iraq and your keen sense of something is not right helps you find an IED detonator hidden inside the carcass of of blown fuel tanker. Join Alpha one two on a night patrol to kick butt and take names that turns into an awesome, but successful encounter with a huge roadside bomb.
Outside Baghdad, a close encounter with a roadside bomb | "'That's the Holy Ghost for you,' said 2nd Lt. Mark Nicholson, the platoon commander, as he ordered traffic halted in both directions and razor-wire barriers set up. These marines, who have almost daily experience with the IEDs - either blowing up or being discovered - grumbled that their plans to draw out an attack were now off."

Lights OUT!!

According to the Warfighting manual your reading is just as important as your physical training. The recent news story on LCpl Ludin actions during a night ambush is an example of how your reading citation news for valuable intell on can improve your training. LCpl. Ludin was with a "convoy of Marines headed into Al Burhadan to meet with the Iraqi Border Police to conduct a joint patrol under the cover of night. Just before midnight, the Marines entered the city and the terrorist insurgents began their assault."... the vehicle the Marines used for cover was continuously shot with small arms fire. To make matters worse, the disabled vehicle's headlights were illuminating the Marines' position, making it easier for the enemy to pinpoint their fire. " Under heavy fire, LCpl. Ludin ran back to the disabled LAV and shut off the lights. "Once the lights were out, almost all of the fire died down," said Ludin, who somehow managed to return fire with his M-16A2 service rifle the entire time."
"As the enemy fire decreased, the final LAV maneuvered to flank the enemy. Cpl. Daniel P. Kunkel, the vehicle's gunner, obtained the enemy in the sights of his 25mm chain gun and was given the order to fire." The ambush was broken.
You have read the story now use this hard won combat experience into your training on how to react during an ambush. Practice LIghts OUT! Drivers and riders. Lights out!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

First LAR: LCpl. Michael J. Ludin Leatherneck magazine full write up

LCpl. Ludin actions took place April 8th and was awarded the Bronze Star in September 2004 for his actions during a roadside ambush from irrigation concrete ditch running along side the road. The terrorist followed the script: disable the lead vehicle but set off the mine on the second vehicle instead of the tail end charlie who turned and outflanked the terrorists with chain gun fire. In between is all that Ludin had to do to keep his mates alive and the Abu Qaqa's heads down. Read on.

Marine Corps News> LAR Marine earns Bronze Star for his bravery

Saturday, October 02, 2004

First LAR: LCpl. Michael J. Ludin gets the Bronze Star with Combat V for valor

:Here is a photo od LCpl. Ludin getting the Bronze Star w/Combat V which if I could figure out how this e. d. thing work would be here......on top of this caption instead just click the headline for the pix. thanks.
"Major General Richard F. Natonski, Commanding General 1st Marine Division, shakes the hand of Lance Corporal Michael J. Ludin, Weapons Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, after presenting him the Bronze Star with Combat 'V' (for valor) during an awards ceremony at Camp Ripper. 1st Marine Division, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II, is engaged in Security and Stabilization Operations in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. (Official USMC photo by: SSgt. Jonathan C. Knauth) 040921-M-5191K-011 (Released)

Friday, October 01, 2004

Who You Are

Profiles of the young heroes -- The Washington Times: "Click to learn more...
The Washington Times
Profiles of the young heroes
By Austin Bay
Published October 1, 2004
A new greatest generation is emerging -- in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in the other, less-publicized battlegrounds of the War on Terror.
Focused on the U.S. political cycle, America's press elites are missing the extraordinary story of the 19- to 35-year-olds who are winning this war. The detailed history of this new cohort of American and Free World leaders -- the people who will shape the 21st century -- is being written by themselves, chiefly on the Internet, via e-mail or Web logs.
This is a battle-honed bunch with exceptional talent and motivation, young people with a mature balance of idealism and realism, youthful cool and professional competence. I saw this cool and competence on every patrol and convoy I made this past summer in Iraq. I had the privilege of working with these 'kids,' inevitably chastising myself for referring to such able young adults as kids. Their comeback was always 'It's OK, sir. We know colonels are old.'
Sam, a U.S. Army private first class from Milwaukee, is an example of young soldiers who are both 'boots and geeks' -- troops who can handle digital technology and rifles. The non-classified laptop is on the blink? Sam taps out a half-dozen commands, and the machine functions smoothly. Need to run the 8 kilometers of iffy freeway between Baghdad International Airport and downtown? Sam pulls up in an SUV, his M-16 propped so he can drive and shoot. Sam goes through the pretrip procedures calmly, carefully. If we 'meet trouble' and can't drive through the ambush -- and Sam is very good at high-speed swerves, I'm talking NASCAR level -- he'll take the best firing position available and try to suppress the attackers. Cool? He does this every day.
I know Sam has several gripes with 'the system' -- every real soldier earns the right to gripe. But in four months, I never saw a gripe deter this young man from doing his job right.
Then there's James. He's a captain in the Australian Army (note, I said 'Free World leaders'). He's 27, with a law degree but, more important, on-the-ground experience. He has a special talent for seeing the 'big picture' -- strategic assessment. The analytic group he organized met nightly in Al Faw Palace to discuss the day's events, particularly economic and political issues affecting Iraqi governance.
James' 'Chess Club' consisted of lieutenants, captains, majors and a handful of young enlisted troops, with a couple of old fogies allowed to kibitz. From the discussion, James would produce four or five concise PowerPoint slides. He usually finished his chore around 2 a.m., when he e-mailed the slides worldwide. By 9 a.m. the next morning, there's James, back in the office, with a huge cup of coffee, starting the process again.
James' 'product' actually attracted a large readership. One day we got a complaint (from headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Europe) that 'the interesting slides SACEUR likes to see' hadn't arrived in e-mail.
Australia, James said one morning, was America's most reliable 20th century military ally, and those shared values extend into the 21st century. 'This fight is about freedom, sir,' James said. 'Though it is an extremely complex fight, with economic development and governance lines of operation pursued simultaneously with the security [warfighting] operation.'
'Yes,' I said. 'And it's going to be men and women like you, James, who will fight it for at least the next decade.'
He replied with a sober nod.
As a senior officer told me the day before I left Baghdad: 'You've gotten to see what I see, Austin. These young people are so smart.'
'Where do they come from?' I asked him. 'I don't know. Many were in the service before September 11. But a lot of the young enlisted people have come in since then.'
'Maybe it's the pressure, circumstances,' I said. 'You know, terrible challenges, the old saw of rising to the occasion?'
We both looked at each other. No doubt that is the case -- but the challenges these young people meet day in and day out are so dangerous and daunting.

Austin Bay is a nationally syndicated columnist.

Copyright � 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Return to the article

Fighting in the Two Front War: In Iraq and HERE

The "insurgency" is doomed to failure, AMIR TAHERI writes so what's the beef? The problem is the well meaning left liberal voters whose passion is an unrelenting hatred of Bush.

*So the "insurgency" in Iraq is going nowhere fast. It will be as roundly defeated as were its predecessors in so many other countries. The danger for Iraq's future lies elsewhere.

It comes, in part, from Americans who want Iraq to fail because they want President Bush to fail. Some 81 books paint the president as the devil incarnate; Bush-bashing is also the theme of three "documentaries" plus half a dozen Hollywood feature films. Never before in any mature democracy has a political leader aroused so much hatred from his domestic opponents.

Others want Iraq to fail because they want America to fail, with or without Bush. The bitter tone of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan when he declared the liberation of Iraq "illegal" shows that it is not the future of Iraq but the vilification of the United States that interests him.

Add to this the recent bizarre phrase from French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The head of the Figaro press group went to see him about the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq; Raffarin assured him they would soon be freed, reportedly saying, "The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies."

In plain language, this means that, in the struggle in Iraq, Raffarin does not see France on the side of its NATO allies — the U.S., Britain, Italy and Denmark among others — but on the side of the "insurgents."

Those who want Iraq to fail because they hate Bush and/or America as a whole (for reasons that have nothing to do with Iraq) know that "the insurgents" can't get anywhere. Nor would the Bush- or America-bashers really want Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi to become ruler of Iraq". New York Post Online Edition: postopinion

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Know Thine Enemy

Michael Ledeen on the true reason behind the marketing and distribution of the beheading films: they are recruitment tools.
"A movement that draws its foot soldiers from people who dream of beheading one of us is clearly a barbarous phenomenon, one that puts the lie to the notion that our enemies in this terror war are human beings driven to desperation by misery and injustice. Not at all: The recruiting films are aimed at subhuman homicidal maniacs who revel in bloody brutality".Michael Ledeen on the War on Terror on National Review Online

Monday, September 27, 2004

Belmont Club

summarizes the real task before America in the coming years. It is not to find "an exit strategy from Iraq", as if there were somewhere on the planet it could hide from terrorism; nor is it simply to find Osama Bin Laden as some, ever anxious to reduce the current conflict to a law enforcement problem, would claim as a goal. It's task is to hold back the dark until a new global civilization can find its footing.

The American military now has the most thankless task of any military in the history of warfare: to provide the security armature for an emerging global civilization that, the more it matures -- with its own mass media and governing structures -- the less credit and sympathy it will grant to the very troops who have risked and, indeed, given their lives for it.

And the dark is everywhere; in the vast, decayed structure of the Third World where the shambolic post-colonial architecture has rotted away, leaving areas of chaos the size of continents.

Indian Country has been expanding in recent years because of the security vacuum created by the collapse of traditional dictatorships and the emergence of new democracies -- whose short-term institutional weaknesses provide whole new oxygen systems for terrorists. Iraq is but a microcosm of the earth in this regard. To wit, the upsurge of terrorism in the vast archipelago of Indonesia, the southern Philippines and parts of Malaysia is a direct result of the anarchy unleashed by the passing of military regimes. Likewise, though many do not realize it, a more liberalized Middle East will initially see greater rather than lesser opportunities for terrorists. As the British diplomatist Harold Nicolson understood, public opinion is not necessarily enlightened merely because it has been suppressed.

Kaplan, who is writing a series of books on the US military experience in different parts of the world, realized that Iraq was only a part, and not even the best part, of the global war on terror. In Mauretania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Columbia, Afghanistan and the Philippines, Kaplan found small bands of men who were remolding blank spaces on the map in ways unknown since the 18th century. What they valued most of all were not "more boots on the ground" but freedom of action. The freedom above all, to do the commonsense thing. "Who needs meetings in Washington," one Army major told me. "Guys in the field will figure out what to do." Who needed meetings in Washington it turned out, were the vast retinue of camp followers, reporters and sutlers, who followed a great army to battle. Kaplan writes:

In months of travels with the American military, I have learned that the smaller the American footprint and the less notice it draws from the international media, the more effective is the operation. One good soldier-diplomat in a place like Mongolia can accomplish miracles. A few hundred Green Berets in Colombia and the Philippines can be adequate force multipliers. Ten thousand troops, as in Afghanistan, can tread water. And 130,000, as in Iraq, constitutes a mess that nobody wants to repeat -- regardless of one's position on the war.

What of that extreme pole on the cursed end of Kaplan's Law: Iraq? Writing in the Weekly Standard, Lt. Col. Powl Smith, the former chief of counterterrorism plans at U.S. European Command and currently in Baghdad sees that campaign not as a screen before the advancing vanguard of global civilization but as a battlefield where the main force of the enemy has been brought to battle. Powl compares Iraq to Guadalcanal, which depending on one's point of view is either exceedingly ominous or optimistic.

In one of our first counteroffensives against the Japanese, U.S. troops landed on the island of Guadalcanal in order to capture a key airfield. We surprised the Japanese with our speed and audacity, and with very little fighting seized the airfield. But the Japanese recovered from our initial success, and began a long, brutal campaign to force us off Guadalcanal and recapture it. The Japanese were very clever and absolutely committed to sacrificing everything for their beliefs. (Only three Japanese surrendered after six months of combat--a statistic that should put today's Islamic radicals to shame.) The United States suffered 6,000 casualties during the six-month Guadalcanal campaign; Japan, 24,000. It was a very expensive airfield.

While Midway is enshrined in popular glory, it was really Guadalcanal that represented the graveyard of Japanese forces, the Island of Death upon which Japanese naval and military reinforcements were dashed heedless and seriatim, until there were no more left to send. But no one knew it at the time; and when US forces embarked on a final sweep of the island they discovered to their surprise that the remainder had been totally evacuated by Japanese forces. The most popular account at the time, Richard Tregaskis' nearly-forgotten Guadalcanal Diary is useless as a work of history, written too close to the events and burdened by the misconceptions of the time, though it faithfully preserves the atmosphere of the early 1940s. Officers rarely use historical comparisons without intending some point and Powl leaves us in no doubt that he means Iraq to be the graveyard of the global Jihad.

It is possible that both Kaplan and Powl are right, as were the Blind Men of India in their differing descriptions of the elephant. We are truly in the midst of a world war as far flung and various as any in history: one so large as to defy description even by so talented a writer as Robert Kaplan . No one suspected what lay beyond the door constituted by September 11. Not even the enemy.

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
-- Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach
Belmont Club

Texas Talk to Dan Rather

We know Modem aint what we used to do to weeds when they got hip high" and other goodies for Danny Boy in this funny as heck article in Texas Speak for Rather.
Well, Danny, you still ain’t lost all your redneck habits; you boys took one pickup load to the dump an’ come back with two. Dadgummit, Dan, where you gittin’ all this stuff? You been callin’ some kinda mystery numbers that ol’ boy, whatsisname, Kenneth, is bringin’ you offa bathroom walls at truck stops? Somethin’ you oughta be worryin’ about, Danny Boy: you know how the boys say when you go on a hunt always make sure to save a round for your huntin’ guide? Like if he don’t find nuthin’ else for you to shoot? "You suppose any a them rich, fancy-shmancy, New York dudes you work for ever been on a hunt and heard that, Dan, hmmm?"
Read the rest if you can stop laughing.
Road Less Graveled - A Down Home Message for Dan" by Russ�Vaughn

Friday, September 17, 2004

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Who Loves You: First LAR

Citizens of Poway, California showed their appreciation for members of the First Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion with a parade and all the trimmings. Read on.North County Times - North San Diego and Southwest Riverside County News

Monday, September 06, 2004

Alpha 2nd LAR Departs for Iraq Tour

Friends and Family of A Company Two LAR said goodby to their own yesterday
as they left for 8 months duty in Iraq. The recent moves have given rise to rumors that other companies will soon follow. But stand easy. They are just rumors.
The Daily News, Jacksonville NC

Saturday, September 04, 2004

2nd LAR 1st Lt Ben Davis Meets with 6th Graders

First Lt. Davis took time out from a busy homecoming to meet with his mom's class of sixth graders to discuss Iraq and our progress towards peace. Davis was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for valor and the Combat Action Ribbon for his role at the battle of Al Jahar on March 24, 2003, where he served as the artillery liaison officer for the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. Read More...

.: Corvallis Gazette-Times :. News

Monday, August 30, 2004

Najaf Close Calls

Close call standards in combat change, as this article by Alex Berenson confirms, mortar shells hitting fifty feet away don't matter as well as bullets that whiz overhead instead of hitting your armor EXCEPT for one item: Never, never underestimate your enemy. In the most brazen attack, a guerrilla jumped onto a U.S. tank in the cemetery two weeks ago and killed two soldiers before fleeing."
"You have to be careful about underestimating your enemy," said Lt. Col. Myles Miyamasu, commander of the battalion. "Their tenacity, though not equal to our own, probably surprised us a little."

"Besides the deaths and injuries, many more men have stories of close calls, mortar shells that failed to explode or bullets that smashed into body armor instead of skin and bone. On the front lines, soldiers no longer blink at mortars that explode 50 feet from their armored vehicles or rocket-propelled grenades trailing sparks by their heads, instead methodically trying to figure out the location of the guerrillas in order to destroy them."

"A close call would be getting hit in your Kevlar," the chest and back armor that every soldier wears, Siapco said. "A bullet whizzing by, that doesn't count. You don't have to worry about that."

U.S. forces advanced daily so that by Thursday the rebels had no ground left to give. Early that morning, U.S. tanks reached the gates of the shrine and fought in its shadow. On a bombed-out street illuminated only by the stars and the glow from the lights attached to the mosque's walls and minarets, the tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles turned their turrets left and right, searching for targets.

Guerrillas fired rocket-propelled grenades from buildings nearby, but even direct hits did not seriously damage the U.S. armor. The Bradleys returned fire, pouring bursts of 25-millimeter high-explosive shells, essentially miniature grenades, into the buildings. The shells glowed red, setting fires that burned orange in the night. With the shrine's golden dome as a backdrop, the street had a surreal beauty, and soldiers said they were astonished to be fighting so close to one of the holiest sites in Islam.

But the Mahdi Army did not stop fighting. Snipers took aim at Maj. Doug Ollivant, a U.S. commander directing the battle from about 100 yards away, and a hidden mortar position rained shells around Ollivant's armored Humvee. The mortar was so close to the Americans that soldiers could hear shells being fired 30 seconds before they landed, because they essentially were traveling straight up and down.

"It's going to kill you, you know," Ollivant said, as one soldier lighted a cigarette not long after a mortar crashed nearby.

By Friday afternoon, with a cease-fire in place, the scene in the Old City was very different. Men walked through the streets, surveying damage and walking past U.S. troops who would soon be pulled back.

"You never know if some of these guys were the guys fighting us," one soldier said to another, watching the men walk by.

"I guarantee you some were," the second responded.

But 1st Sgt. Justin Lehew of the Marines, whose men killed the fighters whose bodies the medics were gathering Friday, said his soldiers were not unhappy that the fight had ended without a climactic battle.

"They just want to go home," Lehew said. "Like everybody else."

Najaf: An uneasy calm, a terrible toll