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.
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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