Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Death of A Marine

Lance Corporal Jordan L. Chrobot, 24, of Frederick, Md., died Sept. 26 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Guard Force Platoon

Gunny Rivera eyes are on his Marines reactions to incoming Taliban mortar fire on FOB Geronimo. Photo Staff Sgt. William Greeson
Gunnery Sgt. Michael A. Rivera, Guard Force Platoon, One Five, Helmand province.
USMC photo Sgt. Freddy G. Cantu

Crane Operator

Cpl. Christopher Walker operates a crane to simulate a helicopter raising an M777A2 lightweight howitzer at Fire Base Fiddler's Green in Helmand province.
Photo Sgt. Christopher R. Rye

Waiting at Fiddler's Green

Cpl. Ryan Bernal 09/16/09 Helmand Province canal

Lance Cpl. Joshua Mouradian, left, and Cpl. Ryan Bernal, under the poncho liner, wait for a flight out at Fire Base Fiddler's Green in Helmand province, Sept. 28, 2009.

On Your Six, America

Sgt. Matthew Holzmann, front, and Cpl. Ruben Mendez, One Five, on squad patrol in Helmand Province. photo Lance Cpl. Jeremy Harris

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

46% More WAR PIGS!

Lance Cpl. Jenna Lassandrello
Approximately one year ago, a massive realignment of organization took place in an effort to increase productivity. After evaluating the way things were working, the Maintenance Center implemented some changes to streamline production.

As a result of the changes the light armored vehicle shop, Cost Work Center 713, at MCB has reduced the LAV repair cycle time significantly since this same time last year, said Chief Warrant Officer Scott Stevens, an LAV project manager at MCB.

“All of the LAVs slated to be completed in May were already completed in April,” said Stevens.

Some of the successful business management tools that were incorporated during the realignment and are primarily responsible for the increase in the smoothness of the operations are the new Production Management Department and the implementation of “Lean Thinking” and the Theory of Constraints.

The Production Management Department at MCB is responsible for the planning phase of the process.

Production Management teams plan each individual project from start to finish, including personally monitoring the cost schedule and performance of each product, said Stevens.

They are also responsible for formally briefing the customer on the entire program status, tracking costs and configuration management, said Stevens.

Next is the implementation of “lean thinking” around MCB.

The basis of lean thinking is getting rid of what isn’t needed, making sure what is needed is in the right place, eliminating time wasting processes and making the workplace look professional by keeping it orderly, clean and safe, Stevens said.

While reevaluating the job of repairing the LAV, the procedures that were not working as well as they could were thrown out and improved processes replaced the old.

The feature of “lean thinking” is the six S’s. The S’s stand for sort, straighten, scrub, standardize, safety and self-discipline.

These letters help the employees remember the principles the organization is designed around.

The Theory of Constraints is the organization and tracking of every step in each individual project.

The TOC process involves monitoring each step in the critical chain of events necessary to produce a product.

It helps to identify where the production rate is lagging and limiting the production, explained Stevens.

“If we can improve the (production) rate … the entire chain operates at a higher ‘throughput’ rate,” said Stevens.

From start to finish, the break down, repair and rebuild of the LAV has 67 steps, said Stevens.

“With the TOC each step is identified, along with the time each step should take.

If anything goes wrong, such as not having the correct parts for repair, the project will be delayed.

As soon as these issues are identified, the supervisors of the project will know through the tracking of the TOC, and can give proper attention to the situation and get it back on track,” said Stevens.

But with all the new improvements over the last year, getting behind is no longer a concern for the LAV workers.

The 67 steps it takes to repair an LAV originally took 130 days.

Since implementing the new improvements it has been reduced to an average of 95 days, said Stevens.

The vast improvements and the new smooth-working processes at MCB are not all due to the new organization, though, said Stevens.

“All of these things are just tools, the people doing the job whole-heartedly is what really makes everything work in the depot.

“They are why we are successful,” said Stevens.

“Speeding up the process is important because the LAV is a critical item. The fleet needs them and the warfighter needs them. The faster we get them out, the more the Fleet Marine Force benefits.

“It is always good to reevaluate the things we are doing and find more effective ways of doing them,” said Stevens.

“And in this situation, we really made quite an improvement.”

Even a Weak Sister POTUS Can Send a MSG

My money is on our weak sister having no balls at the poker table:DEBKAfile

The Pentagon has brought forward to December 2009 the target-date for producing the first 15-ton super bunker-buster bomb (GBU-57A/B) Massive Ordinance Penetrator, which can reach a depth of 60.09 meters underground before exploding. DEBKAfile's military sources report that top defense agencies and air force units were also working against the clock to adapt the bay of a B2a Stealth bomber for carrying and delivering the bomb.

The Pentagon has ordered the number of bombs rolling off the production line increased from four to ten - a rush job triggered in May by the discovery that Iran was hiding a second uranium enrichment plant under a mountain near Qom - a discovery which prompted this week's international outcry.

Congress has since quietly inserted the necessary funding in the 2009 budget.

All this urgency indicates that the Obama administration has been preparing military muscle to back up the international condemnation of Iran's concealed nuclear bomb program, its sanctions threat and his willingness to join the negotiations with Iran opening on Oct. 1 in Geneva. Tehran may have to take into account a possible one-time surgical strike against its underground enrichment facility as a warning shot should its defiance continue. In particular, the world powers this week demanded that Iran open up all its nuclear facilities and programs to full and immediate international inspection. Failure to do so could bring forth further US military action.

Ringo and Lance Cpl. William Childs at Fortress 93

In the past three months, Cpl. Ringo and Lance Cpl. William Childs have found 10 IEDs on the roads used by One Five. Ringo out ranks Childs? As well he should, after all, does he not lead by the nose?cheeky caption by moi--USMC photo Lance Cpl. John McCall the

story by Cpl. John McCall
is totally and completely by McCall.
well, except for the one sentence lead. Which I deleted under the BLOG-law of GetToThePoint Already.

If it wasn’t for Ringo, a lot of our trucks would have hit IEDs,” said Lance Cpl. Leonard Valdez, 21, a radio operator from Santa Ana, Calif. “We have been real lucky having Ringo around.”

Marines with Combined Anti-Armor Team 2, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 3, have been given the task of keeping a road known as “Red Dog” free from IEDs.

One group from CAAT 2 occupies an observation post called “Fortress 93.” It is one of many observation posts that make up the picket line along Red Dog. After vehicle convoys ran into trouble with IEDs being planted earlier this year, CAAT teams were fielded to address the issue.

“The picket line was put in place so we could stop IEDs from being planted on Red Dog,” said Lance Cpl. Dan Guider, 22, an infantry assaultman from Woodbury, Minn. “Since it was set up, there haven’t been any IEDs.”

When the Marines moved into their current positions, Ringo came with them. Along with his handler, Lance Cpl. William Childs, Ringo sniffs out explosive materials that have been placed by enemy insurgents along main roads used by 1/5.

Marines with CAAT 2 provide security for vehicle convoys that resupply 1/5’s forward operating positions, but sweeping for mines and IEDs is a daily occurrence for Ringo and the Marines.

Within the past three months Ringo has sniffed out 10 IEDs. His most recent find, Sept. 20, included five separate IEDs. It was during a re-supply convoy. CAAT 2 Marines were sweeping a road using Ringo and uncovered the first two IEDs.

“After Ringo found the first two in the road, a sweep team was sent out and they found three more,” said Childs, 21, who hails from Santa Cruz, Calif. “If Ringo had missed the first two, we would have just kept going. He saved some lives that day.”

Ringo and Childs have been a team for 10 months now. Childs was originally an assaultman but became a dog handler after completing a five week course.

“They taught us all about how to use them (the dogs) to conduct sweeps,” Childs said. “We learned how to take care of the dogs, do things like treat battle wounds and ways to keep them healthy in this environment.”

1/5’s Weapons Company only has two dogs and dog handlers at different locations, so Ringo and Childs are constantly working. Whenever a patrol goes out from Fortress 93 or a resupply convoy needs a nearby road swept for bombs, Ringo and Childs are there.

He does his best to train Ringo as often as possible but doesn’t want to wear the dog out, Childs explained. Ringo is the only dog for the CAAT teams with 1/5, so both Childs and his dog are on almost every patrol and convoy.

Childs and Ringo continue to maintain their constant work flow, providing 1/5 with a valuable skill that saves lives and defeats the enemy’s attempts to injure Marines.

“I love being a dog handler,” he said. “It is a lot of work but it is all worth it when you know that you’re making a difference.”

Fire Base Fiddlers Green Moving Some Muscle AKA Guns

Marines with Helicopter Support Team, Combat Logistics Battalion 8 wait for the arrival of a helicopter at Fire Base Fiddler's Green in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 28, 2009.

Marines with a helicopter support team from Combat Logistics Battalion 8 attach an M777A2 lightweight howitzer to a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter at Fire Base Fiddler's Green in the Helmand province Sept. 28, 2009. All photos
by Sgt. Christopher R. Rye

DVIDS by Sgt. Christopher R. Rye

Air-Ground team airlifts newest howitzers in historic first
CAMP DWYER, Helmand Province, Afghanistan – In a historic combat first, Marines from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 772, Combat Logistics Battalion 8 and 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment worked together to air lift two M777A2 lightweight howitzers from Fire Base Fiddler's Green in Helmand province and set them up for action at Forward Operating Base Golestan Sept. 28. A third was convoyed here to be carried by CH-53E helicopter the following morning.

"When the Marine Corps decided to procure a lightweight 155mm cannon in the 1990s, it was largely driven by the need to have a more air transportable capability," explained 3/11 commanding officer Lt. Col. James C. Lewis. 3/11, operating under Regimental Combat Team 3, is the only Marine artillery battalion in Afghanistan. "Our maneuver tonight is the first combat test of that capability."

While the Marines were moving the artillery pieces across country, 3/11 still had to maintain their capability to provide support when needed for the Marines around Nawa and Garmsir, where 1/5 and 2/8 have been operating since early July. So 3/11 sent Marines to Golestan to receive and emplace the guns upon their arrival.

"Sending an advanced party down to set up the gun positions while maintaining firing capability was important," said Gunnery Sgt. Marcus Chestnut, Battery I gunnery sergeant.

In order to successfully pull off this complicated maneuver, these units which don't normally operate together had to work hand-in-hand, according to Chestnut. As it turns out, bringing them all together was the key to success.

Rather than towing the howitzers as an artillery battery is trained to do, these guns had to be transported between Fiddler's Green and Golestan by air because of unique conditions here. That's where HMH-772 and CLB-8 came in.

"The IED threat and terrain constraints were a huge factor deterring 3/11's ability from being able to safely [move] the guns to this position," said Staff Sgt. Bryan T. Housel, CLB-8 landing support platoon commander. "By externally lifting the howitzer and gun teams by air, we were able to safely move the weapons into place without the added risk of ground transport to the weapon or Marines."

Marines on the five-man Helicopter Support Team, a part of Housel's platoon, are responsible for rigging loads with cargo straps so they will be balanced under the aircraft. Once the aircraft arrives overhead, one of them must guide the pilot who can't see what is taking place underneath and 30 feet behind him. After the aircraft is guided down over the waiting cargo, another Marine smacks the helicopter's dangling cargo hook with a metal rod to dissipate the static electricity built up by its rotors. Two others then hook up the cargo – in this case a 9,800 pound artillery piece – all while the second largest helicopter in the world bobs and weaves within arm's reach overhead. This process usually takes place in less than 30 seconds.

Sling-loading equipment or supplies under a cargo helicopter is dangerous business. However, after a successful lift, the feeling of accomplishment is impossible to ignore.

"I am so proud of my guys for how flawlessly and professionally they performed," Housel said. "Safely lifting that piece of gear is no easy feat, but you would not have known it by watching them."

Now that 3/11 has another footprint in Golestan, they will be able to provide on-call artillery support when the Marines on the ground there call for it.

"It's a beautiful thing," Lewis said. "The Marine Corps trains as an air-ground team and this is just a product of that coming together."

On Your Six, America

Cpl. Steven Kuberski, India Three Eleven, on patrol Sept 16, 2009 Helmand Province.
Photo Sgt. Christopher R. Rye

The Busy Landing Pad at FOB Geronimo

1st Lt. Joe Hamilton, One Five, directing loading traffic for the CH-53E Super Stallion

One Five Marines load onto a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter at FOB Geronimo, Sept. 16, 2009. Guess what? Figured out why the Marines ordered those truck loads of rocks. For the landing pad. Keeps the dust down when the chopper lands. duh.

Monday, September 28, 2009

On Your Six America-Lt. Colin Duffy

Lt. Colin Duffy with Two Eight, Police Mentoring Team, , provides security during a local security patrol with Afghan National Border Police (ABP) in the Garmsir district of the Helmand province Sept. 10, 2009.Sgt. USMC photo shot by Sgt Pete Thibodeau
Lance Cpl. Brock Wilki, One Five, scans the iris of an Afghan man at an Afghan National Police checkpoint in the Nawa district of the Helmand province Sept. 25, 2009, to register the man into a computer system database. This is the same training Alpha 4th LAR was getting during Mojave Viper here.

RQ-7B Shadow Over the Runway that was built in Two Days

RQ-7B Shadow ____UAS from Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 2, coming for a landing on the newly constructed runway that the Marines of VMU-2 and Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 built in 48 hours. 48 hours as in two days! Where are the photos? Where are the gut busting photos of Marines kicking butt to get this POS runway done in two days? Oh. Next week. Maybe. They'll be up at Defense Imagery. There's a war on.
Cpl. Douglas Caceres, an aviation mechanic with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 2,
Lance Cpl. Gregory Dixon, an aviation mechanic with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 2, conducts post-flight inspections on an RQ-7B Shadow___ Sept. 4, 2009, at expeditionary airfield Boston at Camp Dwyer. USMC Photo
The RQ-7 Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is used by the United States Army and Marine Corps. Launched from a rail, it is recovered with the aid of arresting gear similar to jets on an aircraft carrier. Its gimbal-mounted, digitally-stabilized, liquid nitrogen-cooled electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) camera relays video in real time via a C-band LOS data link to the ground control station (GCS). The "R" is the Department of Defense designation for reconnaissance; "Q" means unmanned aircraft system. The "7" refers to it being the seventh of a series of purpose-built unmanned reconnaissance aircraft systems.

Nothing about helicopter there...humm.
digging deeper I did find one link that said " RQ-7B Shadow helicopter" however, yes area 52, I was refused accessed yada, yada, doesn't count. Digging into the Marine Corps filed stories on the beast I found
Cpl. Christopher O'Quin , Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

In today’s world of high-speed data gathering, satellites can provide up-to-date information to Marines all over the world. When Marines need intelligence and no satellites are available, the Corps has another tool to obtain information from the sky using unmanned aerial vehicles.

A 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing squadron from Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms spent more than a week honing the skills that provide battlefield awareness to the Marines here.

A detachment of Marines from Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1 completed a training evolution which involved working with MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.- A RQ-7B other units in the region, from July 21 through July 29.

The squadron, known as “Watchdog,” supported units such as: 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion; 3rd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment; 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and squadrons from Marine Aircraft Group 39.

Watchdog used UAV’s to coordinate convoy overwatch and locate targets for aircraft. A 70-Marine team of maintainers, avionics technicians, operators and other personnel got the UAV’s airborne twice each day.

“Our UAV’s are very reliable and we hardly have to perform extensive maintenance,” said Sgt. Andrew D. Aittama, an avionics technician with the squadron. “We’ve mainly been cross-training with the maintainers because it’s so new.”

The squadron operates the RQ-7B Shadow 200, to gather intelligence on the battlefield from thousands of feet in the sky.

NOPE . NOTHING ABOUT HELICOPTERS. HERE. EITHER. ANYMOUSE MAY BE ON TO SOMETHING. I'm going to dig thru Global Security before I edit..there are so many variations....still the damn thing is fixed wing....its late. later. thanks for the comment

nothing from GS

9/11 At Camp Dwyer

A replica of the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial is photographed Sept. 11, 2009, at Camp Dwyer in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, where deployed Marines from Regimental Combat Team (RCT) 3 are stationed. RCT-3 is conducting counterinsurgency operations in partnership with Afghan National Security Forces in southern Afghanistan.USMC Photo Capt. Jason E. Zelley

Meet and Greet

Lt. Col. William T. McCollough, commander of One Five, talks to his Marines attached to Operational Military Liaison Team (OMLT) at the unit's command outpost in the Nawa district of Helmand province Sept 16,2009.USMC photo


One Five Marines load cables for helicopter suspension drops Sept. 11, 2009, at FOB Geronimo
Photos Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Obama Basic Concept of International Affairs: Pollyanna, Yes; Machiavelli, No

By Barry Rubin
The Gloria Center

The most important paragraph of President Barack Obama’s speech announces a repeal of all prior guidelines and principles for U.S. foreign policy and a rejection of the basic rules of diplomacy as they have been practiced for centuries. It reveals the fundamental philosophical outlook of the president of the United States.

Of everything Obama has ever said, these 82 words for me are the scariest. One has to go back to first principles to explain to the U.S. government (and to many in Europe) how the real world works.

This should be the lead to all coverage of the speech. First, let’s present the paragraph in question:

“In an era when our destiny is shared, power is no longer a zero-sum game. No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation. No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold. The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War.”

Let’s examine this paragraph:

It is true that all the people in the world face certain common problems like disease, poverty, environmental problems, the need to provide sufficient housing and jobs, crime, and the list goes on.

But this is not some twenty-first century revelation. It has always been true, even going back to the time of the Pharaohs and the Sumerians.

Philosophers and the creators of some—but not all—religions have argued that as a result all people should be kind to each other, help each other, work together, etc. Nation should not lift up sword against nation, neither should they war any more.

Yeah, but they still do.

Here’s where politics and international relations come in. Resources, development, wealth, and strength are not evenly spread. There are always people who have argued that power is a zero-sum game. I can take from you more easily than I can work and equal your success.

And if I believe that the only reason you “have” is that you stole from me, then power will certainly be a zero-sum game. This is why, for example, the Arab-Israeli conflict doesn’t come to an end. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin makes clear that he thinks his country's rightful sphere of influence has been stolen by the United States. The rulers of Bolivia, Cuba, and Venezuela say that the United States has stolen their country's wealth.

A second element that makes power a zero-sum game is the fact that different people have conflicting ideas. If there’s a group—say radical Islamists—who believe they are following the instructions of the deity and must put their worldview into rule than power for them is a zero-sum game. Either a country is ruled by Islamic law or it isn't.

Any leader who doesn’t realize that power is at least in large part a zero-sum game is like a man who drives his luxury car into the toughest part of town and with a visible flourish leaves it unlocked.

Indeed, Obama's speech was made at the UN, an institution that’s living proof that these ideas don’t work. It is corrupt and increasingly ruled by radicals who attack democracy and trash truth. The high founding ideals for which the UN was founded have been trampled by the very realities that Obama says don’t—or no longer—exist.

No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation, says the president. Well there are a lot of nations who don’t think that way. So what are you going to do about it? Utopian visions can work only if almost everyone believes them. Or they're nice if you don’t take them too seriously. If a nation acts otherwise you have two choices: stand by and do nothing or defeat them in some way that makes them stop trying to do so.

Note, however, that Obama doesn’t say this is the way the world should be—which is understandable as an idealistic goal—he says that this is the way the world actually is—which is a prescription for disaster.

No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed, says the president. Well, if he means that you shouldn’t try to dominate others that is one thing, but if he means that you shouldn’t try to exercise power which at times forces others to do your will than you are acting in a way that ensures that a group of people is elevated. The only thing you are accomplishing, however, is to make it certain that the group on top won’t include yourself.

And there is another implication here: a renunciation of American leadership in the world, the denial that the United States has a special role to play, has values or ideas or institutions that should be spread to countries that don’t possess them. If everyone is equal, there are no leaders.
But if you don’t lead, how do you achieve your goals: goals that others don’t necessarily share, despite Obama’s apparent failure to realize this. How do you enforce stopping others from dominating, taking, and conquering?

Now there is a positive side to this position. Obama says: you cannot expect the United States to solve all your problems and you cannot blame the United States for the failure to solve them. If this were coupled with a reasonable leadership stance this would make sense and Obama's credibility in this direction would help a bit.

Still, if countries don't believe the United States can do enough to help them they will seek friends elsewhere or appease America's enemies. And of course no matter what Obama does or says lots of groups, peoples, and countries will blame America for problems. Why? Because it is in their interests and many view the United States as an enemy.

He adds: No balance of power among nations will hold. This is absurd. What does it mean? That you cannot have a coalition of forces—say the West and its allies—that can stop another group from doing whatever it wants? Where is the alternative? That you must either reconcile your enemies or give them what they demand?

Of course, a balance of power can hold. And let’s remember the purpose of balances of power: to stop aggressors without going to war. No balance of power, the result has to be settled by surrender or fighting.

The traditional division between nations of the south and north makes no sense in an interconnected world. If by this Obama says that the poor should not be in conflict with the rich, it sounds like the usual fare from Western leaders. But in context is he saying that the developed world should give away its wealth to the Third World? And remember this statement comes from a man who favors environmental policies that if adopted would destroy Third World development efforts. No polluting power plants, mass ownership of automobiles, and smelly factories for them!

Nor do alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long gone Cold War. If that means that the West should not look on Russia as an enemy (China was already part of the Western coalition in a sense by the late 1970s), that’s fine. But does this imply that democratic states should not see a kinship as against dictatorships? That liberty and freedom should not unite those against others whose ideas are those of tyranny and oppression?

Again, the point to remember is that Obama did not say that this is the way the world ought to be but that the world actually is like this. To say that one day the lion will lay down with the lamb is admirable. To say that it’s happening right now is a recipe for lamp chops.

What Obama has done in this paragraph is to reject reality and to put a gigantic “kick me” sign on the United States and its allies.

In a sense, it is the extension of multiculturalism to diplomacy. There's no good nor bad. Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan were just expressing their cultural norms. Who can say that the United States is better than Sudan, a country by the way which is chairing the largest bloc in the UN, or Libya, one of whose officials is charing the General Assembly.

Anyone would think he has absolutely no experience in international affairs!

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan), Conflict and Insurgency in the Contemporary Middle East (Routledge), The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition) (Viking-Penguin), the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan), A Chronological History of Terrorism (Sharpe), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).


The Rolling PX

Gunnery Sgt. Jason C. Chisholm, operations chief for Marine Corps Exchange services, and Sgt. Marcus Kibble, deliver mail, hygiene gear and disbursing services Sept. 20, 2009. PhotoCWO Philippe Chasse

story Cpl. Daniel Flynn
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan – When Marines and Sailors are deployed in remote locations, they don't take much for granted. The basic hygiene items that most people just pick up at the local convenience store are not always readily available for these service members.

A platoon with Regimental Combat Team 3's MRAP Company, which is named such for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles it operates with, has been co-located with Marines from 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, RCT-3, at several distant combat outposts for the last few months, according to Gunnery Sgt. David R. Hickman, 4th platoon commander.

The MRAP Company Marines, who normally operate Amphibious Assault Vehicles, are attached to RCT-3 from Company D, 2nd Assault Amphibious Battalion, based in Camp Lejeune, N.C.

To bring the Marines at these outlying posts some much needed items, the company transported the Mobile Post Exchange and Dispersing from Camp Dwyer to six different COPs along Route 605 in Nawa District.

"We brought the PX and dispersing to the Marines because they were starting to run low on necessary supplies like razors and toothpaste," said 1st Sgt. Mike Sparkman, company first sergeant.

In the absence of a PX, the Marines usually purchase items from the local bazaars near the COPs. According to Sparkman, this is a good way for the Marines to get what they need and help the local economy at the same time. The only problem is the Marines eventually run out of cash, so the dispersing services were just as important as the PX.

MRAP Company also delivered cold-weather and personal gear for their Marines spread out between six COPs.

"They were very happy to get the PX as well as their personal gear," said Sparkman, a Homestead, Fla., native. He explained that most people never realize how much they miss these things until they don't have them.

The mission also had an additional benefit – the MRAP drivers gained valuable experience during transit, according to Hickman.

The route they took to the COPs brought them down narrow farm roads and across several bridges spanning irrigation canals in the area with very little room for error.

"Up until now, we have always driven in the open desert," said Hickman. "This allowed the drivers to experience operating in different terrain and helped them learn the capabilities of the MRAPs."

He added that they also gained some familiarity with 1/5's area of operations, which is helpful for a unit that conducts frequent ground movements.

After the MRAP Marines completed their mission at the COPs, they did not waste any time. Within in hours, they were on the road once again.

Sarkozy To POTUS: We live in the real world-not in a virtual one

President Sarkozy (spoke in French):
France fully supports your initiative to hold this meeting, Mr. President, as well as the efforts you have made with Russia to reduce nuclear arsenals.

However, let us speak frankly. We are here to guarantee peace. We are
right to talk about the future.

But the present comes
before the future, and the present includes two major
nuclear crises.

The peoples of the entire world are listening to what we are saying, including our
promises, commitments and speeches.

But we live in the real world, not in a virtual one.

We say that we must reduce. President Obama himself has said that he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons. Before our very eyes, two countries are doing exactly the opposite at this very moment.
Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council

Since 2005, the international community
has called on Iran to engage in dialogue.

A proposal for dialogue was made in 2005.

A proposal for dialogue was made in 2006.

A proposal for dialogue was made in 2007.

A proposal for dialogue was made in 2008.

And another was made in April 2009.

President Obama, I support America’s extended hand.
But what have those proposals for dialogue produced for the
international community?

Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges.

And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling
for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations.

What are we to do? What conclusion are we to draw? At a certain moment, hard facts will force us to take decisions.

If we want a world without nuclear

weapons in the future, we must not accept violations of
international rules.

I completely understand the differing positions of others. But all of us may one day
be threatened by a neighbour that has acquired nuclear weapons.

Secondly, there is North Korea — and there it is even more striking.

It has violated every Security Council decision since 1993. It pays absolutely no attention to what the international community says. Even more, it continues ballistic testing. How can we
accept that? What conclusions should we draw? I say that also in this case, whatever the opposition, at a certain moment we will all have to unite to adopt sanctions and to ensure that Security Council and United Nations decisions are complied with. Lastly, I share the views of the Presidents of Uganda and China with regard to access to nuclear energy for civilian purposes. We the nuclear Powers must accept the transfer of technology in order that everyone can have access to this clean energy. I should add that this should prevent those claiming to be
carrying out nuclear research for civilian purposes from conflating their activities with military research.

We support the totality of what is contained in the resolution. We also fully support President Obama’s initiative. I hope that we will have the courage together to declare sanctions against countries that violate Security Council resolutions. In doing so, we will confer credibility on our commitment to a future world with fewer nuclear weapons and, perhaps one day, a
world free of nuclear weapons.

MPs in Garmsir

Cpl. Thomas Couch, right, MP Co., Five/Ten with one of his Marines during a joint security patrol with Afghan National Police (ANP) officers in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 12, 2009.

Bravo One Five

Lance Cpl. Randell Norman, Bravo, One Five, crosses a stream during a security patrol Sept 3,2009 USMC photo

Marine with Bravo Company, One Five exits a compound during a security patrol Sept 3 in the Nawa district, Helmand province.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to Hoist Your Howitzer Class at India Battery 3/11 photos Christopher Rye

Marines with Gun Three, India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment fasten ropes and chains to an M777A2 Lightweight Howitzer during training for helicopter transport
Cpl. Matthew Esquivel, left, and Lance Cpl. Edgar Carachure fasten chains to an M777A2 Lightweight Howitzer for training on helicopter transport at Fire Base Fiddler's Green
Lance Cpl. William McClellan fastens ropes for training on helicopter transport of an M777A2 Lightweight Howitzer at Fire Base Fiddler's Green in Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 23, 2009.

Staff Sgt. Stephen Lapek, India Battery, 3/11th, teaches a class for fellow Marines on the proper procedure for rigging an M777A2 lightweight howitzer for helicopter transport at Fire Base Fiddler's Green, Afghanistan, Sept. 23, 2009.USMCphoto Sgt. Christopher R. Rye


Lance Cpl. Kristopher Marku and Lance Cpl. Andres Luna, with Bravo, One Five, teach English words to an Afghan boy. USMC photo Cpl. Artur Shvartsberg,

Friday, September 25, 2009

Death of a US Marine

Lance Cpl. John J. Malone, 24, of Yonkers, N.Y., died Sept. 24 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Fore, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. DOD news release

Late Night At FOB Geronimo with One Five

A Marine with Combat Logistics Battalion prepares to unload a heavy equipment CAT in support of One Five, at Forward Operatiing Base Geronimo Helmand province, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2009. The bobcat will build a new road. USMC

3/11 Sweep

Sgt. Cody Bourdeau, left, scans the area as Cpl. Matthew Walters sweeps for improvised explosive devices during a patrol in the Three Eleven area in Helmand province Sept. 8, 2009.
USMC photo Sgt. Christopher R. Rye

On Your Six, America-Cpl. Rebecca Stinsky

Cpl. Rebecca Stinsky, airframe and hydraulic mechanic, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron(HMH) 772, receives air crew wings from Gunnery Sgt. Everett Cooke, crew chief with HMH-772, during a ceremony at Camp Bastion Airfield, Helmand province, Sept. 10, 2009.
USMC photo

On Your Six, America:LCpl. Tim Myers, Charlie One Five

Lance Cpl. Tim Myers, Charlie One Five, on security watch at an outpost in the Nawa district of Helmand province, Sept. 17, 2009. USMC photo

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rare Moment of Truth in The UN Cesspool of Lies

Exit Entry Control Point at Fire Base Fiddler's Green

Off on another patrol around Fire Base Fiddler's Green, Staff Sgt. William Eddy leaves the "gate" but in USMC parlance is the entry control point (ECP) . Outside the ECP is lock and load country otherwise known as Helmand province on Sept. 8, 2009. USMC photo shot by

Helmand from the Air

Sgt. Woods J. Pepperman, crew chief Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169, scans a field in the Helmand province for anything suspicious during an aerial reconnaissance mission Sept. 2, 2009. USMC photo shot by Lance Cpl. Samuel A. Nasso

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Awards and Return Home for Echo/4th LAR

Story/photos Cpl. Robert MorganCAMP AL TAQADDUM, Iraq - Lt. Col. Kenneth R. Kassner, the commanding officer of 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, officially relieved the Marines of Company E of their duties during a ceremony held aboard Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, Sept. 16, 2009.

The company, a reserve unit based out of Syracuse, N.Y., was augmented to 3rd LAR Bn from 4th LAR Bn to serve in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from November 2008 to October 2009. For more than 150 days they lived and operated out of their armored vehicles as they conducted continuous combat operations in Ninewa province, Iraq.

Although the company is an organic element of a reserve unit, Kassner attributed their success throughout the deployment to their ability to seamlessly blend with the active components of 3rd LAR Bn.

"Your integration into 3rd LAR Bn allowed the unit to become a stronger, more capable war fighting team," Kassner said to the Marines.

Kassner also recognized five Marines within Company E with Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals for the superior performance of their duties which significantly contributed to the battalion's overall mission accomplishment.

One of the award recipients, Sgt. Nicholas J. Castaneda, a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical specialist by trade, served as a Joint Coordination Center operator during the battalion's fifth deployment and his second. He was credited withleading eight combat missions to interdict smugglers along the Syrian border while exposing himself to a high level of risk, which
resulted in the seizure of millions of illegally smuggled tobacco products and several weapons systems.

His award citation also recognized his work to improve the partnership between U.S. and Iraqi security forces. But it is the camaraderie and strong bond that he developed with the rest of the battalion's leathernecks that he will mostly remember and cherish.

"I met some of the best Marines and some of the greatest friends I will ever know," he said of his fellow Marines. "I am going to take the camaraderie we built with each other and cherish it forever."

Before Castaneda and the rest of the Marines in Company E were able to build that mutual bond of trust and camaraderie, they first had to show their active duty comrades that they were just as hard core and dedicated to accomplishing the mission as the rest of the 'Wolfpack' - the nickname and call sign of the battalion since its activation in the 1990s.

"We have had more to prove and had to raise the bar because of the stereotypes that come with being reservists," Castaneda explained. "But we proved to the battalion and to ourselves that we can accomplish any mission given to us."

Now that the company will return home and demobilize, the men of the "Grappler" company, as they are affectionately known, will go back to the United States to pick up where they left off as firefighters, police officers, engineers, plumbers and college students, among other occupations.
Regardless of their civilian jobs, the battalion CO was impressed with the Marines' performance in light of the fact that they operated for so long in such brutal conditions.

"The nature of our mission can truly be considered expeditionary and it's a testament to the caliber of our Marines that they were able to conduct operations with their Iraqi counterparts of the 11th [Iraqi Army] Brigade in one of the most austere and geopolitically dynamic regions in Iraq." He said.

As Kassner went on to say in his speech to his men, the Marines of Company E have earned their place in Wolfpack history because they exemplified the motto of 3rd LAR Bn - 'the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf.'

Nicholas Zamoos Signals

What a great name-Nicholas Zamoos. The name sounds like the owner would be a close friend and confident of Sherlock Holmes. Nicholas Zamoos(background) signals Lance Cpl. Timothy Meyers to position the aiming stake while conducting line of sight for a 120 mm mortar system at Forward Operating Base Cherokee. Zamoos and Meyers belong to Weapons Platoon, Charlie One Five.

India 3/11 C.O.

Capt. Chad Althiser, left, inspects damages to an Afghan man's home in the Helmand province of Afghanistan Sept. 5, 2009, as 1st Lt. Julio Aguilera, far right, prepares a claims form for the owner. Capt. Althiser is the commanding officer of India Battery, 3/11. Aguilera is an intelligence officer attached to HQ. Battery.USMC photo Sgt. Christopher R. Rye

Its Fall. It's LAR Football. At 29 Stumps

4th LAR and 2nd LAR Marines play a friendly game of touch football with 3rd Force Recon. one early Sept. 16, morning. The prevailing theory is that the cool morning temperature allows the Marines to have a good short cardiovascular workout before the start of the day's enhanced Mojave Viper training. Ok. USMC Photo shot by CWO2 Keith A. Stevenson

September War Pig

First Day of Fall-September War Pig Photo:HQ. USMC