View Full Version : A Marine Appeal to America--

05-22-04, 05:03 PM
A Marine Appeal to America--

By: 1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger USMC

Hello Everyone, I am taking time to ask you all for your help.

First off, I'd like to say that this is not a political message. I'm not concerned about domestic politics right now. We have much bigger things to deal with, and we need your help.

It seems that despite the tremendous and heroic efforts of the men and women serving here in Iraq to bring much needed peace and stability to this region, we are losing the war of perception with the media and American people. Our enemy has learned that the key to defeating the mighty American military is by swaying public opinion at home and abroad. We are a people that cherish the democratic system of government and therefore hold the will of the people in the highest regard. We love to criticize ourselves almost to an endless degree, because we care what others think. Our enemies see this as a weakness and are trying to exploit it.

When we ask ourselves questions like, "Why do they hate us?" or "What did we do wrong?" we are playing into our enemies' hands. Our natural tendency to question ourselves is being used against us to undermine our effort to do good in the world. How far would we have gotten if after the surprise attacks on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, we would have asked, "Why do the Japanese hate us so much?" or "How can we change ourselves so that they won't do that again?" Here in Iraq the enemy is trying very hard to portray our efforts as failing and fruitless. They kill innocents and desecrate their bodies in hopes that the people back home will lose the will to fight for liberty. They are betting on our perceived weakness as a thoughtful, considerate people. Unfortunately our media only serves to further their cause.

In an industry that feeds on ratings and bad news, a failure in Iraq would be a goldmine. When our so-called "trusted" American media takes a quote from an Iraqi doctor as the gospel truth over that of the men and women that are daily fighting to protect the right to freedom of press, you know something is wrong. That doctor claimed that out of 600 Iraqis, that were casualties of the fighting, the vast majority of them were women, children and the elderly. This is totally absurd. In the history of man, no one has spent more time and effort, often to the detriment of our own mission, to be more discriminate in our targeting of the enemy than the American military. The Marines and Soldiers serving in Iraq have gone through extensive training in order to limit the amount of innocent casualties and collateral damage.

Yet, despite all of this, our media consistently sides with those who openly lie and directly challenge the honor of our brave heroes fighting for liberty and peace. What we have to remember is that peace is not defined as an absence of war. It is the presence of liberty, stability, and prosperity. In the face of the horrendous tyranny of the former Iraqi regime, the only way true peace was able to come to this region was through force. That is what the American Revolution was all about. Have we forgotten? Freedom is not free and "peace" without principle is not peace. The peace that so-called "peace advocates" support can only be brought to Iraq through the military. And we are doing it, if only the world will let us! If the American people believe we are failing, even if we are not, then we will ultimately fail.

That is why I am asking for your support. Become a voice of truth in your community. Wherever you are fight the lies of the enemy. Don't buy into the pessimism and apathy that says, "It's hopeless," "They hate us too much," "That part of the world is just too messed up," "It's our fault anyway," "We're to blame," and so forth. Whether you're in middle school, working at a 9-5 job, retired, or a stay-at-home mom you can make a huge difference!

There is nothing more powerful than the truth. So, when you watch the news and see doomsday predictions and spiteful opinions on our efforts over here, you can refute them by knowing that we are doing a tremendous amount of good. Spread the word. No one is poised to make such an amazing contribution to the everyday lives of Iraqis and the rest of the Arab world than the American Armed Forces. By making this a place where liberty can finally grow, we are making the whole world safer. Your efforts at home are directly tied to our success.

You are the soldiers at home fighting the war of perception. So I'm asking you as a fellow fighting man: Do your duty.

Stop the attempts of the enemy wherever you are. You are a mighty force for good, because truth is on your side. Together we will win this fight and ensure a better world for the future.

God Bless and Semper Fidelis,
1st Lt. Robert L. Nofsinger
USMC Ramadi, Iraq


05-22-04, 05:04 PM
U.S. officials deny targeting civilians in desert assault

BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. officials yesterday disputed Iraqi claims that American warplanes had bombed a wedding at a remote spot near the Syrian border on Wednesday.
The pre-dawn air strike in which an estimated 40 people died came amid rising public anger over the U.S. campaign, which an increasing number of Iraqis consider oppressive.

U.S. military officials said yesterday that the attack targeted a suspected safe house for foreign fighters from Syria.
The desolate desert region is populated only by shepherds but is popular with smugglers, and the U.S. military suspects militants use it as an entry route.
The area, about 15 miles from the Syrian border, is under constant U.S. surveillance.
Iraqi police and witnesses said the attack killed dozens of innocent people, many of them women and children. Some said the bride and groom also were killed.
"Ten miles from Syrian border and 80 miles from nearest city and a wedding party? Don't be naive," said Marine Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis in Fallujah. "Plus they had 30 males of military age with them. How many people go to the middle of the desert to have a wedding party?"
People who said they were guests said the wedding party was in full swing — with dinner just finished and the band playing tribal Arab music — when U.S. fighter jets roared overhead and U.S. vehicles started shining their high beams.
Worried, the hosts ended the party; men stayed in the wedding tent, and women and children went inside the house nearby, the witnesses said.
About five hours later, the first shell hit the tent. Panicked women clutching their children ran out of the house, they said.
Lt. Col. Ziyad Jbouri, deputy police chief of Ramadi, the provincial capital about 250 miles to the east, said the attack happened about 2:45 a.m. He said 42 to 45 persons were killed, including 15 children and 10 women.
Salah al-Ani, a doctor at a Ramadi hospital, put the death toll at 45.
A shepherd at the site, Madhi Nawaf, said his daughter and at least one of his grandchildren were killed.
"Mothers died with their children in their arms. One of them was my daughter. I found her a few steps from the house, her 2-year-old son, Raad, in her arm. Her 1-year-old son, Ra'ed, was lying nearby, his head missing," he said.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt said the attack was launched after U.S. forces received "specific intelligence" about foreign fighters slipping into the country.
"We sent a ground force in to the location," he told Associated Press Television News. "They were shot at. We returned fire."
U.S. soldiers recovered satellite communications gear, foreign passports and a large amount of Iraqi cash at the site, he said.
Gen. Kimmitt said the incident will be investigated even though the military remains convinced it attacked a legitimate target.
"This operation is not something that fell out of the sky," he said. "We had significant intelligence. ... This is one of the routes we have watched for a long time as a place where foreign fighters and smugglers go."
Military officials in Washington refused to say whether anyone from a wedding party was killed.
Iraqis interviewed by AP television said revelers fired volleys of gunfire into the air in a traditional wedding celebration before the attack. U.S. troops sometimes have mistaken celebratory gunfire for hostile fire.
The footage showed a truck containing bloodied bodies, many wrapped in blankets and piled atop one other, after it arrived in Ramadi.
Several were children. The body of a girl who appeared to be younger than 5 lay in a white sheet, her legs riddled with wounds and her dress soaked in blood.
Two Iraqis said to have been killed in the attack were buried yesterday in Baghdad. One of them was the wedding singer, mourners said.
"At about 3 a.m., we were sleeping and the planes started firing," said one mourner, who gave his name only as Bassem. "They fired more than 40 missiles. ... I was running. ... There are no fighters. These are lies."



05-22-04, 05:05 PM
Many Iraq interpreters unskilled, soldiers say <br />
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Contractor Titan's hiring faulted <br />
By David Washburn <br />
May 21, 2004

05-22-04, 05:06 PM
First wave of strike group set for Iraq

By James W. Crawley
May 21, 2004

About 4,000 Marines and sailors aboard three amphibious ships of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 will head for Iraq on Thursday.

Next month, a second part of the strike group – about 1,000 sailors aboard a cruiser, two destroyers and a submarine – will depart for the Persian Gulf.

Although Navy officials would not discuss the ships' schedule, the Marines will probably arrive in Iraq shortly after the planned turnover of sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30.

The 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a 2,200-person force from Camp Pendleton and Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, will serve in Iraq. The unit may be assigned in a different region from the 1st Marine Division, which is stationed in the Anbar province of western and central Iraq.

The strike group's deployment was pushed forward a month because Pentagon officials needed additional troops to fill in for Army soldiers who are heading home. Increased fighting throughout Iraq has forced the military to keep 138,000 troops in the country, about 20,000 more personnel than planners had anticipated for this year.

The strike group's departure will be noteworthy because a Marine Corps general is commanding Navy ships.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Medina commands the strike group, including the naval, ground and air units, as part of a groundbreaking move by the Navy to increase the fighting abilities of its amphibious forces and better merge leadership between Navy and Marine commanders.

Previously, the lightly armed amphibious ships deployed under the command of a Navy captain and without the weaponry of surface warships and submarines. The new strike groups, overseen by a Navy admiral or Marine general, can defend themselves and deliver long-range strikes with the Tomahawk cruise missiles carried by the cruiser, destroyers and submarine.

The amphibious ships Belleau Wood, Denver and Comstock, with Marines, armored vehicles and helicopters aboard, are to leave the San Diego Naval Station at 32nd Street on Thursday.

The cruiser Mobile Bay, destroyers Hopper and Preble and attack submarine Charlotte will leave in June. Mobile Bay and Preble are based in San Diego, while the Hopper and Charlotte are home-ported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Normally, strike groups are deployed for six months. However, the Pentagon might extend the deployment because of security concerns in Iraq.

James W. Crawley: (619) 542-4559; jim.crawley@uniontrib.com



05-22-04, 05:08 PM
How Marines kept Fallujah from becoming Dresden
Destroying the city ill-conceived; Marines make a pact with

ex-generals instead

By Tony Perry,, Los Angeles Times

Patrick J. McDonnell

and Alissa J. Rubin

FALLUJAH, Iraq -- The insurgents came at the Marines in relentless, almost suicidal waves. By the time the two-hour firefight in the Jolan district of this Sunni Muslim stronghold was over, dozens of anti-American fighters and one Marine were dead.

When the April 26 battle ended, Lt. Gen. James Conway, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, knew something else: It was, in a microcosm, what house-to-house fighting might look like if the Marines were forced to storm Fallujah and, possibly, level a city of 300,000 people. He didn't like the look of the future battlefield.

Conway had been given authority to cut a deal. He had long spoken about "putting an Iraqi face" on the security forces here. From unexpected quarters, a chance suddenly emerged to accomplish that goal in spectacular -- if far from ideal -- fashion. The April 26 firefight came during an uneasy, and often broken, cease-fire between the insurgents and the Marines who had laid siege to the city earlier that month. At the time, the best hope for a peaceful resolution appeared to be the negotiations involving Sunni clerics, Fallujah civic leaders and sheiks, the Marines and U.S. occupation officials.

But behind the scenes, a back-channel communication between guerrilla envoys and the Marines was showing promise. It appears that several insurgent commanders -- former generals in Saddam Hussein's regime who had joined the armed resistance -- had made an overture through third parties in the days before the battle.

"There are factions among the insurgents, and we've been talking to some of them," a Marine commander confided to a journalist a few days before news of the deal broke. "We think some would rather live than die."

With a potential bloodbath looming, Marine leaders adopted a mantra: "We don't want to turn Fallujah into Dresden," referring to the Allied firebombing of the German city in World War II that killed tens of thousands of civilians.

Three days after that April 26 firefight, the remarkable deal was cut: The Marine leadership made a pact with the ex-generals. The Marines pulled out, violence ceased, further carnage was averted, and both sides declared victory.

Top officials at the Pentagon and in Baghdad were stunned. Most appeared caught off-guard by the deal, and were denying any withdrawal was taking place even as Marines were moving out and dismantling roadblocks and checkpoints.

Today, Fallujah is for all intents and purposes a rebel town, complete with banners proclaiming a great victory and insurgents integrated into the new Fallujah Brigade -- the protective force set up with U.S. assistance to keep the peace.

At any rate, it had never been the Marines' intention to storm this restive city along the Euphrates.

Privately, Marines who began arriving here in March viewed the Army's strategy throughout Iraq's Sunni heartland as unduly confrontational.

But the grisly slayings of four U.S. contractors March 31 changed everything. Orders from a higher authority eclipsed the Marines' "no better friend" intentions for Fallujah. "When the president says go, we go," said Col. J.C. Coleman, chief of staff for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

So the Marines were pushed to do something -- a full-fledged assault on the city -- that the Army had avoided, and military strategists now say was ill-conceived. Too few Marines were marshaled to confront a dug-in urban foe that proved unexpectedly resilient, well-armed and relentless.

The fighting quickly turned ugly, as did the images of dead and maimed civilians and fleeing refugees broadcast on Arab-language television. U.S. forces called a cease-fire after several days. Three weeks later, the insurgents had benefited from the chance to re-arm, bring in new recruits and prepare ambushes, ensuring even more slaughter once the battle was renewed.

"In the end, the Americans left themselves with only bad options," said Michael Clarke, professor of defense studies at King's College, London. "They could either destroy the city, causing heavy loss of life. Or they could walk away. Both are a disaster, but the Americans chose the less disastrous of the two."

Despite the current calm in Fallujah, there are still great doubts in Washington and Baghdad about a deal that seemed to allow Saddam's men to pull their old olive-green uniforms and burgundy berets out of the closet and go back to work. One key player -- Maj. Gen. Jassim Mohammed Saleh, who was among the first to meet with the Marines -- had to be hastily dispatched to the background after the deal was struck because of his Republican Guard past and insurgent connections.

"To bring back that officer corps, it is not by any means black and white," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told a Senate hearing last week when asked about the wisdom of rehabilitating such men.

"We just brought back one of those officers in Fallujah, and we pretty much had to sideline him immediately because he was working with the enemy. We need clean, new officers."

U.S. commanders in the field have long recognized the central role in the insurgency of former officers in Saddam's regime, especially those from the Republican Guard and various intelligence services. These are middle-aged, often graying men with vast strategic and personal expertise about their country -- and considerable ruthlessness gained as Saddam's henchmen. Most were left with few options in the face of the U.S. policy of abolishing the military and purging loyalists of Saddam's Baath Party.

Many Saddam-era generals and colonels are believed to have retreated to Fallujah, Ramadi and other towns in the Sunni Triangle as Baghdad fell. U.S. forces have arrested scores of ex-officers for insurgent ties, but others have been approached and recruited as U.S. allies -- helping with the organization of police and civil defense corps units, for instance. U.S. commanders are hoping to attract more to bolster Iraq's frail security services.

The fact that the Fallujah generals were military professionals made a difference. The Marines were not about to sit down and talk with hard-core jihadists with scarves around their faces and AK-47s slung on their shoulders -- the public face of what is far from a monolithic insurgency. Nor would such hard-liners be likely to seek a compromise with U.S. forces.

Conway brought Maj. Gen. James Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division, to make the deal work.

He's a tough combat veteran who led Marines into Afghanistan in 2001 and into Baghdad in 2003.

Mattis took over the day-to-day dealings with Saleh, who was key because he is well-respected in town and comes from a large tribe prominent in Fallujah and western Iraq. Another important player on the Iraqi side was Mohammed Latif, a former intelligence officer.

of murky provenance who, according to the Marines, had gone into exile because of differences with Saddam's regime. Once Kurds and Shiites outside Fallujah balked at Saleh's Republican Guard pedigree, Latif was made the public face of the Fallujah security force.

On April 29, when the deal was announced, Mattis smiled and patted Latif and the others on the back. For a self-described "brawler," it was a sea change in attitude.

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Many questions remain in a place where the United States has helped organize, fund and arm a military force of unknown capability or intention -- and unabashedly hostile to the occupiers. Some worry it may be free zone for bomb-makers, saboteurs, assassins and other violent types whose desire to drive the United States out of Iraq remains undiminished.

The intentions of Latif are hard to discern. He is slick, winks at journalists, says one thing to Westerners, another thing to Iraqis.

"He's an intelligence guy," said Col. John Toolan, commander of the 1st Marine Regiment. "You never get a straight answer from those guys."


05-22-04, 05:08 PM
In Fallujah these days, there is little talk of the central U.S. demands -- disarming the insurgents, finding the people who killed and mutilated the four U.S. contractors and hunting down foreign jihadists. There were no foreign fighters, proclaims Latif. And if they were here, they must have escaped, he has said.

An aide to Saleh finds the very question of foreign fighters besides the point.

"The Americans brought different nationalities -- British, Spanish, Salvadorans, Ukrainians," the aide noted. "Is it acceptable for them and rejected for us? ... And If there were (foreign) Arabs, it is not a shame upon the city of Islam."

The once-obscure city to the west of the capital is now an inspirational Ground Zero for anti-Western militants in the Middle East, the place that beat back the Marines. Fresh graffiti in Arabic tells the story: "Long live the Heroic Mujahadeen of Fallujah." "Long Live the Resistance."

And at the entrance to Jolan, one of the two neighborhoods where the most violent fighting raged, sign reads: "This is the neighborhood of heroes, Congratulations."

What happened, Marines say, is that the stakes in got too big. An all-out assault, Marines say, would have caused mass casualties, further inflamed the entire region and disrupted the planned June 30 turnover of authority to the Iraqis.

Meanwhile, only a portion of the $100 million earmarked for Fallujah projects will probably be spent, officials now say, and then only funneled through local contractors. No one expects Western workers or non-government agencies to venture into Fallujah anytime soon.

"It's like sausage: ugly to watch being made," Mattis said of the deal that brought some sense of stability to Fallujah. "We'll see how it tastes when it's over."

Los Angeles Times special correspondent Raheem Salman in Fallujah contributed to this report.



05-22-04, 05:09 PM
Marine general says Iraqi force off to 'healthy' start as brigade collects insurgent weapons
By Associated Press
Friday, May 21, 2004

FALLUJAH, Iraq - Iraqi forces patrolling Fallujah are off to a good start, but have yet to show they fully control the city that saw bitter fighting last month between U.S. forces and insurgents, the senior Marine officer in Iraq said.

Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis spoke after Iraqi troops brought in 75 rocket propelled grenade launchers to an office at the southern edge of Fallujah, some 40 miles west of Baghdad.

The Marines said the launchers were much better than the antiquated weaponry initially turned over in this Sunni Muslim stronghold.

``It's a very healthy start,'' Mattis said. ``The trend is obviously in the right direction.''

But he cautioned that Iraqis with the so-called Fallujah Brigade ``are still getting their men together'' and have yet to take full control of the city.

Marines besieged Fallujah in April after four American civilian contractors were killed in an ambush. Grisly images of Iraqis beating the corpses and charred, mangled bodies hanging from a bridge brought promises of swift revenge.

A month of sporadic clashes ensued but Marines resisted engaging insurgents in house-to-house fighting. The siege was lifted when Marine officers announced a deal to create the Fallujah Brigade, commanded by officers from Saddam Hussein's army.

Since the Marine pullout, Fallujah has remained mostly quiet.

``The speed of bringing peace back to Fallujah shows the good intentions of everyone involved,'' the Fallujah Brigade commander, Mohammed Abdul-Latif, told reporters after talks with Mattis. ``Fallujah is going to be an example for all of Iraq.''

Abdul-Latif said the primary goal for his brigade was to bring stability back to Fallujah and to enable Iraqi police to resume a role in providing security in this Sunni city.

``You know, there hasn't been a single incident, today I saw six wedding processions in the city,'' he added. ``Everything is back to normal.''

He also claimed there were no more foreign fighters in the city. When the Fallujah Brigade was established, the Americans demanded it hand over foreign fighters and the killers of the American contractors. No one has yet been arrested in their deaths.

Some people, including Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi, have complained that Fallujah has become a haven for Saddam loyalists who are carrying out attacks in Baghdad and elsewhere.

( © Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )



05-22-04, 05:11 PM
The Washington Times <br />
www.washingtontimes.com <br />
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'Take it like a man' <br />
By Jack Wheeler <br />
Published May 21, 2004 <br />
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We know conclusively that the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal is as phony as a Bill...

05-22-04, 06:10 PM
The Fat Lady, Coyote are together at last
Submitted by: I Marine Expeditionary Force
Story Identification #: 200452141126
Story by Cpl. Matthew J. Apprendi

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq(May 20, 2004) -- The horizon turned sideways as the UH-1N Huey banked a hard right in the overcast Iraqi sky during a convoy escort mission.

On the right, inside the helicopter, hands grasped a .50 caliber heavy-machine gun. On the left, a Marine gripped a GAU-17 machine gun, a six-barrel gun that unloads 3,000 rounds per minute.

“We call this one the Fat Lady,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael J. Mikkelson, a Huey crew chief, and a native of West Bend, Wisc., referring to the GAU mounted on the Huey. “When she sings, it’s all over for the enemy.”

The machine gun spits out enough rounds to write a name in cursive, according to the crew chiefs of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775, Marine Aircraft Group 16 an activated reserve unit nicknamed the Coyotes.

HMLA-775, comprised of both Hueys and AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters, has conducted escort missions and close air support for infantry units on the ground in Fallujah and Ar Ramadi while in Iraq.

Since touching down in Iraq earlier this year, the unit has tacked on combat flight hours nearly every day in their Cobras and Hueys.

Hundreds of feet below, Marine ground forces have witnessed the squadron’s aerial skills.

Cpl. Jarod K. Stevens, the assistant data chief for I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group had a front-row seat on one occasion.

While guarding a tactical checkpoint on the night of April 6, he recounted, the checkpoint received enemy indirect and direct fire. CAS was called immediately.

“For the rest of the night, we had support, and everything was quiet,” the resident of Frisco, Texas, said. “All of the enemy hid once they showed up, and didn't cause any more problems. (Air support) kept the enemy from attacking us any more that night.”

During peacetime, HMLA-775 is split, one half residing at Camp Pendleton, Calif., the other at Johnstown, Pa. It is only during wartime that the unit operates as a whole.

“What’s unique about our squadron is that you probably couldn’t find a pilot here without at least ten years of experience,” said Maj. Rob Russell, a Huey pilot, from Oceanside, Calif.

According to Russell, most of the squadron’s pilots spent their first ten years in the Corps on active duty before entering the reserves. However, he did admit the average age of pilots in the squadron is older than an active duty unit.

“The younger guys might be a little more quicker on the reaction,” said the activated American Eagle Airlines pilot, “but we have the experience and the ability to know what reaction to use in mostly all situations in the air.”

We’ve got Marines out here in their late 40’s running around and flying combat missions.”

Even as reserves, Russell added, the pilots have to maintain the same flight requirements as the active duty.

“I couldn’t think of a better group of individuals to go into combat with,” said Maj. Erik Douglas, a Cobra pilot from Oceanside.

Garnering flight hours is not a problem for Douglas, a father of two. His civilian career as a biology teacher at Oceanside High School affords him the summers off, which offers him plenty of flight time.

He said he had not previously told his students he is a Cobra pilot, but is willing to bet they know now after he has trekked across the world to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The former Huey pilot, who was deployed to Operation United Shield in Somalia in 1994, said Cobra helicopters, sometimes referred to as Snakes, are specifically designed to attack. By using the Cobra’s pinpoint accuracy, pilots are able to reach out and touch enemy forces from miles away.

“The possibilities are unlimited on the types of missions we can do,” said Mikkelson, who has completed nearly 3,000 hours of flying time during his 18-year career. “You name it, we probably can do it,” he said while inside the Huey’s cabin on the flight line waiting for a mission.

The Huey - a utility helicopter by nature - has the ability to attack enemy troops, deliver supplies and evacuate casualties. The Huey also has a 360-degree area of fire to take down enemy forces.

“The two helicopters complement one another,” said Douglas, a 1988 University of Maryland graduate. “We’ve been able to fully use their capabilities out here.”

Inside the ready room, the pilots watch a few movies to pass the time between missions.

Once an order is given, within minutes the pilots are seated in their helicopters taxing off the runway into the skies of Iraq supporting a ground element.

“That’s the whole reason why we exist - to support the Marines on the ground,” Douglas said.

It’s a sentiment shared by Marines on the ground.

"The sound of the Snakes above us gave us confidence when we fought in Fallujah,” said Capt. D.A. Zembiec, Echo Company commanding officer, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “Marines would shout with pride, when the Cobras rocketed and strafed the insurgents.”


Sgt. Jason Calvert, a crew chief with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 775, Marine Aircraft Group 16, a native of Stroudsburg, Pa., mans a .50 caliber heavy-machine gun during a convoy escort mission near Fallujah, Iraq, inside a UH-1N Huey helicopter April 30, 2004. The activated reserve squadron has been conducting security escort and close air support missions since arriving in Iraq earlier this year. Photo by: Cpl. Matthew J. Apprendi



05-22-04, 09:20 PM
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May 22, 2004 -- Thursday's raid by U.S. and Iraqi agents on the home of Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmed Chalabi was troubling - not least because the Coalition...