View Full Version : Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran receives decoration for heroism
06-12-04, 06:16 AM
Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran receives decoration for heroism
Submitted by: 4th Marine Corps District
Story Identification #: 200461195513
Story by Gunnery Sgt. Mike Giannetti
TROY, Mich.(April 30, 2004) -- If you stretch your imagination, recruiting and combat have many similarities; the workplace is characterized by long workweeks, very little quality time with family members, a lack of conventional support and the ever-present potential risk of failure. However, failure in recruiting results in a tarnished career, whereas in combat, it could mean your life.
No one knows that more that than Maj. Calvert Worth Jr., commanding officer of Marine Corps Recruiting Station Detroit, who was honored at a ceremony here April 30 for his actions while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Worth was awarded the Bronze Star, one of the nation’s highest awards for heroism in combat, and the Meritorious Service Medal. He earned the awards while serving as the executive officer for 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Since Dec. 6, 1941, the Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any service member who distinguished himself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.
On April 10, 2003, Worth, a native of St. Louis, Mo., and his Marines were in the heart of Baghdad seizing the Al Azimiyah Presidential Palace when his unit came under enemy fire.
“As his command group moved into the palace compound,” the citation read, “ they came under intense enemy machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire, causing two casualties. Remaining calm in the chaos of the moment, he quickly reoriented and bolstered defensive positions to prevent enemy penetration of the compound. Once the palace was secured, intelligence indicated that a force of approximately 80 paramilitary fighters was assembling to conduct a counterattack. He rapidly coordinated an air strike, which destroyed the counterattack force along with numerous vehicles, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, and small arms. His timely actions successfully disrupted a significant threat to his battalion.”
As his citation was being read, his wife Lisa, listened intensely as if she was hearing it for the first time. “He told me stories from the war but he left a lot of the details out,” she said.
Going from one battlefield to another proves to be hard on the entire family. According to Lisa, recruiting duty is a whole different set of stressors. “While he was in Iraq [the Marine spouses] were glued to the news waiting for any type of information good or bad. Now his life in not on the line, but the long hours and the pressure he is under is still very taxing on both of us.”
Handling a career and a family under these conditions could be too much for some, but Worth says the leaders he has served with prepared him for these very situations.
“Marine Corps officers go through a natural progression, and in the past 13 years I have been fortunate to hold some challenging billets and learned from some great leaders,” he said. “As an infantry officer we train for combat but when you have to give the order to go into combat it’s not a comfortable feeling, but it’s exactly what I expected, it’s what I was prepared for.”
Worth sees his mission on recruiting duty as being just as important as leading his Marines in battle.
“Like combat you are always engaged, there’s very little time for yourself or your family,” said Worth. “These Marines work extremely hard, and unfortunately they get very little reward. I have the responsibility to keep them on track and energized for 36 months. Marines, regardless of the task, always accomplish the mission.”
Major Calvert Worth Jr., commanding officer, Recruiting Station Detroit, is presented the Bronze Star, one of the nation’s highest awards for heroism in combat, and the Meritorious Service Medal, at a ceremony in Troy, Mich., April 30 for his actions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as his sister, Stefanie, looks on. Photo by: Gunnery Sgt. Mike Giannetti
06-12-04, 06:17 AM
Marine talks about battle for Iraqi hearts
Lance Cpl. Luke Huisenga, a 1999 graduate of City High, earned his undergraduate degree at Boston University and enlisted in the Marine Corps. In February, he and his unit, Kilo Company, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, were assigned to western Iraq. Here is Huisenga's first dispatch home.
It is difficult to start writing a public journal halfway through my deployment. I look back and it's almost impossible to determine when or where this all began.
(Third Battalion) is assigned to a region called Al Qaim along the Syrian border near the Euphrates River. Our mission, along with the rest of the 1st Marine Division, is to "destroy the enemy while diminishing the conditions that create an adversarial relationship between us and the Iraqi people." When we first took over for the Army in March, our mission success was far beyond what I'd dared to hope for. Al Qaim consists of a number of small towns stretching east to west along the river. Kilo is assigned a couple of these villages, but we operate from Camp Al Qaim, a large base a few miles to the south.
We patrolled regularly and seemed to be having a lot of success, both with catching the bad guys and with winning over the Iraqi people. The people warmed to us, the children in particular. Some may have just been curious, and some might have only wanted candy, but some looked at us with a sense of awe and admiration I'm not sure I ever deserved. They learned enough of our culture to smile back, say "good" and give a big thumbs up. Never had I imagined that approval of 6-year-olds could be this satisfying, but I've never felt a prouder moment.
My squad ... worked to make sure teachers were getting (paid) and also started to arrange some construction projects for a couple schools and a medical center. We'd only been in country a couple of weeks. It almost seemed too easy. Almost.
One day we went back to visit the school principal who had been the foundation of the entire project. She was our key contact. We got to her school sometime around the middle of the day, just as we had many times before. This time, however, she wasn't there. Neither were a number of the students and teachers. Just a few days before, someone had left a note on the schoolhouse door. It (said) if she met with us again, she would be killed. It said if she continued to work with us, she would be putting the lives of all the students and teachers in danger. If she let us rebuild her school, they would kill her and all the children we were all trying to help. It was a tough day, tougher because there was little we could do. It was our first reality check of the deployment.
That first note was part of an ongoing scare campaign that has proved effective. A month after that incident, I came back to the area and stood on the same corner. ... I saw the same young boy who had often stood with me and kept me company long after the other kids had come and gone. I called out to him and offered him a piece of candy. Without looking at me, he shook his head and made short nervous gestures, shooing me away. I watched as he hurried up the street and disappeared around a corner. He never once looked back.
A lot had happened in the weeks between. ... Our community projects derailed and we focused more and more on the combative side of our mission. On April 17, it all erupted. Four Marines from Lima Company were killed that morning in an attack. We started to receive reports of hundreds of foreign fighters massing in the town of Husaybah, inside Lima's zone. All of Kilo was called in to reinforce. We didn't leave Husaybah for nearly three days, but the fighting was over that first afternoon. No more Marines lost their lives as we swept every block of Husaybah from east to west.
The next day near dusk on the 18th, my platoon left our position on the outskirts and went back in the city. One after the other, we found injured civilians. So many bullets had flown down those streets, ours... the enemy's... it didn't seem to matter. No one meant to hurt these people. In a fight that big, in a city that dense, I don't know what we could have done. So we spent hours treating and transporting over a dozen Iraqis.
Some were scared to even come out to ask for help. The look of fear in those people's eyes... again, I'm not sure it's a look I deserved. But we stayed. We did all we could, and I guess that should be enough.
Maybe this is a story I've only just begun to tell, but it is also a story I don't have the words to finish.
06-12-04, 06:19 AM
Marines trained to save lives not take them
Submitted by: I Marine Expeditionary Force
Story Identification #: 200461214312
Story by Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Bush
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(May 22, 2004) -- While lying on a stretcher, Sgt. Donnie A. Crumley flinched several times as Cpl. Carlos Santiago slowly inserted an IV into his arm.
Just minutes earlier, Crumley and Santiago, both mechanics with I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group motor transport, laughed uneasily and joked about not running IVs on each other.
The two Marines are now graduates of a class of 12 Marines in the combat life-savers course.
“We are now able to start the basic life saving steps,” said Crumley, a Jacksonville, Fla., native. “As long as we stay focused we can use this training to help save lives - whether it’s a Marine or civilian.”
The class trains Marines to make split-second decisions and to identify and treat possible fatal wounds when a corpsman is not immediately on the scene.
“It’s a win-win situation for both Marines and sailors,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Miguel A. Delgado, the senior enlisted leader with I MHG Group Aid Station. “We provide the normal person that has no medical experience with the basic training, so they can provide first aid and life-saving measures in the absence of a corpsman.
“It’s been a learning experience for both the students and the medical personnel,” he said.
This is the first time they have been able to run an official course, according to Delgado.
“It’s normally a three- to four-day course at eight hours a day,” he said. “Because of operational tempo and the environment, we had to make it an 11-day course at three to four hours a day.”
Marines are instructed in a wide variety of basic first aid knowledge and treatment techniques for common battlefield injuries.
“It covers CPR control, splinting, IV therapy and a lot of other general medical knowledge,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Ackers, a native of Lynchburg, Va., and a corpsman with I MHG GAS.
To complete the course each Marine must pass both written and practical application tests. At the end of the field test, they must successfully administer an IV on another student.
“It’s uncomfortable to be stuck, but once the IV is in it’s good,” said Crumley. “I’ve gotten used to it by now.”
To recreate battlefield conditions, the instructors set up three stations with simulated casualties. Scenarios included bullet wounds, combat shock and burns.
“On my way to the victim, I was told he had a sucking chest wound and a bullet in the thigh, so I went for the chest wound first,” said Santiago, a native of Philadelphia. “I felt confident about what I did. If it’s a real life thing, your mind goes a hundred-thousand different ways, and it’s more intense.”
For one Marine, it was just a refresher course.
“I have been trained to do most of this stuff, but we never dealt with IVs,” said Lance Cpl. Josh D. Niedermeir, a Summerset, Ill., native, and a crash fire rescue crewmember with the Camp Fallujah Fire department. “It’s good to have practical hands-on training.”
Cpl. Carlos Santiago, a Philadelphia native, and a mechanic with motor transportation section, I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, searches through a field medic kit for an IV to treat fellow student in the combat life savers course held at I MHG Aid Station at Camp Fallujah, Iraq, May 22, 2004. The unit has been in Iraq since February as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Bush
06-12-04, 06:21 AM
24th MEU Begins Flow to Iraq <br />
Submitted by: 24th MEU <br />
Story Identification #: 2004610161714 <br />
Story by - 24th MEU Public Affairs Office <br />
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (June 10, 2004) -- About 250 Marines...
06-12-04, 06:22 AM
We Need A Bigger Stick
By: Maj. Anthony F. Milavic, USMC (Ret.)
With the mounting U.S. casualties in Iraq, an issue that's going untold is the fact that Americans are being killed because they are outgunned by their Iraqi enemy. And on top of that, the deficiency in U.S. service members' knockdown power has been known for almost 40 years.
On Sept. 12 in Ramadi, Iraq, for example, elements of the Army's 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, engaged enemy forces in a firefight.
An insurgent was struck in the torso by several rounds of 5.56mm ammunition from the soldiers' M-4 carbines.
The insurgent continued to fire his Kalashnikov and mortally wounded Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead.
Then, from a hiding place, the same insurgent surprised Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bennett, killing him instantly with a three-round burst to the head and neck.
Staff Sgt. Robert E. Springer, having lost confidence in his M-4, drew a World War II-vintage .45-caliber pistol and killed the insurgent with one shot.
A close inspection of the enemy's corpse revealed he was hit by seven 5.56mm rounds in the torso before the pistol took him down.
For almost 40 years, American warriors have reported enemy soldiers continuing to fire their weapons after being hit by multiple 5.56mm bullets.
Army Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore recorded such an event in his "After Action Report of the Ia Drang Valley Battle," from 1965. He also recalled the battle in his 1992 book, "We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young."
Moore writes of enemy soldiers being hit by 5.56mm rounds: "Even after being hit several times in the chest, many continued firing and moving for several more steps before dropping dead."
Later in that war, a similar experience was recalled by Army Col. John Hayworth: "In one firefight, I saw [a soldier] place three rounds [of 5.56mm] in the chest of a charging NVA [North Vietnamese Army] regular at 50
yards. He kept firing his AK and never slowed down. At 30 yards, I hit him with a blast of double-ought buck. It picked him up off his feet, and he didn't get up again."
During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Marine Maj. Howard Feldmeier reported an Iraqi officer leaving a burning vehicle and charging his Marines firing an AK-47. The Iraqi was hit repeatedly by 5.56mm rounds, only to stop firing when he ran out of ammunition and Feldmeier's Marines tackled him.
"He was quickly carried back to the battalion aid station," Feldmeier reported. "The surgeons told me he certainly died of burns, but not necessarily from the six 5.56mm wounds."
In his book "Black Hawk Down," Mark Bowden recalled that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Howe, a soldier involved in the 1993 Somalia imbroglio, was angered by the round's obvious ineffectiveness: "The [5.56mm] bullet made a small, clean hole, and unless it happened to hit the heart or spine, it wasn't enough to stop a man in his tracks. Howe felt he had to hit a guy five or six times just to get his attention."
In their briefing "Lessons Learned in Afghanistan" from April 2002, Army Lt. Col. C. Dean and Sgt. 1st Class S. Newland, both of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center in Massachusetts, reported: "Soldiers asked for a weapon with a larger round. So it will drop a man with one shot."
On March 3, 2003, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Gary K. Roberts opened his written briefing to Rear Adm. Albert M. Calland, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, on modifying the command's 5.56mm rifles and carbines to fire a 6.8mm cartridge by saying:
"Recent combat operations have highlighted terminal performance problems, generally manifested as failures to rapidly incapacitate opponents during combat operations when M855 62gr. 'green tip' [full metal jacket] is fired from 5.56mm rifles and carbines. Failure to rapidly incapacitate armed opponents increases the risk of U.S. forces being injured or killed and jeopardizes mission success."
Roberts' words proved to be prophetic in the deaths, six months later, of Morehead and Bennett in Iraq.
The only question now is: Who will be the next American killed because he was sent to war armed with a bullet that did not have the necessary knockdown power?
The writer is a retired Marine major living in Reston, Va., and moderator of MILINET, an Internet forum on international military and political affairs.
06-12-04, 07:29 AM
Final preparations made as 24th MEU, equipment embark for Iraq
WILMINGTON -- The last thing Capt. Leigh Dubie wanted to do Friday was leave something behind. It's a big no-no.
That's why Dubie, 39, of Pinconning, Mich., watched with care as light armored vehicles, trucks, infantry fighting vehicles, Humvees, generators and even 155 mm artillery sent from Camp Lejeune were all delivered to the North Carolina State Port in Wilmington for voyage to Iraq
It's Dubie's job as the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit's embarkation officer to make sure it all gets on board ship.
"The most important thing is accountability of everything -- people, vehicles, weapons and cargo," she said. "I always ask myself, 'Do I have everything?'"
Dubie and hundreds of Lejeune Marines and sailors will be part of the second wave of forces to leave this week for an early deployment to Iraq to spell Army forces in the region. They loaded up Friday in Wilmington and will ship out today.
On Wednesday, about 250 troops aboard CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, assault amphibious vehicles and tanks left New River Air Station and Onslow Beach, respectively, bound for the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge off the coast.
Friday, Marines arranged the equipment for efficient loading. Out on the barren asphalt parking area, Lance Cpl. Raymond Stover, 23, of Puntagorda, Fla., and Pfc. William Woodard, 18, of Chesterfield, Mich., signaled arriving vehicles so they lined up in precise order.
Giant vehicles poured into the compound and slowed to a stop, bumper to bumper and nearly ready to drive aboard the USNS Charlton, a large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off cargo ship that is scheduled to arrive today.
Lance Cpl. Aaron Jones, 20, of Raleigh, a truck driver assigned to the 24th MEU, climbed down from his 7-ton truck and began to walk the seemingly endless lines of tires that stretched into the distance.
The troops leaving today are part of a 2,200-member force, most of whom will be leaving from Camp Lejeune, New River and Cherry Point over the next month. They are deploying six weeks ahead of schedule -- many by air instead of by ship, which is normally how the MEU deploys.
"You adapt, adjust and overcome to the changing environment," said Dubie as she gathered the drivers to make sure everyone made the trip safely. "Flexibility is something you learn as you go."
06-12-04, 09:10 AM
June 11, 2004
Corps bestows valor awards to Iraqi soldiers who saved Marine
By Gidget Fuentes
Times staff writer
Top Marine Corps commanders in Iraq bestowed valor awards June 11 upon five Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers credited with saving the life of a Marine when their joint patrol was ambushed in May.
The awards, two Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals and three Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals — all with combat “V”s — were presented by Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division, and Col. John Toolan, who commands Regimental Combat Team 1.
According to award citations provided by 1st Marine Division, the Iraqi riflemen and members of Charlie and Bravo companies, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, from Camp Pendleton, Calif., came under fire about 9 p.m. May 30 in Kharma, a village near Fallujah.
When gunfire struck one Marine in his lower left leg, ICDC Pvts. Kather Nazar Abbas and Imad Abid Zeid Jassim rushed to his aid and dragged him to safety. Both soldiers continued firing at the enemy gunmen while a Navy corpsman treated the wounded Marine, who was not identified.
The Iraqi soldiers’ gunfire and fire support from three other Iraqi troops ultimately drove the gunmen from the area.
Both soldiers’ “decisive and aggressive action and superb performance under fire were far above expectation” for soldiers of their rank and experience, officials said in a written summary of the actions for which the two were awarded the commendation medals.
Their “quick thinking and brave actions clearly helped save the life of the Marine and turned the tide of the ambush,” their award citations read.
Three other ICDC soldiers — Sgt. Abdullah Sadoon Isa, Cpl. Eiub Muhamad Hussane and Pvt. Ahmad Lazim Garib — each received a Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with “V.”
The medals were presented at an ICDC graduation ceremony at Camp India, near the town of Nassar Wa Salaam, east of Fallujah.
06-12-04, 02:03 PM
Florida Marine celebrates his birthday by nearly losing his life
By FISNIK ABRASHI
June 12, 2004
CAMP MERCURY, Iraq - If nothing else, 2nd Lt. Chuck Anklam's 28th birthday will be memorable. It was the day he nearly died.
Together with other Marines of the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, Anklam was inside a police station Tuesday in a suburb of Fallujah, the Sunni Muslim city that has been at the forefront of the Iraqi insurgency.
The Marines are stationed inside the station 40 miles from Baghdad, providing security for a building that comes under attack every day.
Anklam, from Tamarac, Florida, was there with fellow Marines when a white pickup truck loaded with about 10 masked men slowed down to a stop just outside the gate. He heard a machine gun burst outside.
He saw an insurgent holding a rocket-propelled grenade leaping from the back of the van and pointed his M-16 assault rifle at him. But other insurgents had already taken positions to fire.
By chance, Anklam took a step back to get a better shot. That's when the rocket-propelled grenade hit.
"The whole wall exploded," Anklam said. Dust shrouded his body. Blood poured from his right leg. Debris rained around him. He thought about his 8-month old daughter, Ayden, and made a decision.
"For a fraction of a second I thought ... there was no way I will die without seeing her again," he said.
Bullets were ricocheting off the walls. Rockets whizzed overhead. Another rocket hit the wall, sending him and another Marine to the floor for the second time in less than a minute. The dust from the walls settled on top of them.
But they lived.
"This was the luckiest day of my life," Anklam said.
Over the radio, he heard that a fellow Marine was wounded in a rocket attack up the road. The Marines and Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers in the station counterattacked. Florida Marine celebrates his birthday by nearly losing his lifeThey fanned out, maneuvering under fire.
Anklam and the others retrieved their wounded comrade and waited for reinforcements. Adding to the confusion, a car bomb went off, wounding two Marines.
By the time helicopters were in the air and other Marines had joined the chase, the insurgents had vanished. Some were killed, though it was not clear how many.
Others slipped back into town, blending in with the local population.
For Anklam, Tuesday's battle was the most dangerous of his life.
"It was a hell of a birthday present," he said.