View Full Version : Marine serves with, pins dad with CWO4 rank in war zone

08-07-04, 06:00 AM
Marine serves with, pins dad with CWO4 rank in war zone
Submitted by: 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 200486105316
Story by Staff Sgt. Houston F. White Jr.

AL ASAD, Iraq (Aug. 06, 2004) -- Freshly promoted Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael R. King, assistant Wing embark officer, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, never had an inkling when he became a parent nearly two decades ago, that his first-born son was destined to serve with him in a combat zone, much less help pin on his new rank.

What the father of Lance Cpl. Jonathan R. King, tactical network administrator, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd MAW, did know however, was that his influence would guide his son into the military, as well as help him deal with the trials of adulthood.

“I think every young man should serve his country in some form or capacity,” said the 42-year-old native of Rockledge, Fla. “I didn’t shove Jonathan (into joining a particular branch of service), but I did lean him toward the Marine Corps.

“I prepared him for facing life by simply acting like any father would, not just a Marine dad,” King added. “I always taught him that if you’re going to do something, do it right the first time and my kids have all memorized that saying,” said the father of four.

Although Jonathan’s Marine Corps upbringing made his decision to follow his father’s career example a foregone conclusion, the 19-year-old native of Wildomar, Calif., still never anticipated working so close to the Leatherneck he idolized growing up.

“My dad was my role model my entire childhood until I turned 18 and went to boot camp,” Jonathan explained. “As a kid, I was in awe of Marines because I got to see a lot of their training, (equipment and facilities).”

“I knew that I was going to be a Marine ever since I was small, but I never imagined working in the same command as my dad,” he professed.

Both father and son look at the rare opportunity of serving together while deployed far from home as a positive situation.

“I think one good thing about being (in Iraq) is being able to keep my eye on my son and making sure he’s safe and doing his job properly,” remarked the chief warrant officer. “I’m not too worried about my son’s safety while he’s here though because we’re located in a very secure place, in my opinion.

“I’m happy Jonathan’s over here getting good Marine Corps training and serving his country the way I wanted him to do,” added the clearly pleased father.

“It’s really reassuring and nice to be able to go and talk to my dad every once in awhile, or just say ‘hi’. Otherwise, it’s business as usual and things are no different here between us than they are at (Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif.),” stated Jonathan.

“While I was stationed at (MCAS) Miramar, I used to go home every weekend just because I had the chance, so the only difference here is I get to see my dad every day instead of every weekend,” he explained.

According to Col. Don W. Zautcke, Wing logistics officer, MWHS-3, the King duo does an exceptional job of managing the professional and personal sides of their unique relationship.

“They interact on both an officer-enlisted level and a father-son level and they do a great job of balancing those relationships,” said the 45-year-old from Milwaukee. “It’s good because you can see a lot of Chief Warrant Officer King’s qualities in (Lance Corporal King).”

The colonel was able to get a closer look at the bond between the father and son team when he presided over the elder King’s promotion here, Aug. 1.

“In my entire time in the Marine Corps, during war or peace, I have never seen anything like the promotion that just happened,” admitted Zautcke. “I believe that this experience was a unique one for both Chief Warrant Officer and Lance Corporal King.”

For father and son, the promotion ceremony was more than unique; it was something right out of a dream.

“I think the word surreal is probably a good definition for how it feels to have my son pin on my rank, especially in a war zone,” expressed King, a former gunnery sergeant. “This promotion will most likely be my last before I retire, so I’d have to say this is one of the more special things that has happened to me in my 22 years in the Marine Corps.

“I think that having my son here to do the honor is totally cool and one more attention gainer for Jonathan,” continued the visibly moved officer. “It brings a smile to my face having my son promote me and it almost makes being in Iraq enjoyable,” he joked.

“Even though this was my first time pinning on rank for my dad and I was a little nervous,” said Jonathan, “it was still a great honor to be a part of such a significant experience. The fact that he’s my father made the pride and honor I felt doing it much greater.”


Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael R. King (right), assistant wing embark officer, Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 3, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, passes a slice of cake to his son Lance Cpl. Jonathan R. King, tactical network administrator, Marine Wing Communications Squadron 38, Marine Air Control Group 38, and 19-year-old Wildomar, Calif., native following his promotion ceremony in Al Asad, Iraq, Aug 1. The 42-year-old from Rockledge, Fla., is in the unique position of serving with his son in a combat zone, which he describes as “totally cool.” Photo by: Staff Sgt. Houston F. White Jr.



08-07-04, 06:02 AM
Marines educate Iraqis on Iraqi elections <br />
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division <br />
Story Identification #: 2004876423 <br />
Story by Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr. <br />
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CAMP RIPPER, Iraq (Aug. 4, 2004) -- Local...

08-07-04, 06:03 AM
More than 1,200 militiamen surrender in Najaf: police

Fri Aug 6, 3:38 PM ET Add Mideast - AFP to My Yahoo!

BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 1,200 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr surrendered following fierce clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Najaf, the police general directorate said.

"Over 1,200 criminals have surrendered to Iraqi forces," it said in a statement, adding that the holy city of Najaf had been "secured."

It said most of the captured militiamen were criminals who were released from Iraqi prisons by ousted president Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) before last year's US-led invasion.

The statement accused Sadr's Mehdi Army of wanting to "destablise the country," and vowed "this operation will continue until this illegal and cruel violence has been quelled."

No one in Sadr's Najaf office was immediately available for comment on the statement.

The US military said Friday that 300 militiamen were killed in Najaf since Thursday's fighting, while the province's coalition-appointed governor Adnan al-Zorfi said the number was as high as 400.

The military said also three US soldiers were killed and 12 wounded.

But Sadr's spokesman Sheikh Ahmed al-Shaibani said only nine militiamen were killed in fighting and 20 wounded.



08-07-04, 06:04 AM
'Generation': A new breed of solider

By J. Ford Huffman, USA TODAY
When you see "New Face of American War" in the long subtitle of Generation Kill, you get the impression that author Evan Wright is aspiring to define and categorize the contemporary soldier. What he discovers is that they are as different as they are alike.

Wright won the National Magazine Award in May for the war reports in Rolling Stone that became this book. He was embedded in Iraq a year ago with an elite Marine battalion.

They are, Wright writes, "more or less America's first generation of disposable children. More than half the guys in the platoon come from broken homes. ... Many are on more intimate terms with the culture of video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own families ..."

Generation Kill is an energetic narrative about men fighting a war. It brings to mind last year's Jarhead, a masterpiece of a memoir about the first Iraq war by former Marine Anthony Swofford.

Swofford takes us inside the mind of one Marine before, during and after combat. Wright takes us inside the Humvees carrying 23 Marines of the First Reconnaissance ("Force Recon") battalion.

Force Recon, Wright writes, is trained for "sneaking behind enemy lines in teams of four to six men, observing positions and above all, avoiding contact with hostile forces.

"The one thing they are not trained for is to fight from Humvees, maneuvering in convoys and rushing headlong into enemy positions. This is exactly what they will be doing in Iraq. ..."

These few good men are more like the boys next door. They face mud and dust, mortar and death, false starts and "bad comm" (lousy communication — in technology and by management).

As one Marine told Wright, a "bunch of psycho officers sent us into (expletive) we never should have gone into."

There are a lot of expletives in Generation Kill, and of them, Wright writes: "This is after all the generation who first learned of the significance of the presidency through a national obsession with semen stains connected to (the) White House."

What you discover while the platoon is under fire along the Gharaff waterway from March 20, 2003, through the fall of Baghdad and the aftermath is that no two men are alike:

• Sgt. Brad Colbert, 28, the Iceman in the title, has a "neat, orderly and crisp" demeanor. Spare with sentiment, he refuses to allow country songs ("the Special Olympics of music") inside his Humvee. He prefers Barry Manilow.

• Captain America is identified only by nickname. He's a "former bodyguard for rock stars. ... He'll talk your ear off about the wild times he had working for bands like U2, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. His men feel he uses these stories as a pathetic attempt to impress them and besides, half of them have never heard of Duran Duran."

• Lt. Nathaniel Fick, 25, a brainy Dartmouth graduate: "We had a saying in the military in Afghanistan: 'The incompetent leading the unwilling to do the unnecessary.' "

• Cpl. Josh Ray Person, 22, holding the wheel but aspiring to hold a microphone. The only thing he and Iceman have in common is a forced reliance on each other's skills and a fondness for characters like Big Gay Al from South Park.

"What unites them," Wright says, "is an almost reckless desire to test themselves in the most extreme circumstances.

"There's a definite sense of exhilaration every time there's an explosion and you're still there afterward," Wright writes. "There's another kind of exhilaration, too. ... Here, the Marines face death together, in their youth. If anyone dies, he will do so surrounded by the very best friends he believes he will ever have.

"In addition to the embarrassing losses of bodily control that 25 percent of all soldiers experience, other symptoms include time dilation (time slowing down or speeding up), vividness, a starkly heightened awaresness of detail, random thoughts, the mind fixating on unimportant sequences; memory loss; and of course, your feelings of sheer terror. In my case, hearing and sight almost become disconnected."

These friends connected by "hip hop, Marilyn Manson and Jerry Springer," Wright discovers, are not a generation born to kill. They are a generation born and bred to try to survive.

Even the Iceman melts at the sight of the human toll:

"I’m going to have to bring this (combat) home with me and live with it. A pilot doesn’t go down and look at the civilians his bombs have hit. Artillery men don’t see the effects of what they do. But us guys on the ground do. This is killing me inside."



08-07-04, 06:05 AM
Tales of battles in the air

Fighter pilots are different, according to two of them, both of whom are veterans of the Vietnam War and live in Laguna Beach.

"A fighter pilot is capable of making life or death decisions under the challenge of fear and uncertainty," retired U.S. Air Corps Col. Don Henry said.

"In the throes of battle, a fighter pilot seems not to like outsiders very much and is not easy company. One often has no idea what he is thinking and not the slightest notion of what his inner life might be. He appears uncomplicated, unreadable, punctilious, always in control, knowing his own mind and usually adept at solving any problem at hand.

"Then having succeed in his task, he smiles that smile, that cavalier, vainglorious, horse's-ass smile, which seems the worst part about him … as if his vocation were some sort of inviolate priesthood … as if only he knew the right mantra, the right face to show the enemy … as if only he could come to terms with the passion of the moment, the wisdom of the longer view and the truth that we are more humanly connected with bizarre behavior than we realize."

Henry has been there, done that — and wrote about it.

His novel, "Thunderchief," is based on his experiences as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, a veteran of 129 combat missions in F-105s, high performance tactical jets, known as the "Thud" or the Thunderchief," that gave the book its title.

"Rather than a book about combat flying, I wanted to give families and an idea of how peer pressure and fear change people — why they come back different," Henry said.

His novel of a fighter pilot's "rite of passage," recounts 24-year-old Ashe Wilcox's struggles to gain respect as combat pilot. He is mentored by an experienced fighter pilot, who insists that he be called Hunter — no rank permitted.

Hunter is a survivor of torture in a POW camp during the Korean War and a survivor of a brutal childhood. Both have left him with emotional scars that he carries with him into combat, but he's happiest when he takes to the skies, seeking the enemy.

His young admirer must deal with the flaws in his hero before he too can soar. Along the way, he must deal with a survival rate that fell below a pilot death for every 88 missions — making a tour of 100 counted missions a real challenge.

Henry said when things get tough he keeps his perspective by remembering that he once had a job where people shot real bullets at him.

"Don Henry is a world-class fighter pilot who gets to the bottom of what makes aerial tigers tick," writes Gen. Charles A. Horner, co-author with Tom Clancy of "Every Man a Tiger." "He captures the excitement of getting shot at that haunts their self-proclaimed supreme confidence. Don Henry's 'Thunderchief' is equal on modern warfare to Stephen Crane's 'Red Badge of Courage.'"

Henry received his wings at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and reported for duty with the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron in Okinawa. During the height of the Vietnam "conflict," Henry flew combat missions into Laos and North Vietnam.

Between tours in the Thud, he served as an operational test pilot in the F-111 aircraft at Nellis. He earned a Silver Star and three Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Henry probably has more in common with retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Charles Quilter than he does with Air Corps pilots who did not fly single-seat, fighter planes in combat.

Quilter flew 252 diverse missions in the marines' Phantom F-4 during a 13-month tour from 1967 to 1968 in Vietnam.

"There are 100,000 pilots in the United States," Quilter said. "Only a handful of them have flown high performance tactical jets and the group that flew in combat is even smaller. I flew in some of the same places as the F-105s. Those guys were in the thick of it.

"Fighter pilots are different from the others. They have to believe in themselves. They are the only ones in the cockpit. They have been described as arrogant. I prefer strongly self-confident."

But, Quilter admits, young fighter pilots think they are bullet proof, what he later heard called the NAFOD syndrome — No Apparent Fear of Death.

Quilter, who served as Marine air historian in Dessert Storm and Iraq, said flying is difficult to explain — not to mention combat pilots.

"Fighter pilots are warriors — it's not popular to say that, but it's what they are," said Quilter.

They must learn to deal with the fact that they have taken a human life.

Don Henry's young fictional pilot exults when he "kills" a MiG, the Russian-built fighter plane, then takes an emotional nose dive when he realizes he also killed the pilot.

"Every one in the pointy end of combat has to deal with the fact that they took a life," said Quilter. "I try not to think about it — it makes you crazy."

The qualities that make fighter pilots are born in them. If they're lucky, they get an opportunity to learn the flying skills for which those qualities are ideally suited.

"The first time I sat in a high performance tactical plane, I said, 'You were meant to do this,'" Quilter said.

The hard part comes when the shooting is over.

Henry quoted "Zorba the Greek."

"Dying isn't hard. Living is hard."

Quilter said, "I can't begin to tell you how hard it is for someone who has lived on the edge, relying on personal skills — to fly a desk. Some fighter pilots fear they will loose their souls."

He made the transition to airline pilot — but twice hopped back into the combat zone as a historian, once after he retired. He also flies a small plane for fun. Quilter, raised in Laguna Beach, lives with his wife Ann, an Air Force brat, in a Laguna Canyon home, rebuilt after the original was destroyed by a mudslide. The Quilters have two children.

After combat duty, Henry trained at the Air Force War College and earned a master's degree in psychology at Troy State University. He worked in several Pentagon departments as a fighter-aircraft-requirements officer and later commanded the 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron, a nuclear F-111 operational unit, completing his active service with the rank of colonel.

Henry has lived in Laguna Beach for 10 years.

"I was in the Air Force for 27 years and worked a lot in research and development in Los Angeles and San Diego," said Henry. "I drove back and forth through Laguna and decided that was where I wanted to live."

Two years ago, he married and moved with his wife, Dixie, to a home in Mystic Hills.

The Pelican Publishing Co. hardcover edition of "Thunderchief" is 296 pages and is available at Latitude 33, Borders, dot coms including Amazon, and by toll-free phone orders to 1-800-843-1724 or 1-888-5-Pelican. Cover price is $22.

• OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652, hand-deliver to 384 Forest Ave., Suite 22; call (949) 494-4321 or fax (949) 494-8979.



08-07-04, 06:06 AM
Marine mom readjusts after deployment to Iraq
Submitted by: MCAS Miramar
Story Identification #: 200485164416
Story by Cpl. Cecilia Sequeira

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. (Aug. 6, 2004) -- Returning home after a long overseas deployment should be a relief, but one Marine mom has found that the transition back to life at home has been challenging even with proper planning.

Cpl. Marivel Morales, an operations clerk at Marine Aircraft Group 16, recently deployed to Al Asad, Iraq. Morales went to Al Asad when her baby was four and a half months old, leaving her active-duty husband as the full time single parent. "We made sure to sit down and talk about our finances, and write everything down, because before I left I was the one who primarily handled all the bills," said Morales.

Although they both prepared, they weren't ready for the unexpected. "I injured myself a month after she left, playing basketball, and she had to come back early. It was hard while she was gone," said Cpl. Gene J. Morales, operations clerk, Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101.

Working as a full-time single parent, he had already become self-reliant. "I came back trying to take care of the daily tasks and he was used to doing it, so it was frustrating. I would go online to pay a bill and he had already paid it," said Marivel. "If I were to do it again, I would communicate more."

Making frequent adjustments stemming from a deployment can be challenging. "A servicemember has to adjust again and again. Leaving home is an adjustment, being in a war zone is another adjustment, coming home is another adjustment, so it is important to ease the transition," said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Berchmanz, Miramar chaplain.

Many Marines come back from combat expecting everything to fall into place as it was before they left, but it is important to acknowledge any changes that have occurred. "You are not coming back from a six-month picnic; you are coming back from a war. Sometimes coming home can be more stressful than the war if the proper adjustments are not made," said the chaplain.

War is not supposed to be easy, so coming back from it shouldn't be expected to be simple either. "Although they are happy to be back, the (wartime) negativity begins to impact them later. The anxiety comes out after they start to unwind," said the chaplain. It is normal to feel combat stress after returning home. There are several places servicemembers can go for counseling if it begins to impact their personal or professional lives, such as the counseling center, chapel, or Branch Medical Clinic.

To avoid adding family problems to the stress of deployment, it is important to keep family involved during the absence. "My husband showed her pictures all the time, and when I called (he) would put the phone near her, " said Marivel.

However, even with constant communication, it is sometimes impossible to preserve the relationship during a long absence. "In the time they are gone, their child is growing up. They may lose their connection. It takes a lot of patience to slowly and gently win back the affection of your children," said Berchmanz. Marivel agreed the return was difficult, "She would reach for her babysitter before she reached for mommy. That was hard. When she would cry she would want daddy because mommy couldn't comfort her."

In those cases, "It is important for families to support and have faith in each other," said the chaplain. "My husband was there to comfort me and tell me that she would come around. He did everything a good daddy would do by not taking away my role as a mother during that uncomfortable period," said the Beeville, Texas native.

The Morales family managed their deployment separation and return adjustment with very little struggle. "I think it was easier because we both knew what to expect. We were ready," said Gene. "You have to really know your spouse," said Marivel.

Not all couples are so fortunate. "The most destructive thing a person can experience is coming home to an emotional warfront. It is a losing (battle)," said Berchmanz. "It all depends on the understanding spouses have when they deploy. If one party is waiting to take advantage of the situation while the other is gone, all hell breaks loose," said the chaplain.

Counseling is helpful in returning a family to balance, said the chaplain. He urges Marines to go to the post deployment brief provided by commands to returning units.

For more information on adjusting after a deployment, speak to a chaplain or call the counseling center at (858) 577-6585.


Since returning from her recent deployment, Cpl. Marivel Morales and daughter Ayrianna spend extra time together to reconnect their parent-child relationship. Photo by: Cpl. Cecilia Sequeira



08-07-04, 06:10 AM
Marines chill out with ice on the packing list
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification #: 20048472521
Story by Sgt. Jose L. Garica

(Aug. 2, 2004) -- It doesn't take much to keep Marines moving in Iraq's hot dusty desert. Give them some ammunition, a mission - maybe even some bad guys to shoot at - just don't forget to serve it all up chilled.

Marines from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment learned that one of the best things a grunt can get on a hot day is some ice-cold water. Now, humvees from the Weapon's Company's Combined Anti-Armor Team make room for coolers filled with the cold stuff.

"Having ice on patrols will get you through because it's so hot," said Staff Sgt. Marcelino R. Rialon, a 35-year-old, from Fresno, Calif., and the section leader for Weapons Company. "Especially during the day, we like having ice cold water."

The mess hall provides Marines with bags of ice but runs out just as it receives it. Marines turned straight to the source - an ice factory right on the base.

"The chow hall doesn't get enough for stock," said Sgt. Corey L. Sather, 24, from Anaheim, Calif., and a squad leader for Weapons Company. "It wasn't a big deal when we first got here, but now it's something we're happy to have during day patrols. It's a huge luxury."

Most of the ice coolers neatly stacked into humvees were issued from supply stores. Still, keeping water cold was such a priority that Marines dug into their pockets and bought more from the camp's exchange.

In fact, ice has become so much a part of the Marines' daily existence, they worry about the refrigeration process. The ice factory went off-line just once and the Marines hope that it doesn't happen again now that August is here.

"The Marines' hearts were crushed when the factory went down," Rialon explained. "We all missed the ice. One day in June, one of my Marines had a digital thermometer that read 133 degrees and now the hottest month of the year is here."

According to Cpl. Fiskerland J. Charlesworth, 24, from Park City, Utah, the cold water has become one of those essential luxuries, or a bit of comfort they never realized they needed until now.

"It's something small, not much to ask for," Charlesworth said. "It's one of those things people take for granted, but for us it's a valuable commodity. It makes the water easier to go down."

The ice, the Marines said, is cool comfort when they climb back in their vehicles.

"They can look forward to drinking something cold and not hot water," Sather said. "The ice factory does makes life a little easier out here in Iraq."

Three bags of ice can fit into each cooler and the ice usually lasts throughout the patrols.

"Regardless of ice or not, we still have to do the mission and go out, but it's really nice to have," Rialon said. "Ice and water is like having a peanut butter jelly sandwich, you have to have both to enjoy it."


Staff Sgt. Marcelino Rialon, 35, from Fresno, Calif., from Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, grabs two bags of ice to fill his cooler with before going out on patrols.
(USMC photo by Sgt. Jose L. Garcia) Photo by: Sgt. Jose L. Garcia



08-07-04, 06:12 AM
Vice Chairman Gen. Peter Pace decorates 1st Marine Division wounded in Iraq
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200486103316
Story by Sgt. Jose E. Guillen

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Aug. 5, 2004) -- The second-highest ranking officer in the Department of Defense, Gen. Peter Pace, decorated seven Marines wounded in battle.

The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pinned Purple Heart medals on the combat-wounded Marines during a visit to Camp Fallujah Aug. 5. The Marines, all from 1st Marine Division's Regimental Combat Team 1, were recovering from a variety of undisclosed wounds at a medical facility run by Bravo Surgical Company, 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Force Service Support Group.

"I know as you are laying there right know, you are saying to yourself, 'You are not a hero,'" Pace told the Marines. "But I tell you, from a guy like me looking at you - I consider you a hero.

"I mentioned to some of your fellow Marines today that what Marines fear most ... that we would let down more that 200 years of tradition and legacy that have been passed down to us," Pace added. "The men in this room don't have to worry about it."

Sgt. Jerry N. McPherson, a 27-year-old from Martinsburg, W.V., was among those who was decorated by Pace. He is an infantryman assigned to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. He suffered shrapnel wounds from a mortar attack.

He said it was an unexpected honor to have the four-star general personally present the Purple Heart. Still, McPherson was eager to get back to full duty and return to his unit.

"There's still a battle to be fought because we still have bad guys out there," McPherson said.

The vice chairman's gesture wasn't lost on the Marines. Marines and sailors alike were struck by the fact he took the time to visit and offer his gratitude to those who were wounded.

Capt. Stefan Sneden, commanding officer for Company B, 1st Tank Battalion, said the impromptu awards ceremony in the crowded room of cots was telling of the bond Marines share.

"That's what's great about the Corps," said Sneden, a 29-year-old from Still Water, Okla. "He made time to come down to a handful of Marines to pay tribute to the sacrifice they're making."

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven F. McCallister, a hospital corpsman who works at the medical ward, said the ceremony was the first he witnessed at the side of a cot. He added that Pace's visit was uplifting.

"It was impressive to see the general show up because we've never had a ceremony like this inside," said McCallister, a 24-year-old from Florence, S.C. "It's important our patients get recognized because they're the one's who are out there living in fighting holes."

The morale of those recovering from their wounds was visibly high, Sneden added. The Marines didn't act as if they were incapacitated, but ready to rejoin the ranks and step out on more missions.

"When you go in a room of wounded Marines, some expect to see down faces," Sneden explained. "But in fact, they just want to finish the job."

"General Conway and I and the rest of the Marines have nothing but total respect for you," Pace added. "You make us proud, honored and humbled to be in the same room with you."

Along with McPherson, the other Marines decorated were:

Lance Cpl. Douglas R. Curl Jr., a 19-year-old from Willows, Calif., assigned to Company G, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

Lance Cpl. Jeremy K. Kanitz, a 19-year-old from Olney, Ill., with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

Lance Cpl. Richard A. Ross, a 22-year-old from Rockledge, Fla., assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

Cpl. Daniel B. Bundner, a 24-year-old from Madison, Wis., with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

Cpl. Alexander Mobley, a 24-year-old from DeRidder, La., assigned to Company B, 1st Tank Battalion.

1st Sgt. Alan D. Miller, a 43-year-old from Temecula, Calif., assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.


Gen. Peter Pace, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff talks with Lance Cpl. Douglas Curl, from Company G, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. Pace decorated several Marines who were recently wounded in area fighting.
(USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan Alan Heusdens) Photo by: Lance Cpl. Nathan Alan Huesdens