View Full Version : HMM-261 aids ‘sting’ operation in Iraq

08-14-04, 08:32 AM
HMM-261 aids ‘sting’ operation in Iraq <br />
Submitted by: 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing <br />
Story Identification #: 200481475053 <br />
Story by Sgt. Nathan K. LaForte <br />
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AL ASAD, Iraq (Aug. 14, 2004) -- Under...

08-14-04, 08:33 AM
Radical Iraqi cleric's aides press for amnesty for fighters in negotiations to end crisis in Najaf <br />
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By: TODD PITMAN - Associated Press <br />
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NAJAF, Iraq -- U.S. forces suspended a major offensive...

08-14-04, 08:34 AM
U.S. troops fight militants in Najaf cemetery tombstone by tombstone

By: TODD PITMAN - Associated Press

NAJAF, Iraq -- The platoon leader's call came crackling over Charlie Company radios: "We're taking RPG fire, 800 meters! Small arms fire, 300 meters!"

With night falling, the soldiers of the 1st Calvary Division were being attacked again by militants creeping tombstone by tombstone toward them in Najaf's sprawling cemetery, a killing field neither side has managed to secure in more than a week of sporadic fighting.

"You have to give them credit," Sgt. 1st Class Mike Dewilde said after a brief firefight with insurgents Thursday in a cemetery zone the military has code-named the Bronx. "They do an amazing amount with what little they have."

The men of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment had been patrolling a dusty road that cuts into the graveyard's heart for eight hours to prevent militants loyal to firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr from moving north.

They had discovered and blown up four bombs laid on rock-strewn paths. They'd been attacked by mortars that came close but hurt nobody.

When pockets of al-Sadr fighter's got too close, they called in Apache helicopter gunships and pressed forward with only the faintest resistance, then pulled back.

Mostly, it was quiet, and Charlie Company commander Capt. Patrick McFall spent a lot of time gazing over a computerized satellite map of the graveyard in his armored Humvee.

Near dusk, however, the crackle of gunfire and explosions rang out again.

Several Bradley fighting vehicles and half a dozen Humvees sped up to a deserted intersection on the cemetery's northeastern edge, scanning the tombstone-filled horizon with binoculars and gun turrets.

Sgt. 1st Class Mike Dewilde, leader of the 3rd Platoon, told McFall eight men with rocket-propelled grenades and "multiple snipers" had been spotted in the graveyard and buildings rising behind it near the gold-domed Imam Ali shrine.

U.S. commanders are under strict orders to avoid damaging the shrine for fear of enraging Iraq's Shiite majority and Shiites worldwide.

For that reason, they maintain positions in the cemetery about 800 yards away.

Sgt. Lyle Pete, 24, of Gardnerville, Nev., said he'd seen three men repeatedly firing from a building near the shrine. "They jump out and fire RPGs and jump back inside," he said.

"This is the second time today we've taken RPG-fire from that location," said 30-year-old McFall of Harker Heights, Texas.

With the crackle of light gunfire echoing through the graveyard, a mortar round thundered behind the men, then an RPG round exploded to their front. Smoke rose from the blasts.

A small infantry unit of about 15 men scrambled forward looking for firing positions. Some lay in the middle of a small path leading south.

A Bradley positioned in the road starting pumping thunderous rounds from its 25 mm cannon, and gunners perched on four machine-gun mounted Humvees began shooting.

A three-man team led by Dewilde ran up the steps of a mausoleum whose square, walled-in concrete roof provided ideal cover. They laid rifles across the upper edge of the wall and began shooting.

"Welcome to the Bronx," joked McFall.

The military has divided the cemetery, one of the largest in the Muslim world, into zones named after Manhattan boroughs.

Tense and sweating, two soldiers started to sing as they looked for targets.

"One little, two little, three little Indians!"

Dewilde cut them off. "Shut-up!"

The two laid an M-240 Bravo machine-gun along the wall and began peeling off bursts of 7.62 mm ammunition. "Hold this!" the shooter yelled, as a second soldier fed in an ammunition belt. Spent shell casings spat into the air.

After a few minutes, orders came to move ahead.

Laden in heavy body armor and helmets, the infantrymen jogged behind their huge Bradley as it pushed further into the cemetery.

Advancing slowly, they ducked behind tombs and poked flashlights mounted on their guns down crypts.

There was no way to know where the militants were.

"The problem is these guys can hide behind anything out here," said Spc. Joel Klootwyk of Knoxville, Iowa, poking a gun over a cemetery wall. "You gotta wait for them to shoot before you know where they're at."

After a 10-minute walk, the three-man group burst into a white-walled mausoleum. The entryway was empty, the glass in its arched windows shattered.

They ran cautiously up the steps and onto the rooftop, scanning the graveyard below. The lights of the Imam Ali shrine sparkled in the distance.

There was no sign of their attackers.

"The closer we get, the scarcer they get," said Dewilde, 37, of Gatesville, Texas. "When we move forward, they move back."

Overwhelming American firepower is clearly the reason. But it hasn't stopped guerrillas from sneaking up as close to the troops as possible.

When Dewilde ordered his men to head back toward the Bronx, they began poking flashlights into dark tombs again. Most had metal doors that led to small rooms.

Dewilde said his platoon had been searching crypts for four days.

"We've found cigarettes still burning, warm tea still in the cups," he said.

They've also found rockets and ammunition left behind.

As a quiet night set in, the U.S. troops climbed back onto rooftops, surveying the cemetery through the green glow of night-vision goggles.

"You gotta give 'em credit," Dewilde said. "They got guts."



08-14-04, 08:34 AM
Powell calls insurgents outlaws and says al-Sadr should answer Iraqi charges <br />
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By: BARRY SCHWEID - Associated Press <br />
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WASHINGTON -- Denouncing Iraqi insurgent leader Muqtada al-Sadr and his...

08-14-04, 08:36 AM
Lejeune Marines search for terrorists in rural farmland
Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200481453837
Story by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes

CAMP MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq (Aug. 12, 2004) -- It had already been a long day for Cpl. Lonnie R. Billings, a driver for the civil affairs detachment with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, here. The 21-year-old from Nashville, Ark., grabbed sleep when he could because he was in for a long night.

"We had a few briefs during the evening and I had to be on my truck at two a.m.," Billings explained. "I've probably had about an hour of sleep tonight. That was during my chow break."

Little sleep and missed meals are almost a rule here. This night was no exception. Billings and a group of the Marines were headed out to the farmland surrounding this city. They were on the hunt for terrorists.

"We're headed out to cordon and search this house and try to catch a possible terrorist," Billings added. "Some of these things go pretty quickly and some of them last all day. I just hope it goes smooth."

Elements of the battalion, including light armored vehicles and reconnaissance Marines, departed the base keeping their headlights off to keep the element of surprise on their target.

While everyone loaded their vehicles and checked their gear Billings smoked a cigarette and waited for the order to move. A scout-sniper team piled into the back of his vehicle and talked about shooting distances and effects of wind - shoptalk to keep themselves alert.

Elements of the battalion rolled out the front gate on time and split off in different directions to their separate targets. For Billings, the target was a farmhouse in a rural area. The vehicles weaved in and out of the sparse civilian traffic on the road at the early hour and finally hit the dirt roads leading to their objective.

The road they had planned to use washed out and they had to navigate around a canal to get to the target house. Dust kicked up into the dawn air as humvees bumped along the terrain. The convoy stopped short of the objective and Marines dismounted. An element of Marines set out to conduct the initial knock while attachments hung back to wait for the house to be searched.

"I've never been in a cordon and knock that has gone completely right," said Cpl. William B. Breaus, a 23-year-old from Houston.

He added every one is different, so it's hard to execute it according to a set plan.

"We basically did what a fire team could do," Breaus explained. "We set up in an overwatch position to provide security in case we were needed."

Marines knocked on the door of the house and through a translator, all the occupants were led outside and the house was searched. One man was detained and no contraband was recovered.

"When I tell my buddies back home I did a cordon and knock, they think it's all high speed, with us charging into a building. It's nothing like that," Breaus said. "We're really polite the whole time and ask them if they wouldn't mind stepping outside so we can look in their house."

When the morning sun had cleared the horizon the Marines walked back to their vehicles with their detainee. After making sure all their vehicles were in working order, they moved back to the battalion's field command and operations center where they checked in and headed back to the base.

They hadn't found a cache of weapons or a group of terrorists plotting their next attack against Marines, but the morning hadn't been a complete waste. Other units in the battalion captured a mortar system, rocket-propelled grenades, a medium machine gun and targeted personalities.


Marines from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, civil affairs team prepare to enter a house during a cordon and knock recently.
(USMC photo by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes) Photo by: Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes



08-14-04, 08:37 AM
7 ‘Greyhawk’ Marines become fathers in Iraq
Submitted by: 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
Story Identification #: 200481472611
Story by Sgt. Nathan K. LaForte

AL TAQADDUM, Iraq (Aug. 14, 2004) -- “By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys … It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battlefield but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, ‘Our Father who art in Heaven,’” - Gen. Douglas MacArthur, former Supreme Commander of Allied Powers near the end of World War II.

MacArthur vocalized the realization of the stark contrast between the duties of a soldier and a father. Many men throughout history have found themselves balancing the two.

Seven Marines from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, have recently realized this disparity with the birth of their children. Seven new babies have been born to seven different fathers in the squadron since the “Greyhawks” have arrived at Al Taqaddum, Iraq in February.

The Marines have mixed feelings about being fathers, and yet being so far away from home, claimed Capt. Aaron P. Antrim, pilot training officer and CH-46E Sea Knight pilot, HMM-161. They are happy about their new children, but have other mixed feelings as well, he added.

“It was disappointing not being there,” the 28-year-old said. “My wife and I understand the job I have and it’s something you push through.”

With the birth of Eden, April 2, Antrim and his wife Rachel now have two boys, Eden, the newborn, and Asher, their oldest.

Fellow fathers in the squadron shared Antrim’s feeling of disappointment, noted Cpl. Robert S. Phillips, embarkation chief, HMM-161.

“It was scary not being there,” the Montgomery, Ala., native said. “It was the only birth I’ve missed. She did have a lot of support back home, but it was still rough not being there.”

With the June 26 addition of Alec Owen Hyde to the Phillips clan, the 26-year-old Marine corporal and his wife Carolyn now have four children. Their other children are Elisse Marin, 6; Anna Nicole, 4; and Robert Scott Jr., 2. Phillips joked that his youngest son “is the last one, so he gets all the leftover names.”

The support the CH-46E Sea Knight squadron has given the globe-trotting fathers in their time of worry has been second to none, claimed Cpl. Scott J. Hardegree, aircrew training manager, HMM-161.

“The day she went in the hospital, the (executive officer) came and told me she was in labor,” the 26-year-old Carrollton, Ga., native explained. “He gave me a satellite phone and the hospital number and told me to use it as much as I needed. It made it a whole lot easier.”

“If I didn’t have these guys and know them so well, it would’ve been much harder,” the young corporal added. “The squadron is good about supporting its people.”

Hardegree and his wife, April, welcomed their youngest of two daughters, Cady, into their family April 20. Their oldest daughter is named Mikayla.

The support the squadron gives the Marines is good, but the support provided to their families has made the difference since the “Greyhawks” departure in February, according to 1st Lt. Steve M. Clifton, HMM-161 adjutant and Sea Knight pilot. This support net stateside has been headed up by the squadron’s Key Volunteers Network.

“I knew she was in labor, but the KVN called the duty and they called here when she was actually giving birth,” he said of his wife, Sherry Marie. “It helped a lot. (The KVN) helps to pass e-mails and keep us updated. The family can’t do much (to keep in contact with us) because they are with our wives, so they can give a simple call.”

“One of the (commanding officer’s) big points before we left is to take care of the families so we can concentrate on what we’re doing over here,” the 32-year-old Dekalb, Ill., native added. “It makes everything safer.”

Clifton’s wife gave birth to Abigail Marie June 30, who is their only child.

Antrim agreed with Clifton about the strength derived from the KVN.

“Without the KVN, you won’t have the support network that the wives need,” he claimed. “It’s easier having that so they can push information back here and get it in the United States.”

“It shows the caring level,” he added. “They go out of the way to provide for the family members of the squadron. I think a strong (spouses) network directly correlates to a strong squadron, especially on deployment.”

The “Greyhawks’” other new additions include Dana C. Hall III, the fourth child born May 21 to Sgt. Dana C. Hall, individual material readiness list manager, and his wife, Deanna; Ava Mae Kull, the second child born June 14 to Capt. Timothy A. Kull, assistant S-1 officer, and wife, Stephanie; and Kalaura Mae, the second daughter born April 26 to Lance Cpl. Stanley O. Moore, maintenance administration clerk, and his wife, Mikita.

With the great distance between the new babies and their warrior fathers, some of the father’s have expressed disappointment at not seeing their new child, but also admiration for the wives who have gone through so much, Clifton said.

“She is going through the pregnancy herself,” he said. “When no one is there she’s got to deal with it by herself. She’s a trooper.”

The distance is hard for both parties, Hardegree echoed.

“I don’t know if you can compare being here in combat or being home with your spouse in combat and not knowing,” he explained. “I know it’s hard. She takes care of the kids, pays the bills and took over the role of the head of the household. I’m very proud of her.”

With the “Greyhawks” tour of duty in Iraq coming to an end, emotions are running hot for the proud fathers of the squadron. Their emotions and desires are summed up in the heartfelt words of Phillips.

“I’m doing fine and I’ll be home soon,” Phillips said, more to his wife than anyone else. “You’ve done a great job and you raised the kids in my absence.

“You were able to step up and be a single parent by circumstance and not complain,” he added. “I am so proud of you.”


Left to right) Cpl. Robert S. Phillips, father of newborn son Alec Owen Hyde; Cpl. Scott J. Hardegree, father of newborn daughter Cady; (back) 1st Lt. Steve M. Clifton, father of his first and only child, Abigail Marie; and Capt. Aaron P. Antrim, father to newborn son Eden. Each of the Marines is attached to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, which is currently deployed to Iraq. The four Marines have all also had to endure their deployment to Iraq while their wives have given birth to their new children.
Photo by: Sgt. Nathan K. LaForte



08-14-04, 10:07 AM
Clashes Pit Troops Against Sadr's Forces <br />
Amid signs of a possible showdown in Najaf, fighting erupts in other Shiite Muslim areas. <br />
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By Henry Chu, Times Staff Writer <br />
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BAGHDAD — As the city of...

08-14-04, 11:02 AM
Former CENTCOM commander Franks talks about the war and its critics

By Patrick Dickson, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Wednesday, August 11, 2004

WASHINGTON — Tommy Franks wants young commanders on the ground in Iraq to remember one thing: The desire to protect your troops is noble, but you cannot forget the mission.

Franks sat down with Stars and Stripes reporters Monday during a stop in Washington to promote his book, “American Soldier.”

The former head of the U.S. Central Command and retired Army four-star thinks balance is the key — the U.S. military simply cannot lapse back into a mind-set common in the wake of the 1996 Khobar Towers attack, in which 19 U.S. airmen were killed by truck bombers in a military housing complex in Saudi Arabia.

“There was such a reaction inside the military to that,” Franks said Monday, “that pretty soon, we had commanders payin’ more attention to how to protect the troops — whether they were Army or Air Force or Navy — over in the region, than they were to doin’ their jobs.

“I think it would be easy to say that actually, the behavior in Iraq is so fractious right now that the mission is force protection. That would be a mistake.

“I think the balance of, ‘How can we protect troops — to go down the road, over the hill, through the village, and do what has to be done’ — if we’re going to move forward in Iraq, with the need to secure those kids as they’re goin’ through the village, that’s a very, very difficult thing.

“And if I were counseling young commanders about to be on the ground in Iraq, I would tell them to soul-search, and to pay very close attention to their own view of how to balance force protection and accomplishment of the mission in this most dangerous place. Because you have to do both.”

Franks said the continuing instability in Iraq is the inevitable result of quick action that prevented even greater hardships for troops and for the Iraqi people.

He said that it is impossible to tell, without the benefit of a few years’ hindsight, whether postwar planning or the sheer enormousness of the task is the reason for the continuing security problems.

“There are people who say, ‘Well, if we just had’ — as (retired Army Chief of Staff) Gen. [Eric] Shinseki said — ‘If we’d just had a quarter of a million people on the ground, we wouldn’t have had a problem.’ That might be right, but I don’t know that.

“But I do know this: We would never have gotten a quarter of a million people staged for operation in Iraq and been able to get the job done through major combat as quickly as we did, because the Iraqis would’ve had at least the chance to destroy their own water infrastructure and flood the south, to destroy their own oil infrastructure, to shoot missiles into Saudi Arabia, into Israel, into Jordan, and so it’s very difficult to say, ‘Well, ya just shoulda had more people.’”

But more people seems to be a recurring theme in the Iraq situation. Critics have castigated the Pentagon for calling up high numbers of Guard and Reserves, extending tours for those in Iraq and even calling up troops from the Individual Ready Reserve.

Franks said, however, that while extensions are resisted, and when they happen, regrettable, even more painful to servicemembers and families would be the feeling that nothing good was coming of it.

“That’s a sad thing, but wouldn’t it be really sad if we were getting our people hurt and killed, and not accomplishing something?”

Franks praised the media’s coverage of events in Iraq, citing Abu Ghraib as a particularly embarrassing but crucial story.

“If you’re gonna go to war, you get it complete with mistakes, I mean they actually happen, and you see people make mistakes at every level, during military operations. That however … does not mean that America doesn’t have the right to know.”

Franks held court on a range of topics, including Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Franks said he intends to see the film, and said, “I do not believe that commanders should deny their troops the ability to see it.”

Franks told The Associated Press that the recent criticism of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry by former Vietnam compatriots was hyperbole, saying Kerry was “absolutely” qualified to be commander in chief.

Kerry told Stripes on Friday that he believed that repairing the Bush administration’s “broken relationships” would be key to fighting the war on terror.

Franks acknowledged the importance of diplomacy, but said practical considerations sometimes determine the nation’s course of action.

“I believe relationships have been broken, and I guess if I’m notorious for anything, I believe it’s the comment where I said: It’s multiple choice. Fight ’em over there, or fight ’em here.

“And reporters on several occasions have asked me, ‘General, what do you think about being perceived as a bully? Not only you personally, but what do you think about the United States of America being perceived as a bully?’ And I’ve said, and I’ll continue to say, when it comes to protecting my liberty and my grandkids, it works for me.”



08-14-04, 11:03 AM
Transcript of Stars and Stripes' interview with Tommy Franks <br />
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Stars and Stripes <br />
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Retired U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks sat down with Stars and Stripes on Monday during a stop in Washington to...

08-14-04, 11:04 AM
But it’s troubling to me, that we continue to want to talk about the Shinseki-Rumsfeld-who was right and all of that. That actually is not … that is not worth the amount of energy that we put into it, because it’s conceivable that both are right.

But if we try to put a point on it and say there should have been a large number of troops immediately, I would take issue with that, because there couldn’t have been. Otherwise we would not have achieved surprise, and it would have been a very bloody fight to try to remove the regime. That’s what I believe.

Stripes: The 1st Infantry Division is supposed to come out of there in December. It’s quite possible that they get extended, like the 1st Armored Division did.

Franks: I hope not. Whether it’s the 1st ID, the 1st Armored Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, or whatever. One wants these units to rotate on schedule. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to make it. But I believe everybody, to include Secretary Rumsfeld believes, that when we don’t make it, it’s painful. Because not only do you have the youngsters, you have the families at home, and you have expectations that we’re gonna make these rotations. The only thing worse, and probably here’s the soundbite: The only thing worse than disappointing our kids, would be to not get the job done. And so, if you wind up having to extend people, it’s undesirable, but I think in some cases, necessary.

Stripes: You talked in your book a little bit about the problems with the hollow army, in post-Vietnam Germany, in particular, some of the people you had to straighten out over there.

Franks: That was an interesting time in my life …

Stripes: USA Today said that some of the Guard and Reserve units that are reconstituting after coming back home are experiencing some … attendance problems.

Franks: I’m sure. I think that recruiting is gonna be, uh, is gonna be difficult, especially for the Guard. I don’t know how difficult it’ll be. But I believe that our balance between the active and reserve [components] is not correct right now, I’ve said this to many people. We, in the post Cold War, or in the post-Vietnam era, we decided that we’d put a lot of functions in the reserve components. Coming out of Vietnam, that makes all the sense in the world, because we were preparing for the Cold War. And if we were gonna have a war, we need to get everyone involved in that thing and go ahead and have a big war.

It’s a different thing when you’re fighting crises, like in Panama, or in Haiti or in Afghanistan, or Iraq, although a large war, it is certainly not, I mean, it ain’t a World War II.

And so when you have multiple calls for the use of forces, if you’re structured the way our military is structured right now, your reserve components get called virtually on the same day your active guys do. So in order for America to go into a crisis situation, we’re callin’ the Guard up immediately. Then lo and behold, if it turns out we have a two-day war instead of a one-day war, then the Guard winds up goin’ a couple of times, and that is not the way we’d like to have that.

What I’ve said, and I’ll continue to say it, is the balance inside the Guard, and the balance inside the active component, is probably not right, right now. I’ve been asked by a hundred reporters, do we need to have a larger Army, Navy, Air Force, whatever. And I say, you know, it would be easy and convenient to say, well, the ones we have right now are stretched, and so, yeah, we need to have a larger force, but I can’t say it right now, because I don’t know if it’s large enough or not. I do know that the internals of it are wrong. And here’s what I mean:

If you look at the MOSs inside the United States Army, you’ll find that in many, many cases, they haven’t been [deployed] at all. And you find other MOSs that are queuein’ up for second trips, and probably soon third trips. Now what does that tell ya? Does it tell ya, we need more Army? Or does it tell ya we need to reclassify some that are not in the high-demand MOSs into the higher-demand MOSs? I don’t know, and I think it would be pretty capricious to just say, OK, let’s move the artillerymen. Let’s move the tankers. What I think is that the Army needs to do a pretty thorough study. And I think it would be an interesting number, if we were to ask ourselves, “What percentage of the troops in the United States Army, whatever it is – 480,000, wherever they stand – what percentage of that 480,000 active component have served in Iraq?”

My guess is that you would believe that that percentage is real high. And it is not. And so that doesn’t say that we need a bigger Army, but it does say, maybe we ought to sort it out on the inside and get everybody in the right job.

Stripes: How long do you think the rebalancing would take?

Franks: I don’t know; I think that’s a tough thing. But I’ll tell you this: I have no more respect for anyone in uniform than I do [Army Chief of Staff] Pete Schoomaker. I’ve known him only since we were captains. He has a sense of this that’s far better than I or many other people would have, and I suspect, and I have not talked with him about this, I suspect that if you asked him about this point I’m making, he would tell you we’ll finish the study on _____, and we’ll finish the study by _____, and I’ll suspect he’s already doin’ it.

I know we need more cops. We need more military police, I know we need more military intelligence linguists, we need more civil affairs people and the people who are serving in those jobs right now know it ‘cuz they’re meeting themselves comin’ and goin’.

Stripes: Let me put you on the spot, then. There’s been many reports in the major media that we’re kicking gays out who are linguists. Think that’s the right thing to do?

Franks: I absolutely support ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ I’m a hundred percent believer in that; that’s the policy of our country, and that’s the policy of our military. And so, if we have shortfalls, and we have people who are livin’ within the confines of that policy, then that’s where we ought to be.

Stripes: [Supreme Allied Commander of Europe U.S. Marine Corps] Gen. [James] Jones is talking about lily pads – moving bases south, moving bases east to be closer to the hotspots …

Franks: I think it’s great.

Stripes: Guys would be without their families …

Franks: Yup. We lived apart for two years; Cathy and I lived apart in Korea, because I was up in 2nd Infantry Division, and she was down in Yongsan. Now we were in Korea together, but we didn’t live together. And when things were not very intense, we saw each other once a week. When things were intense, then it was kinda like hardship tour.

Where you get in trouble with a thing like lily pads, is with countries in Europe, who will be very concerned about the remaking of our force structure in the traditional footprint areas.

But if you look at the Middle East, and you think about where the countries of Central Asia are located, then you will start to say, well, if you’re gonna have a given force structure, and I don’t know what it is, let’s just say 65,000 [troops in Europe], I don’t know what it is, and we have that posture in a little different way, I think it is more relevant to the world in which we live than we are currently configured, which is relevant to the Cold War. So I agree with Jones.

Stripes: What about the notion, [myself] having gone into the Air Force in 1981 when Europe was a distinct possibility [as an assignment], is it a recruiting minus to tell people they’re going to go to Uzbekistan rather than Germany?

Franks: I don’t know. I know that it was tough to recruit for Korea. You know? For a long time. I remember tellin’ airmen that they were goin’ to Osan Air Base. That was not greeted with immediately … I mean, would you rather do that, or would you rather go to Schweinfurt? Everybody’d rather go to Schweinfurt. So I don’t know. Having spent – Cathy and I spent seven years in Germany, and also having spent an awful lot of time in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and down there, there’s a certain package of young airmen and soldiers, and all that, who are fascinated by the opening of these recently Soviet countries. And so, I don’t know how it’d turn out. But I think the Uzbeks would like to see more of us down there, maybe the Kyrgyz as well, so lily pads is probably a pretty good idea.

Stripes: For the global war on terror, what do you think is the single most important thing that a military commander needs to learn about what they’re facing right now?

Franks: Boy, that’s a good question. [Pauses.] Balance. The need to balance force protection with mission. I think it would be easy to say that actually, the behavior in Iraq is so fractious right now that the mission is force protection. That would be a mistake.

The two ordinates of command for any organization are accomplishing the mission and protecting the force. I think the balance of, “How can we protect troops – to go down the road, over the hill, through the village, and do what has to be done,” if we’re going to move forward in Iraq, with the need to secure those kids as they’re goin’ through the village, that’s a very, very difficult thing. And if I were counseling young commanders about to be on the ground in Iraq, I would tell them to soul-search, and to play very close attention to their own view of how to balance force protection and accomplishment of the mission in this most dangerous place. Because you have to do both.


08-14-04, 11:05 AM
You’ll remember a time when we came out of Khobar Towers , where we had what I call the Schwalier Effect . There was such concern that – pretty soon he’s in trouble; the Washington blame game came...

08-14-04, 02:12 PM
Mid-tour leaves a welcome break for deployed Marines

Submitted by: 1st Marine Division
Story Identification #: 200481461621
Story by Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr

CAMP RIPPER, Iraq (Aug. 13, 2004) -- Lance Cpl. Aaron M Switala just got back from two weeks' leave in the United States. He's glad it's all over. He needs the rest.

"I sleep much more here than I did when I was home," said the 23-year-old from Lower Burrell, Pa., who is assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7's Headquarters Company. "When you get there, you realize you only have two weeks, so does everyone else. You never have a free moment and you're always trying to do a million things at once."

Many of the Marines in the regiment's headquarters are planning on deployments equaling about a year. Some are getting the chance to take a couple weeks' leave to break up their deployment.

The chance to take some time off isn't lost on even the youngest Marines.

"When we're state side ... it's nice having leave," said Pfc. Brandon D. Carroll, a 22-year-old from Decatur, Ala. "But we have weekends and all the other things that go with being in California. Out here, we have nothing. Getting two weeks is well worth it. I won't complain about two."

Taking leave was never so different for Switala. He went from a combat zone to his home in a matter of a couple days.

"It took me a few days to get over it," he explained. "But after that, I was able to make up for it. I had a great time visiting family."

Switala was even able to make it home in time for his best friend's wedding.

Many here are appreciative of getting the chance to go home.

"I extended to do another seven months," said Lance Cpl. Nicholas E. Spiewak, a 20-year-old from Hanover Park, Ill. "Getting two weeks of leave is great. It'll really help in dealing with what we do out here."

Married Marines with children were given first considerations when choosing who and when a servicemember goes on leave. The rest of the leave blocks are randomly distributed throughout the sections.

"I think it will help a lot of us here," Carroll added. "It'll help me stay sane. The two weeks may be a tease, but it's one we're all happy to take."


Pfc. Brandon D. Carroll, 22, an infantryman with Headquarters Company from Decatur, Ala., checks out pictures sent to him from family and friends. Carroll is one of the many Marines serving more than one year tours. His two week leave period is less than a month away.
(USMC Photo by Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.)
Photo by: Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.



08-14-04, 05:28 PM
Marines who served in Iraq are decorated
August 12,2004
Pat Coleman
Sun Journal Staff

CHERRY POINT -- Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England, who said on Wednesday during his tour of the base that part of his role was to recognize great people in the military, presented two awards to Cherry Point Marines who served in Iraq.

At a ceremony held at Marine Air Support Squadron 1, England presented Sgt. Shaun R. Donahue with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, with Combat Distinguishing Device, for his actions as an explosive ordnance disposal technician in Iraq.

According to the citation, Donahue "displayed exceptional presence of mind and technical proficiency" while clearing more than 52,000 foreign ordnance items and over 3,000 enemy weapons, while he was exposed to small arms fire and indirect fire. Donahue's actions with Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 contributed to the establishment of six forward arming refueling points and three forward operating bases while Marines advanced north through Iraq.

"He was a key asset in foreign ordnance and weapons research and identification, contributing to the recovery of several foreign ordnance items identified as intelligence sensitive," the citation said.

Cpl. Adam M. Youngman, who was wounded in action on May 13, 2004, was awarded the Purple Heart by England.

The Purple Heart award was established by Gen. George Washington at Newburgh, N. Y., on Aug. 7, 1782.

According to the Cherry Point Public Affairs Office, England also participated in a promotion ceremony, conducted by 2d Marine Aircraft Wing commander Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Moore.

Cpl. Michael T. Ellis, promoted to sergeant, and Lance Cpl. Willie J. Rutledge Jr., promoted to corporal, received their new chevrons and promotion warrants from the general and the Secretary of the Navy.

England thanked the Marines for their service, answered Marines' questions and took a short tour of a static display at MASS-1, before his departure.