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08-16-05, 12:21 PM
August 22, 2005

Afghan heat wave strikes 2/3

An ongoing heat wave in Afghanistan is forcing the leathernecks and sailors of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, to keep track of the temperature hourly to stave off heat casualties, according to an Aug. 8 Corps press release.

With daytime temperatures averaging 115 degrees, water must be kept in the shade or it becomes too hot to drink, the release said.

The unit’s officers must take the weather into consideration when planning operations and assigning workloads because of the risk of personnel succumbing to the heat.

When Marines conduct patrols, they must wear a flak vest with two heavy plates, a helmet and ammo pouches, along with other gear such as first-aid kits. The load is usually about 60 pounds and must be worn while outside of the forward operating base.

Vietnam MIAs’ remains found

The remains of 12 service members listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War have been identified and are returning home, 37 years after the troops died in a fierce battle near the Laos-Vietnam border, the Defense Department announced Aug 9.

The 11 Marines and one soldier are the largest group of MIAs identified since the war, according to the military.

Five of them will be buried by their families. The other seven will be buried as a group in Arlington National Cemetery in October, said Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s missing personnel office.

Villagers, former Vietnamese soldiers and American survivors helped investigators narrow their search to three excavation sites in 1998 and 1999, where they recovered the remains.

The Marines identified include Cpl. Gerald E. King; Lance Cpls. Joseph F. Cook, Raymond T. Heyne, James R. Sargent, Donald W. Mitchell and Thomas W. Fritsch; and Pfcs. Robert Lopez, Thomas J. Blackman, Paul S. Czerwonka, Barry L. Hempel and William D. McGonigle. The soldier was Sgt. Glenn E. Miller.

Ollie North examines battles

Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North is back from the war zone after collecting footage for “The New Face of War in Iraq,” part of his Fox News Channel series “War Stories,” in which he travels the globe to highlight true stories of battles that have shaped American military history.

North and his crew already have traveled to Afghanistan, the Philippines, France, Germany, England, Australia, Pakistan and six times to Iraq to document and explore military feats for the show.

North has interviewed people associated with America’s armed conflicts, including a man who served as Hitler’s personal assistant.

Footage from North’s travels also is featured on the new FX television show “Over There.”

Iraqi buried at Arlington

An Iraqi Air Force pilot was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Aug. 11, the first interment there of an Iraqi citizen.

The remains of Capt. Ali Abass were buried with the remains of four members of a U.S. Air Force team who died beside him when their plane crashed near the Iranian border.

Even after the United States withdraws from Iraq, “there will be long-term personal relationships” between the pilots and aircrews of the two nations, said Lt. Gen. Michael Wooley, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command.

Abass was popular with the Americans because of an earlier incident, according to an Air Force statement. After he and a U.S. officer were forced to make an emergency landing on an Iraqi road, some vehicles approached. Abass had the American hide behind a nearby sand berm, then convinced the visitors that he worked for the Iraqi agriculture department.

Wooley said the team that died was scouting for emergency landing sites for future use when the Comp Air 7SL plane went down May 30. The cause of the crash, near Jalula, Iraq, remains under investigation, but Wooley said there was no indication of hostile fire.

Pendleton gets punchy

Officials at Camp Pendleton, Calif., hosted a boxing match Aug. 9 as a salute to the troops, according to the Aug. 10 San Diego Union-Tribune.

The six-bout card, which was aired on ESPN but was not open to the public, was headlined by lightweight champion Julio Diaz and 370-pound heavyweight Eric “Butterbean” Esch.

Admission was free for the service members who crowded around the ring at Pendleton’s “main side” football field. Money earned through concession sales was donated to the Corps.

“This is an exciting time,” said Lt. Gen. John Sattler, commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force. “This gives Marines and sailors who have been forward in the fight [the opportunity] to watch good, clean competition.”

The Sycuan Indian tribe, which spent about a quarter-million dollars bringing the fights to Pendleton, is looking into bringing boxing to Marines on deployment.

Fonda dodges radio show

Jerry Newberry, host of the Veterans of Foreign Wars-affiliated radio program, “The National Defense,” asked actress Jane Fonda to answer a few questions about her decision to protest the war in Iraq. But Fonda, through her publicist, declined, according to an Aug. 3 statement by the public relations firm representing the program.

“The National Defense” is a program dedicated to issues affecting veterans. “We ask tough, but respectful questions to our guests,” said Newberry, director of communications for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Fonda says she intends to take a cross-country bus tour to call for an end to U.S. military operations in Iraq.

During a 1972 trip to North Vietnam, Fonda spoke on behalf of the North Vietnamese government when she said American prisoners of war were being treated humanely and condemned U.S. soldiers as “war criminals.” She later denounced the POWs as liars for claiming they had been tortured.


08-16-05, 12:23 PM
August 22, 2005
Around the Corps
Compiled from military and other public sources.


Marines testify against suspects

Cpl. Matthew B. Cree and fellow members of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, went to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq in Baghdad on Aug. 10 to testify against detainees they apprehended earlier in their deployment.

Coalition forces throughout Iraq have apprehended suspected insurgents and processed them through the Iraqi legal system from unit temporary holding areas up to the court in Baghdad.

“The Marines are going to the hearing, where they will be witnesses in the cases against those they have detained,” said Capt. Carlos M. Davila, judge advocate for the battalion.

Cree and many of the Marines patrolled through local towns throughout the deployment. They detained people for possession of illegal weapons, ammunition, mortar systems and anti-coalition propaganda.

The Marines, after detaining insurgents, go to court, where they meet with a judge and the evidence is laid out at an investigative hearing. Questions are asked of the Marines as the judge sorts through the evidence.

RCT-2 wraps up Quick Strike

Operation Quick Strike, aimed at disrupting insurgent activities in the cities of Haditha, Haqliniyah and Barwanah, ended Aug. 10.

Marines discovered nine car bombs, three because of local citizens’ tips. The rest were uncovered by Marines with Regimental Combat Team 2 in a garage used to rig the vehicles with explosives for attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, according to a 2nd Marine Division press release.

The operation, which began Aug. 3, also netted 28 explosive devices made by the insurgency, most of them planted as roadside bombs and a few of them rigged to destroy entire buildings, according to the release.

Marines captured 36 suspected insurgents during the operation, 27 on the first day alone. They are being detained for questioning, according to the release.

Operation Quick Strike was the latest in a string of offensives targeting foreign fighters who cross the Syrian border into Iraq to join the insurgency.

Compiled from military and other public sources.


08-16-05, 12:24 PM
August 22, 2005 <br />
News Breaks <br />
<br />
Drunk driver admits guilt in death <br />
<br />
A man previously charged twice with driving under the influence of alcohol pleaded guilty in July to killing a 21-year-old Marine...

08-16-05, 12:33 PM
August 22, 2005 <br />
2 Marines awarded Silver Stars <br />
Honored for bravery in Iraq last year <br />
By John Hoellwarth <br />
Times staff writer <br />
<br />
Silver Stars were awarded to an active-duty Marine and a Reserve...

08-16-05, 12:55 PM
August 22, 2005
Corps on track to meet recruit shipping goals
By Laura Bailey
Times staff writer

The Marine Corps continues to meet its monthly goals for shipping recruits to boot camp, although it’s still unclear whether recruiters have recovered from an early year slump in the number of new contracts signed each month.

The Corps made 103 percent of its active-duty shipping goal, sending 3,609 recruits to boot camp, 104 more than goal.

Marine Corps recruiters also came through for Reserve accessions, shipping 952, or two more than their goal of 950 recruits.

The statistics paint an optimistic picture for the Corps, which failed to meet its contracting goals, or the number of people who sign contracts versus the number who make it to boot camp, for the first time in almost 10 years this January.

It continued to fall short of those goals for the next three months, though it is no longer clear how well recruiters are doing with monthly contracting goals since the Defense Department decided in June that the services would no longer release those numbers.

While weaknesses in contracting can be an early warning sign of shortfalls down the road, Corps officials say they do not believe the springtime shortfalls will reflect in future shipping numbers.

Defense Department and Corps officials said those numbers are meant to be used by recruiters as an internal gauge of how well they are performing, but do not necessarily affect eventual shipping strength.

Slow spring

A number of factors may have contributed to the springtime contracting difficulties, including the current wartime environment and an improving economy, said Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin, a Corps spokesman.

Ayalin declined to comment on whether contracting goals were met in July, saying the shipping number is the measurement of whether the Corps is maintaining end strength.

Figures indicated that the Corps is on track to meet its shipping goals for the fiscal year, despite the spring contracting slump. Those figures put the Corps ahead of its year-to-date goals for active-duty recruits by more than 500 recruits; recruiters shipped 25,006 recruits when their goal was 24,491.

Marine Corps Reserve recruiters shipped slightly more than 100 percent of the Reserve’s year-to-date goal of 7,283.

Spokesmen said the Reserve’s slightly lower numbers are by design, since there are limited Reserve slots to fill.

A recent report by the Congressional Research Service also indicated the Corps has not had to compromise standards to reach its goals.

According to the June 30 report, 98 percent of the Corps’ active-duty recruits in fiscal 2005 were high school graduates, exceeding the Defense Department’s required standard of 90 percent. At the same time, the Army fell slightly below that benchmark with 89 percent of its recruits having high school diplomas.