View Full Version : War in Iraq affects all Marines

04-16-03, 09:36 PM
War in Iraq affects all Marines
Submitted by: Marine Forces Reserve
Story Identification Number: 2003415144449
Story by Cpl. Moses Martinez

MARINE FORCES RESERVE, New Orleans(April 15, 2003) -- It's three in the morning on a Tuesday and as you hug your sheets in comfort, getting sleep for the next day's work, a Marine in Iraq is welcomed with a blanket of bullets while patrolling the streets of Baghdad.

Scenarios like these are common in Iraq and Marines here reflect upon them. While the Marines here don't have to worry about distinguishing an Iraqi soldier from a civilian, or discerning whether the taxicab coming down the street is a suicide attack, their comrades in Iraq do.

"It scares me to hear of a Marine getting killed in action because it could have been me," said Cpl. Jorge A. Horta, transportation management specialist, G-4, Marine Forces Reserve. "What gets to me is knowing that I'm not there to help my fellow Marines. I could have made the difference."

While emotions vary from Marine to Marine, Master Gunnery Sgt. John Latour, supply chief, G-4, Marine Forces Reserve has been in long enough to see other military conflicts. War isn't something that is desired, but must be dealt with, according to Latour.

"Nobody wants war, but now that it's here, we won't run away. I've been in long enough to see these types of engagements. For someone who is new to the Corps, this might be an eye opener or even a shock," said Latour.

For Marines, war is just a matter of time.

"In seeing the reality of our job as Marines, we prepare for the worst because time isn't on our side when it comes to war. Even though we may not be deployed, we are always ready if called upon," said Latour.

During any conflict, when Marines are sacrificing their lives, leaders at all levels carry a greater burden of responsibility.

"As a leader of Marines, I take a closer look at our training and how it relates to war. Just recently, we had a rifle range that sharpened Marines' skills in shooting their weapons. Marines also received training on nuclear, chemical and biological warfare," said Sgt. Maj. Antonio Oliva, sergeant major, Headquarters Battalion, MarForRes.

Casualties are an inevitable consequence of war and the sadness affects the entire Corps.

"I've seen the reality of what can happen to anyone of us at any time. A Marine that was stationed with me at my last duty station lost his life," said Sgt. Chad P. Richard, supply clerk, G-4, MarForRes. "This war has definitely changed me."