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Thread: A Commander's Message
04-17-06, 10:18 AM #1
A Commander's Message
A Commander's Message
Compiled by Roger Charles
To the family and friends of 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, the last week has seen significant activity for the Marines and sailors of TF 1/1. The week began with success during Operation Hastings, a 5 day combined IA and Marine search operation that targeted enemy weapons caches sites located across the eastern boundary of our AO. Together with our IA allies we found immense stockpiles of strategic importance located in a 10 K zone along a seam between two unit tactical boundaries. This operation, named for an operation that 1/1 participated in during 1966 in the RVN will have an immediate impact at reducing the enemy"s logistic capabilities in the neighboring AO. Later in the week during a dismounted patrol in a village called Khan Dari two Marines where wounded by small arms fire and another wounded by a small IED. These Marines are all recuperating in the various medical facilities that support OIF throughout Iraq, Europe, and the US. During these operations we killed one insurgent who was moving into position to fire at a traffic control point and during exploitation of that action discovered a huge IED, several mortar systems and other IED making material. A few days later, Cpl Waller, while providing over watch to dismounted patrols from Company C in Kahn Dari was shot and killed. He died, as he lived, leading his Marines from the front, accomplishing his mission, and with disregard for his own personal safety. Known as "The Motivator" by his buddies in Charlie Company, he was a fine young NCO in the best traditions of our service and we shall miss him. However, we honor him by completing our mission to the best of our abilities and so we march forward. Two days after Cpl Waller"s death the enemy attacked us in the city of Karmah. It was a well planned and coordinated attack and it completely failed due to the actions of the IA soldiers and our Marines. They stood resolutely together, held their ground and killed, wounded, and captured many of these terrorists in an action that lasted over 24 hours. During the initial stages of this fight as Marines and IA soldiers reacted to this attack L/Cpl Martini of 2d Platoon Bravo Company was killed by small arms fire as he was moving to reinforce an embattled IA position. Again, this Marine died facing the enemy and attacking! Both of our fallen warriors were on their third deployment, and both possessed the courage, tenacity and resiliency for which Marines throughout our Corps" history are known. I write this letter to let everyone in the 1/1 family know that while this past week has come at a very high cost, we are attacking, and we are enjoying much success. While most battalions "commute" to the fight, your Marines spend far more time living amongst the people, sleeping on the ground and suffering the elements like their forefathers did in Vietnam. They are always hot, dusty, dirty, and bone tired, but everyday they "gear-up" and take the fight to the enemy while protecting each other and the innocent people of Iraq - that is their mission and they attack it with vigor and determination. This is not a black and white fight and the real decisions out in "the vill" are being made by 18 year old L/Cpls and Cpls and not 45 year old LtCols. Throughout this deployment they have performed brilliantly at finding the right balance of being aggressive and taking the fight to the enemy while maintaining their compassion and respect for the Iraqi people - I am sure that you would well-up with pride at their performance, I do every day. We appreciate all the support we have received from the committee and of course from our loved ones at home, your care packages and letters sustain our spirit and keep us connected to our homeland, for it is for hearth and home that we fight here in Iraq. In closing let me say that while we morn our loss do not feel pity or sorrow for us, but pride. Pride in a tough job done well, for remember we are Marines and the situation is well in hand!
--Here is an interesting posting from the same web site. Note that it appears that from the Grunt-level views, the Iraqi Army is showing signs of real progress.
GHARMAH, Iraq (April 6, 2006) -- They dug up the buried weapons by the truckload. Marines from 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment's engineer platoon along with soldiers from the Iraqi Army, discovered several weapons caches northeast of Fallujah during Operation Hastings. The operation combined Marines with soldiers from 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division. The goal of the joint operation was to take weapons out of the hands of insurgents. "We linked up with the Iraqi Army to search for weapons caches and to basically show them what the engineers do," said Pfc. Ryan C. Freeman, a 19-year-old from Stockbridge, Ga. The operation began April 4, with the Marines picking up a platoon of Iraqi soldiers from their base at Camp Delta. The combined forces spent the next three days combing a large area in the battalion's area of operation. "We are covering a lot of ground," Freeman said. "It's not as far as we normally cover, but we are utilizing the Iraqi forces and training them this time." Iraqi forces took perimeter to provide security while the engineers searched through mounds of dirt and around abandoned buildings. The Iraqi soldiers also searched houses and spoke with local villagers. "It's a good sign that the Iraqis are adapting and that their training is coming along," said Lance Cpl. Gabriel H. Garza, a 19-year-old electrician from Willcox, Ariz. "They seem to be functioning well, and interacting with the community." The Marines and Iraqis didn't find any huge caches with large amounts of munitions, but more than 15 smaller caches were found. The yield varied in amounts of weapons and munitions. "We have found a little here and a little there," said 2nd Lt. Ahmed Nasser Hussin, the 30-year-old Iraqi platoon commander from Al Nasiriyah, Iraq. "But, put it all together and we found a lot." The Marines and Iraqi soldiers found two heavy machine guns, two AK-47 and four SKS assault rifles, two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, a sniper scope, four grenades, 10 sticks of PE4 explosive, more than 20 AK-47 magazines and more than 15,000 rounds. In the mix they located various weapons parts, mortar rounds and artillery rounds that could be used to make improvised explosive devices. "I thought the operation worked out well," said Gunnery Sgt. Anthony J. Easton, the 30-year-old platoon sergeant from Saint Cloud, Minn. "This is the first time I have worked with the Iraqis. They are a lot more disciplined than I expected." Marines and Iraqis worked diligently during the three days to ensure the countryside was no longer a haven for insurgent stockpiles. "The insurgents hide munitions everywhere," Freeman said.
SFTT President Roger Charles is an Annapolis graduate, a retired USMC Lt. Col. who commanded an infantry platoon in I Corps during the Vietnam War, is the winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for news coverage, and was a protégée's of the late Col. David H. Hackworth. Rog can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send comments to DWFeedback@yahoo.com.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
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