Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I + H + Scary as hell -- Update from Iraq

Here's an email sent from the Lieutenant Colonel in charge of my friend Phil's batallion in Iraq. Pray hard.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Smith LtCol Mark A"
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Subject: FW: Update 27 Sep 04

Greetings from Iraq. I apologize that it has taken me so long to send my first update, but I wanted to wait until I could report the whole Bn on deck. Not only has that occurred, but we completed our RIP (relief in place) of the magnificent Warriors of 2nd Bn, 2nd Marines, and are currently conducting combat operations against the enemy in the Mayhem Area of Operations. Our command element is the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

We are located in Mahmudiyah, Iraq, approximately 30-35 miles due S of Baghdad. It is on the Sunni/Shia fault line, and there is no shortage of anti-US and anti-Iraqi forces in our zone.

I am not going to pull any punches, we are ENGAGED IN COMBAT OPERATIONS AGAINST THE ENEMY, and he against us. Steel has been exchanged, and we have suffered casualties. All have been relatively minor, but casualties none the less and as a result of enemy action. All those injured have been afforded the opportunity to contact their loved ones at home and the official channel made notification. So if you did not hear anything, then you should assume your Marine was not involved. The Marines are pressing hard and performing admirably. Conditions are Spartan at best, the weather is hotter than hell (pardon my language), we go to the restroom in porta-johns, shower trailers work about 50% of the time, chow is meager but good, and most of the Marines smell and look like 10 miles of bad road. HOLY COW, IT DOES NOT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS, THIS IS THE BEST PARTY WE HAVE EVER BEEN TO!

I know you will worry about the Marines and I cannot prevent that, but please know, they are operating with precision, they are armored to the teeth, and the equipment WORKS. Their morale is high and we have already witnessed acts of incredible soldiering and bravery. We will do our mission, and we do not cower at anything the enemy throws at us.

No attempt to be political, but the righteousnes of our cause is crystal clear when you see the ground and not through the lens of the media. The terrorist forces at work here kill indiscriminately, and kill far more of the innocent Iraqi people than they do us. We are definitely engaged in a struggle against fanaticism that knows no bounds, and if we show any weakness or let up, they will do to our kids in America what they did in Russia. I look at the pictures on my wall of my wife and daughters every day, say my prayers and press forward knowing that what these Marines are doing will impact how we live for the next 100 years. Anything less
than total victory is not an option.

Feel free to commence the mail flow!!! :)

Stay motivated and God Bless You and the struggle you are under.

LtCol Mark A. Smith
Commanding Officer
Task Force 2/24, 24th MEU

----- Original Message -----
From: "Smith LtCol Mark A"
Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Subject: Supplemental Input

Hope message was not perceived as harsh. Have seen some news reporting and I am well aware media is portraying an "increased" violence scenario. Reality is there is an insurgency here and we are a part of the counter-insurgency effort. Things are good and Marines are doing extremely well, but do not want to paint false pictures. This is a dangerous place, and you are all well aware of that. We will continue to do our absolute level best to destroy the insurgents, build a new Iraq, a better future for our beloved America, and come home at the end of our tour.


God Bless you all.

LtCol Smith

1 comment:

Snolen said...

My brother, Rob, recently returned from Iraq after a three-month stint with the Defense Intelligence Agency. He can’t talk about what he did while he was there, only that he was engaged in “counter terrorism.” We’re relieved he’s home safe. Like the Marine officer, Rob’s convinced of the justness of our mission in Iraq and he says we’re in it for the long haul. Several forward military bases are being built, which, Rob explained, means U.S. troops won’t be pulling out anytime soon.