> Actually early on this update. However, want to keep all in the loop since media coverage has been extensive. We are the focus of Operation Phantom Fury, that you hear referred to. The 24th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) is our HHQ and they are Headquartered in Camp Lejeune, NC. Do not be frustrated if the media does not mention 2/24 specifically, we are not here for the glory or fame, simply to destroy terrorists and terrorism. With that said, and even though our email is back up, a large percentage of the Battalion is operating forward from the Forward Operating Base.
Myself and the Command Staff move virtually daily about our battlespace checking up, planning and supporting the different elements as they close with and destroy the enemy in their assigned zones of action. They do it very well, and are only getting better each day. In addition, they truly are bringing stability, freedom and peace to people who have known nothing but terror and oppression. The town of Yusufiyah had not had any government presence for months and the terrorists had absolutely dominated the people and their lives. Randomly killing and demanding money and youth service for anti-coalition fights. NO MORE! Now they must deal with the Warriors of 2/24. That is a deal they are losing, and losing in a big way. They have thrown every sinister attack you can think of, including multiple attempts at suicide car bombers. All have been thwarted with only the suicide bomber being killed in the process. The saddest part is how they have seriously injured several Iraqi children. Children who have life saving first aid applied to them by the very Marines and Corpsman who just seconds before were engaged in full scale combat to destroy the terrorists. To see that in action is to see the battle between good and evil played out before your eyes. And to all the anti-war, anti-American crowd, I ask them, where else do you see such disciplined and proper violence, followed by such compassion and mercy. I guarantee you it is uniquely American! And there are no better ambassadors of it than the WONDERFUL Marines of 2/24. They absolutely humble me and everything about my existence, and you should feel nothing but extreme PRIDE in them. They are amazing.
That said, currently many of them are without the standard comforts and are living spartan in support of the mission. We are working non-stop to push them mail, hot chow, ice, fruit and all we can possibly support. We also are pushing a couple of satellite phones around so they can attempt at least some 5 minute phone calls home for an update. PLEASE BE PATIENT! The focus of the day is combat. But, everywhere I am I see the Marines with pictures of their loved ones. YOU ARE NEVER OUT OF THEIR HEARTS OR MINDS.
As I already said I am nothing but humbled by these magnificent Warriors, citizens and Marines; and I can ensure you that MANY fanatics who dreamed of one day destroying innocent "infidels" on the streets of America have met with a violent end at the hands of the disciplined, precise HEROES of 2/24.
God Bless You All and Thank You for your continued sacrifice.
LtCol Mark A. Smith
Task Force 2/24
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
I + H + Scary as Hell -- Another Iraq update
Just got this in: