Can't go into specifics. We've been getting medivacs this week...you've seen the stuff on the news. One young Marine...multiple wounds...made it all the way stateside just to die on the table. I'm finally home after 36 hours at work. I'm beat.
Need a drink.......
Again without compromising privacy issues.
It was a small internal bleed that was missed by everyone until too late. Everybody is down today. We had a big standown about it and rehashed the event over and over again. In summary, no one did anything wrong...it was just one of those things.
Thank you for doing the job you do. I hate like hell to see our guys getting shot and blown up over there. But it gives me a great peace of mind to know there are trained and dedicated folks like you waiting to patch them up when it happens. Without the efforts of people like you, there would be a much greater number of tombstones out there with the names of US troops on them. God bless you. And remember, as much as you'd like to do, you can never save them all.
Someday I hope I will be worthy enough to wear the uniform.
War is an ugly business. Beleive it or not, you do make a difference. My sympathies for the Marine's family and friends.
Autopsy will give us an answer to the specific cause, but the ROP leads me to the general cause.
May 2005 marked my 19th year in service. I've worn many hats: 0311, NFO, etc...but I'm finding this hat the hardest.............I guess I'm not happy being a REMF.....give me an A2 any day....at least you get to "give something back."
I feel real sad when I hear that our soldiers are killed. I hope all of this is worth it.
I feel the same way.
I've been over there (including GW #1) 3 times.
I talk to our boys all the time.
WE are doing so much good there and the people want us there incredibly bad.
The leftist mass media never shows the hundreds of positive actions. They just show the few incidents of doom and gloom.
The Iraqi people has shown their mettle in the face of death to vote in the last national election, to me the news media was a completely taken aback by this. The news media has not said one word of the overwhelming success of the election, instead focusing on the doom & gloom aspect of the USA loosing control of the region. Many of the news media try to liken this war to the Vietnam War, 2 different times and 2 different places. This war is being fought by the generals and not by a President sitting in the White HOuse a half-world away. It took Saddam 20 years to run down Iraq, but the USA will prevail, and nation building will take years and not months. The news media is expecting months.
Thanks for your work and remember all the ones who make it thanks to your efforts and those of your contemporaries.
and no I will not forget the falling of a fellow Marine. May God take him in his open arms.
I'll have a boubon tonight too.
Regardless of the "swabbie" uniform you now wear, you will always be a MARINE. From what I have read of you intelligent and patriotic post, you are a dedicated physician and a credit to the CORPS and the United States Armed Forces!
Those MARINES are damn lucky to have you.
I'm not a vet so my opinion may not mean much to you, but I'm finding it harder and harder to justify sacrificing the lives of these boys for the soon to be Islamic Republic of Iraq. Especially when I hear from people who have been there that the Iraqi civil war is just waiting for the US to withdrawl. I thank you and all of the people who have served for your sacrifice (especially this Marine). I just hope that we don't wind up creating another Iran or Taliban Afghanistan.
Doc- You already have given something back. I know that you are a good guy, and that you wear the uniform of our country proudly. Those Marines, and all of the others that you tend to, are very lucky (and I am sure very grateful) to have someone who cares as much as you do. I would guess that deep down, that Marine knew his time was short, but refused to let go until he was home. You probably comforted him more than you will ever know.
Please know that this Marine has your respect, I would be proud to serve with you any time or place.
Sometimes Chesty has a place in formation for Marines and his call is strong, this Marine was in the best of hands.
Semper Fidelis “DOC”
Keep it up doc!!
Doc, Thank you for your service. You Sir deserve all our respect!!
My personal thanks to you for your service from the UK
We are all in this together
God bless you
and all our fallen
The New York Times
August 7, 2005
Death Visits a Marine Unit, Once Called Lucky
By JOHN KIFNER
and JAMES DAO
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 6 - Until January, they saw one another only occasionally, meeting for one weekend a month at the low-slung reserve center near the airport here and then going on drills for two weeks in the summer.
Some were recent high school graduates, a few were college men, several were police officers. Most of the Marine Reservists from Lima Company were just getting their start in life. But for the young men from Columbus, those lives were changed almost overnight.
Their unit was called up in January. In February they were training in California. And by March, the members of Lima Company were part of the 1,000-strong Third Battalion, 25th Marines, Fourth Marine Division - 3/25 in military lingo - and engaged in full-scale war.
Their first few weeks in Iraq were so uneventful that the company of about 160 marines took on the name "Lucky Lima."
But when death came, it came in abundance. The first wave was during a series of dangerous missions in May. And then on Wednesday, a horrific roadside explosion took the lives of 14 marines, including an entire squad of 10 from Lima Company.
"These are my boys," said Gunnery Sgt. Larry Bowman, who was their platoon sergeant. He was wounded in the same area where five of the company's marines were killed in May. "I trained with them since January," Sergeant Bowman said. "Every one of them was like my sons, every single one. I was responsible for them. I still feel that responsibility."
The members of Lima Company are emblematic of the citizen soldiers who are bearing much of the weight of the fighting in Iraq. They were plucked from their daily routines as college students, office workers and parents and in a matter of months were facing down a rapidly shifting insurgency. Back at home, their relatives and friends are left deeply torn about the war and its toll on their families. For a battalion that has suffered much in a short time, this week was the most agonizing. In addition to those killed by the explosion on Wednesday, six marines killed in an ambush on Monday were attached to the 3/25. In all, 47 men attached to the battalion have died since May, said Lt. Col. Kevin Rush, who leads a headquarters element of the Third Battalion in Brook Park, a suburb of Cleveland.
Twenty-three of the dead marines belonged to Lima Company, said Master Sgt. Stephen Walter, a Columbus police sergeant.
Colonel Rush said, "Lima Company is a rifle company, mainly young marines." He added: "They are the tip of the spear. And when you are at the tip, you are at the most dangerous part."
Stressed by the demands of the war, the military has had to rely heavily on reserve components like the 3/25. Reservists make up about 35 percent of the American forces in Iraq, and the Marine Corps, which is the smallest fighting service, is particularly hard-pressed.
Some regular units, like the First Battalion, Fifth Marines, which was first over the berm in March 2003 and took the first fatality, are on their third tour in Iraq. A little more than 23,000 of the 138,000 American troops in Iraq are marines, but they have had more than a quarter of the roughly 1,820 casualties.
The marines are not fighting the way they were meant to. They are designed not as an army of occupation, but as a hard-hitting, light attack force that can seize and hold a beachhead until heavier forces arrive.
Their main transport in the desert is an amphibious vehicle they call an Amtrack. It resembles a boat with tanklike treads, lightly armored so it will not sink, and not designed to travel long distances on land. The marines killed Wednesday were riding in one of the vehicles when it hit three antitank mines stacked one on top of the other.
From Home to War
When they were called up, Lima Company, with some added reservists to bring it to an authorized strength of 160 troops, and the rest of the 3/25 went to the sprawling Marine base at Twentynine Palms, Calif., for refresher infantry training. In March, they landed in Iraq, deployed with the regulars of the Second Marine Expeditionary Force, fighting the nastiest battles in Anbar Province, trying to root out insurgents and block their ratlines from Syria.
In May, units of the Third Battalion joined major operations along what has been dubbed the Ho Chi Minh Trail of Iraq: a lawless corridor in western Anbar that American commanders believe is used by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a leader of Al Qaeda, to infiltrate fighters and supplies from Syria into Iraq along the Euphrates River.
From May 7 to May 15, the Americans undertook Operation Matador, sending a 1,000-man force backed by attack helicopters and fighter jets to go door to door in restive Sunni villages, believing Mr. Zarqawi might be hiding nearby. Two weeks later, the marines led a second sweep, known as Operation New Market, named after a Civil War battle revered by graduates of the Virginia Military Institute, in the same region.
Military commanders declared the operations a success, saying the marines killed more than 125 insurgents and captured weapons caches containing machine guns, mortar rounds and bomb-making materials. But it came at a cost: 9 marines died, 8 from Lima Company, and 40 more were wounded.
Moreover, the marines were often frustrated in their hunt for insurgents who seemed to disappear into the desert, prompting some Americans to describe the sweeps as "whack-a-mole," after the arcade game involving a hammer and mechanical rodents that pop in and out of holes.
T. X. Hammes, a retired Marine colonel who has written a book on insurgencies, said the American military does not have enough troops to control a sprawling desert where an increasingly adept insurgent force flows in and out with impunity.
"It's like gang warfare," he said. "Periodically, the police sweep a drug market. Then the police go home and there are murders in broad daylight."
In May, Lima Company, which traces its military lineage back to a unit that fought one of the toughest battles on Iwo Jima in World War II, installed a pink granite boulder adorned with the Corps' eagle, globe and anchor, to record the names of its marines who died in Iraq.
Now, yet another sweep, Operation Quick Strike, is under way in Anbar, involving about 1,000 marines and Iraqi soldiers around the city of Haqlaniya. The 20 marines attached to the 3/25 who died this week were operating in the same area.
Members of a Community
Unlike regular troops who come from all over the United States and serve on bases relatively isolated from the rest of the population, reserve units are more intimately entwined with local communities - training, working and often living in the same town. Lima Company, for example, includes Lance Cpl. J. D. Coleman, son of Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus.
So the deaths on Wednesday hit Ohio hard.
Sgt. Justin F. Hoffman, 27, a graduate of Ohio State, liked motorcycles and enlisted in the Reserves in his third year of college. His father, Robert Hoffman, was a marine, too.
A Marine rifle platoon is made up of three squads, usually 10 men each, and Sergeant Hoffman was the squad leader, the next senior noncommissioned officer to Sergeant Bowman.
Lance Cpl. Timothy M. Bell Jr., 22, was also fond of motorcycles. His father, Tim, described him as "the last of the John Waynes, only tougher." His family said he had wanted to be a marine since age 6.
Lance Cpl. Eric J. Bernholz, 23, was a devoted member of the Grove City Church of the Nazarene, and poured his energy into acting in its plays and coaching church youth sports. He graduated from Grove City High School and sometimes talked of wanting to become a firefighter.
Lance Cpl. Michael J. Cifuentes, 25, proposed to his college girlfriend, Tara Reynolds, by showing her a bunch of photographs that included one in which he held a sign asking her to marry him. They planned to do just that when he got back in the fall. A graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, he had been a substitute school teacher.
Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Dyer, 19, played the viola and was a champion diver, graduating with honors from Princeton High School near Cincinnati last year. He planned to enroll at Ohio State when he returned.
Cpl. David Kenneth J. Kreuter, 26, was married and looking forward to seeing his son Christopher, who was born on June 14, for the first time. He had a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati. Other marines said he had been offered a chance at Officer Candidates School.
Lance Cpl. Aaron H. Reed, 21, a lean distance runner on cross-country and track teams, was the president of the class of '01 at Southeastern High School in Chillicothe, where job opportunities are few and the military is a popular option. He has a brother serving in Afghanistan.
Lance Cpl. William B. Wightman, 22, came from the small farming community of Sabina and joined the Marines after graduating from the local high school, where he was a fullback and captain of the football team and was also on the basketball and track teams. He played with G.I. Joe dolls as a child and told his family that was what he wanted to be when he grew up.
In contrast, Lance Cpl. Edward A. Schroeder II, 22, was prohibited by his mother, a high school teacher of distinctly liberal views, from playing with toy guns as a boy.
The squad was rounded out with the addition of a marine from a Reserve reconnaissance company, Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem, 20. Once he was with the unit they considered him one of their own.
"He was as much Lima as anybody else," said Cpl. Chad Watkins, 22, another member of the Third Platoon who was also wounded in May and sent home.
The explosion also killed four men attached to the 3/25: Lance Cpl. Grant B. Fraser, 22, of Anchorage, Alaska; Sgt. Bradley J. Harper, 25, of Dresden, Ohio; Cpl. David S. Stewart, 24, of Bogalusa, La.; and Lance Cpl. Kevin G. Waruinge, 22, of Tampa, Fla.
Six days earlier, two other Ohioans from Lima Company died in combat: Cpl. Andre L. Williams, 23, of Galloway; and Lance Cpl. Christopher P. Lyons, 24, of Shelby.
When the company headed for Iraq, Corporal Watkins said, the marines were excited. "The attitude for the most part was we were anxious to get over there and do what we had trained to do," he said.
Sergeant Bowman, 35, served 12 years on active duty, then became an Ohio state trooper. But he missed the Marines and signed up with the Reserves when it looked as if they would be sent to Iraq.
Despite the danger, he said, the days could get monotonous. It was easy to become complacent. "It was knocking on doors, all we did really was to go out and search homes, looking for explosives, which we would find routinely," he said.
And, routinely, they were peppered with mortars and small arms fire by insurgents who would then melt away. They were also frequently engaged by packs of wild dogs.
For much of the time, the men were barracked between operations in rooms built into a Soviet-made dam that created a reservoir. "It was really weird, surreal," Sergeant Bowman remembered. "There were thousands of these white birds. It was beautiful except for the occasional mortar."
Then came Operation Matador. The marines encountered insurgents barricaded in fortified houses, and an improvised explosive device incinerated one of the Amtracks, killing five marines.
The first squad kept itself amused to deal with the stress and the monotony. One member put apple juice in a container meant for urine samples and chugged it down in front of a horrified Navy medical corpsman.
Corporal Watkins nearly doubled over with laughter as he recalled one long trip when most of the men fell asleep inside the Amtrack, their eyes closed, mouths slack, some drooling. One of the squad put on his gas mask and shook another awake shouting, "Gas, gas, gas."
"He looked at the other guys and he almost killed himself getting on his gas mask," Corporal Watkins said.
Mixed Feelings on the War
From rural towns along the Ohio River to the crowded streets of Cleveland, Ohioans spontaneously lowered flags to half-staff and created makeshift memorials to commemorate the dead. Poems, crosses and bouquets of roses were laid at the gates of the battalion's headquarters in Brook Park. Scores of tiny American flags were placed along the driveway of Lance Cpl. Daniel N. Deyarmin Jr., in Tallmadge. A restaurant in Willoughby posted a tribute to a local marine, Lance Cpl. Brian Montgomery, on its street sign. Sandwich makers at a Cleveland restaurant wore American flag bandannas to pay homage to them all.
The travails of Lima Company and the rest of the 3/25 have focused national attention on Ohio, and sharpened debate over the Bush administration's policies in Iraq.
Even some former marines have begun to question the policies. At a prayer vigil for the 3/25 in Cleveland on Friday, Frank Faragone, who was a marine in the 1950's and whose son is a Marine gunnery sergeant today, said the United States should hasten the transfer of power to Iraqis and bring American forces home soon.
"Insurgency is tough, you'll never get rid of it," said Mr. Faragone, 67, a retired police officer from Cleveland. "The answer is let the Iraqis take care of themselves."
But many relatives of marines said anything short of completing "the mission" - that is, establishing democracy in Iraq - would dishonor the memories of the fallen. And they sharply criticized anyone who questioned the administration's policies.
"Are you going to tell that mother whose son is in a casket that you don't believe in what they are doing over there?" asked Karen Parker, 43, of Cleveland, whose son is with the 3/25 in Iraq. "Do you know how that would hurt them? We don't have that right."
Not all parents of dead marines agreed. Rosemary Palmer, Corporal Schroeder's mother, has always opposed the war and believes her son was growing disenchanted with it before he died. She said she knows other parents who oppose the war but are afraid to speak out, believing their children will be punished by their commanders.
"How are we honoring them by throwing another 1,800 lives on the pile?" asked Ms. Palmer, 57, of Cleveland. "Honor them by resolving this war."
The debate has even split some families. Erica Deyarmin said her brother, Corporal Deyarmin, a sniper with the 3/25 who died Monday, loved the marines and was deeply proud of what they were doing in Iraq.
"If we turn our backs on them now, he would have died in vain," she said.
But her grandmother, Barbara Davis, 68, said that she felt the war had been unnecessary and that the ground troops should be pulled out immediately - words that caused her granddaughter to leave the room.
"I support the troops," she said, recalling the hundreds of pairs of socks and dozens of care packages she had sent to her grandson's unit. "I just don't support the policy."
Kristin Earhart of Pickerington, Ohio, the girlfriend of Cpl. Dustin A. Derga of the 3/25, who died on May 8, said he considered it his duty to fight, making his opinion of it irrelevant. An Air National Guard member, Ms. Earhart, 22, said she felt the same way.
"I don't want our boys over there," she said. "But in the same sense, they're doing a job and they're doing it good."
One of Corporal Derga's best friends, Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Erdy, also of the 3/25, died three days later. For Brandon Harmon, 24, a police officer from Pickerington and a friend of Corporal Derga's, so much death in so few days had brought the war too close to their small town.
"The national spotlight is on Ohio right now," he said. "We just think that one company has gone through so much, you just kind of wish that they could get a break and come home."
John Kifner reported from Columbus for this article, and James Dao from Brook Park, Ohio. Gretchen Ruethling contributed reporting from Chicago.
* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
Thanks for all the positive remarks y'all.
Off today.....amazing what some sleep will do for morale!
I'm gonna take the girls swimming then mow the lawn and reflect on those who can't do such simple things anymore.
You are so right....
I salute you NavyDoc1 for what you do.
And a prayer has been sent for that Marine Warrior.
You hope all of what is worth it ? Semper Fi, Ray
Thought I would do a little editing. New York Times, it figures. The United States Marine Corps is an internationally respected fighting force. Their mission is to destroy the enemy. They are doing so. The Marines will be destroying our countries enemies as long as this great country needs them. You do not join the Marine Corps to decide policy, but to fight. This includes Reserve units.The argument over whether or not we should be in Iraq fighting this waris not that complicated (unless you want it to be).
We are at war with these "jihadists" and they will not stop until we kill them. IMHO. NavyDoc1, I'm a Former active duty Marine and although I rarely needed a Corpmans services, it was always good to know you fine folk's were there if need be. For those of you on the boards that dont know it, Navy Corpmen attached to Marine units are the only non-Marines authorized to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on their uniforms. Semper Fi, Ray