04 Oct 2006

Another Letter from a Marine in Iraq

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Maggie’s Farm has a recent letter from a Marine Intel Officer stationed in Iraq featuring good anecdotes.

Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province – Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How’d you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who’s just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator? Every day. Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys. Talk about courage and commitment…

Best Piece of U.S. Gear – new, bullet-proof flak jackets. O.K., they weigh 40 lbs and aren’t exactly comfortable in 120 degree heat, but they’ve saved countless lives out here.
Best Piece of Bad Guy Gear – Armor Piercing ammunition that goes right through the new flak jackets and the Marines inside them…

Biggest Mystery – How some people can gain weight out here. I’m down to 165 lbs. Who has time to eat?…

Coolest Insurgent Act – Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool…

Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate – Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here – all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a ‘Band of Brothers ‘ who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.
Most Surprising Thing I Don’t Miss – Beer. Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.
Worst Smell – Porta-johns in 120 degree heat – and that’s 120 degrees outside of the porta-john.

Highest Temperature – I don’t know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns. Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.

Biggest Hassle – High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and “battlefield” tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no affect on their preconceived notions of what’s going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they’ve been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.

Biggest Outrage – Practically anything said by talking heads on TV about the war in Iraq, not that I get to watch much TV. Their thoughts are consistently both grossly simplistic and politically slanted. Biggest offender – Bill O’Reilly – what a buffoon.

Read the whole thing.

Last year’s Letter from a Marine in Iraq. (Different guy.)

Hat tip to Rick Ballard.

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