US Marines in Afghanistan

United States Marine Corps In Afghanistan.

The Battle for Marjah

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My Men Are My Heroes – The Brad Kasal Story

Last summer, a friend gave me a copy of “My Men Are My Heroes”, the book which tells the story of Marine First Sergeant Brad Kasal, the senior NCO in 3/1’s Weapons Company in Iraq during the November 2004 Battle for Fallujah. As I had several other books I was either reading or planned to read, I put this one in the queue with anticipation of reading it in a few months. Last week as I packed for a beach vacation and brought it along.

my-men-are-my-heroes
As a Marine, I thoroughly enjoyed the book which was full of familiar stories, jargon, history, and acronyms. The author did a good job keeping the material organized and sectioned. Much of the book provided great insight into Marine training and preparation required to succeed in combat as well as the complicated logistics and rules of engagement in combat situations.

Long before you’ll read about “The House Of Hell” where First Sergeant Kasal is shot (as seen on the book cover), the author takes you briefly through Kasal’s life growing up in Iowa, his joining the Corps, and into the challenging career of a Marine Grunt.

You’ll read about how Kasal was considered by some Marines to be the toughest Marine (mentally and physically) they had met and how he could “outrun, outfight, outshoot, and outthink the much younger men he led”. Many of his Marines called him “Robo-Grunt” because he was able to run them into the ground lone before he got tired.

After being medevac’d from Fallujah, First Sergeant Kasal endured unimaginable physical pain during the many surgeries and long recovery process but he describes his greatest pain as not being able to return to the fight with his men in Iraq.

“To this day, many consider it a miracle that I lived after the severe blood loss and trauma caused by seven gunshot wounds and several dozen shrapnel wounds. I simple see it as just the love for a fellow Marine and a little bit of toughness and stubbornness. Throughout this entire ordeal from the time of being wounded until I was medically evacuated close to an hour later, and despite the multiple wounds and loss of blood, I never lost consciousness or quit my post while guarding that doorway. While some may call this heroic, I just call it loyalty. It was because I loved the Marine next to me and I was determined to do anything it took to keep him alive, even at my own risk. He would have done the same for me. It’s called being a Marine – we’re all brothers and a family.”

Kasal struggled with depression, doubt, and fear during his rehabilitation. He offers his advice to others in similar situations which includes not being afraid to ask for help, not being afraid to talk about what you’re thinking and doing, and understanding that you will succeed or fail based on your own willpower.

I was very impressed with First Sergeant Kasal’s endurance, bearing, unselfishness, courage, loyalty to the Corps, and love for his brother Marines. A true Marine leader.

“My Men Are My Heroes” should be required reading for all Marines, especially Infantry Marines and Corpsmen.

In May of 2006, Brad Kasal was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism
In May of 2006, Brad Kasal was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism

I understand that Sergeant Major Kasal is still serving. Always Faithful!

Thank you Marine for sharing your experiences and love of Corps in “My Men Are My Heroes”. Semper Fi Brother!

~Cpl. Beddoe

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Marine Executive Association

I’m proud to be a member of the Marine Executive Association
~Cpl. Beddoe

The Marine Executive Association is Marines helping Marines during transition, carrying on the Marine tradition “Taking Care of Our Own.” MEA members network their marketplace knowledge; contacts; job locations; and personal experience to assist the transitioning Marine penetrate the civilian marketplace.

Using direct contact or the Internet, MEA members assist Marines and Navy Corpsman regardless of location, experience, MOS, or skills Marines post company job openings to the MEA website, provide assistance with introductions and references, and company environment. Every member can be called upon for assistance.

The MEA website is important to transition assistance. Because employers post job openings for free, the site features quality jobs across the country and in some foreign countries. Marines can search and download job openings, post their resume for employer download, subscribe to weekly announcements of posted jobs, job fairs, and resume’s, and subscribe to daily E-Mail messages from our “Hot Jobs” coordinator, all for free.

http://www.marineea.org/

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That Smell: A Wounded Marine Reflects on Veterans Day

by James Brobyn

If you asked me what I remember most about my time as a U.S. Marine in Iraq, my answer would probably be a surprise.

I remember the smells more than anything. To this day, I can still smell the Iraqi towns and local foods, which trigger fond memories of exploring a new culture with my fellow Marines. Less pleasant smells include hydraulic fluid leaking from my Light Armored Vehicle and a platoon full of Marines after not showering for 45 days.

Those smells are harmless. The pungent odors of dead and decaying bodies, blended with the strangely sweet smell of explosive residue, are not. Years later, these smells still trigger guilt, bad dreams and regret.

Some people don’t ask me to explain why these odors elicit such a visceral emotion. Perhaps they are unsure or even afraid of what I might say next. But for those who want to hear what I experienced in combat, I will always continue. It’s a story I want to tell.

Read the entire article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-brobyn/that-smell-a-wounded-mari_b_2113297.html

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Singapore Navy, US Marines integrate in Jungle Training

Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, III Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary force conducted joint reconnaissance and surveillance training with the Republic of Singapore Naval Diving Unit Jan 11. during exercise Sandfisher. Exercise Sandfisher is a bilateral training exercise between Singapore Armed Forces and the United States Marine Corps, the event enables the two militaries to interact face to face fostering increased interoperability and enhanced collective military readiness.
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Happy New Year from Afghanistan

I really wish I was with them! Drive On!
~Cpl. Beddoe

Marines with 2nd MLG (FWD) perform “Auld Lang Syne” in tribute to the New Year and a wrap-up of 2011.

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Make Peace or Die!

A documentary film from 1st Battalion, 5th Marines during their deployment to Sangin, Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Video Produced by 1/5 Combat Camera, Sgt Logan Pierce, Cpl Nathan McCord, LCpl Kowshon Ye, PFC Jason Morrison

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Marine to receive Medal of Honor

A Marine sergeant will receive the Medal of Honor for bravery in Afghanistan from President Obama on Sept. 15, the White House announced Friday.

Dakota Meyer, 23, a scout-sniper from Columbia, Ky., fought through fire from enemy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades to help rescue and evacuate more than 15 wounded Afghan soldiers and recover the bodies of four American service personnel. The incident occurred Sept. 8, 2009, in a remote mountainous village during an hours-long firefight with Taliban fighters.

Meyer’s heroism is detailed in the book “The Wrong War” by Bing West, former Marine and former assistant secretary of Defense. West said that Meyer dominated the battlefield by fearlessly pumping rifle and machine-gun rounds into enemy positions during the rescue attempt. At the time, Meyer was a corporal, the most junior advisor in the firefight. Meyer is now part of the inactive ready reserve of the Marine Corps Reserve.

READ THE ENTIRE STORY HERE

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Cpl. Dakota Meyer MOH

By Dan Lamothe – Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Jul 19, 2011 18:36:54 EDT

Dakota Meyer, a former corporal, will be honored for his heroics in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, in September 2009

A Marine who repeatedly braved enemy fire in eastern Afghanistan attempting to find and save fellow members of his embedded training team will receive the Medal of Honor, Marine Corps Times has confirmed.

Dakota Meyer was contacted by President Obama on Monday, according to sources with knowledge of the award. He will be the first living Marine recipient of the nation’s highest award for valor since now-retired Sgt. Maj. Allan Kellogg received the medal for actions 41 years ago in Vietnam.

Only two living recipients — both soldiers — have received the award for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan: Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry. Cpl. Jason Dunham is the only Marine to receive the medal for current conflicts, and he received it posthumously after throwing himself on a grenade in Husaybah, Iraq, in 2004 to save the lives of fellow Marines.

It’s unclear when Meyer, a scout sniper, will receive the medal. Officials at the White House and Marine Corps headquarters declined to comment.

Read the entire article:
Obama OKs Medal of Honor for living Marine – Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Navy Times

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Update from CO of MCAS in Okinawa

This is [forwarded] from the CO of Marine Corps Air Station, Futemna, Okinawa, Colonel Dale Smith.

17-Mar;
Quick note to let you know what’s happening and a sincere “thanks” for your note of concern…it’s not taken for granted and appreciated greatly. 

We worked all weekend…(Air Station is normally limited hours on Saturday’s, closed Sunday’s)…open 24/7 now in support…our guys/gals will be fairly ragged soon.

MEF pushed 8 Phrogs and 10 or more C-130s North to Iwakuni over the weekend. A Joint Task Force (JTF) was established by USFJ…led by Army 3-star; his deputy is the Division’s CG…(our guy), a 2-star select.

31st MEU is inbound…MEB has moved forward as well…JTF will attempt to establish its HQ at Sendai Airport once they can get in there and clear some things….(but a third reactor just blew, not sure how close they get just now).  Devastation truly is “atomic equivalent” in nature….entire villages (cities)..gone, “everyone” within their populations (in some cases 10,000)…missing or dead.  Damage isn’t isolated to just Sendai area….over 10 cities we’re taken “out”….gone, off the map, along with their people.  I cannot write this without tears…it’s that bad.

Helos from Oki, Korea, supporting…with as many fixed-wing as possible as well…all branches of service.  Flew all weekend myself, along with our other OSA aircraft (3 jets, 1 C-12 from Oki), Two C-12s from Iwakuni, getting people up to Yokota (Tokyo area), Iwakuni, Atsugi, etc…. Most will move forward into the disaster area when able to support what will no doubt be a very long recovery process and HADR ops.  My XO is flying today…(I was scheduled to, but was pulled off the sched to support other ops).  XO is flying the Generals over the latest reactor explosion area…(above what’s now becoming a nuclear cloud).  USS Ronald Regan floated through the “cloud” yesterday and became contaminated to a degree.  Helo’s are doing the same, and have to be “decon’d” upon returning to base….rescuers and victims are becoming “exposed” to the radiation, and unfortunately for now, the end isn’t in sight as to how bad the nuclear situation will get.

Thanks again Horn….I’ll keep you updated when I can.  Appreciate the prayers for all….(wx’s been good, but rain and snow are moving into today up there, as if the people weren’t suffering enough).  At times like this, all one can do is their best, and remember, God has a plan we sometimes don’t understand, but have to trust, He’s in control.

Semper Fi,
Smitty

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23-FEB-1945, IWO JIMA

THESE BROTHERS WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!
~Cpl. Beddoe

During WW II, between August 1944 and mid-February 1945, the U.S. Navy and Seventh Air Force ravaged the volcanic island Iwo Jima, 775 miles from Japan, with 6,800 tons of high-explosive bombs and more than 22,000 5- and 16-inch shells. It was the most massive pre-assault bombardment in history, and everyone in the American invasion force assumed that the U.S. Marines would hit the beach on Feb. 19 and walk unopposed to the summit of Mt. Suribachi, an extinct volcano rising 550 feet from the island floor.

Instead, Iwo Jima became the bloodiest slaughter in Marine Corps history, claiming 7,000 lives. In return, the Americans killed all but 216 of the island’s 21,000 Japanese defenders. But the Americans had no choice — they had to take Iwo Jima. American strategists knew that capturing the island would shorten the war and in the end save lives. For two full days the Americans lay motionless on their narrow beachhead. On the third day the Americans smashed their way toward Mt. Suribachi inch by inch. Hundreds of pillboxes, minefields, and snipers’ nests stood in their way, and the battle broke down into countless savage little brawls.

On Feb. 23, 1945, 40 Marines burned and blasted their way up Mt. Suribachi and planted an American flag on its summit. Associated Press cameraman Joe Rosenthal’s dramatic photograph of the event became the most famous image of the Pacific war, but not before three of the six Marines pictured had been killed.

The six photographed historic flag raisers were Ira Hayes, Mike Strank, Harlon Block, Franklin Sousley, Rene Gagnon and John Bradley. The famous Rosenthal photograph inspired a postage stamp in 1945 depicting the flag-raising. It also inspired the tallest cast bronze statue in the world, which was assembled in Arlington National Cemetery in fall of 1954. The monument was cast at the Bedi-Rassy Art Foundry in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. It stands in honor of all U.S. Marines (since 1775) who have given their lives for their country.

Fighting continued on the island until March 26. Badly damaged B-19s began landing on Iwo Jima as early as March 4, and by war’s end more than 2,200 American bombers carrying 24,761 men made emergency landings there.

John Wayne as Sgt. Stryker

The motion picture The Sands of Iwo Jima, released in 1949, is a perennial favorite of WW II enthusiasts. John Wayne earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as a tough-as-nails Marine sergeant. In 2006, Clint Eastwood’s Flags of our Fathers told the story of the Marines who rose the flag on Iwo Jima that day.

This article was written by Vernon Parker (1923-2004)

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