Petty Officer Jose Ramirez - Someone You Should Know
Fallujah Reality Check

Thanksgiving in Fallujah - Emails Home

Via Seamus and Gunny Gregory come a few emails sent home from Marines in Fallujah.  The Marines only have about a minute to fire off emails home.  These were sent at 5am CST today.

The first is from Marine Corporal Joel Yeager who happens to be General Chuck Yeager's grandson.

How's everyone doing, well i I cant complain  much here cause i'm out of the city right now. Im pretty sure im going back in tomorrow for about two weeks but the marine corps loves to change their mind all the time so that will probably change. We did some pretty crazy stuff and about pissed my pants a few times. Ill have some good storys for all of you when i get back. The first few days were pretty ruff cause we really didnt sleep and we didnt have any food. By the time i got my first mre it was the greatest meal i had ever had. well at least i thought it was. Pretty much we just stormed through the city and searched every house one by one. We found tons of weapons and ied making materials. I got to blow a alot of it up. Also we ended up in the building were they have been doing those executions over the internet, it was weird that we ended up in that same building. I'm attached to 3/5 Lima Co. 3rd plt. So if you here anything about 3rd plt or lima co. im probalby right there. our path was threw what was supposed to be the hardest area but i dont think it was that bad. I was the only engineer with my squad. i had alot of weight on my shoulders but when all was said and done they were very happy wih all i did. Except one of the first things i blew up was a safe. I was just supposed to blow the door off the safe so they could see what was in it. Well i got a little into the moment and used 4 times the amount of c4 i should of used and ended up blowing the whole house up. They gave me a hard time about it but luckily they laughed it off. There was alot of things i did that i could of been hurt really bad but thanks to everyones prayers back home i made it out ok. i need to go but ill try to write again when i can.
Joel Yeager      

If for some reason you didn't visit the Greenside to read LtCol Bellon's description of Fallujah (linked to it a few days ago), LtCol Bellon mentions the heroics of Corporal Yeager:

...I will end with a couple of stories of individual heroism that you may not have heard yet.  I was told about both of these incidents shortly after they occurred.  No doubt some of the facts will change slightly but I am confident that the meat is correct.

The first is a Marine from 3/5.  His name is Corporal Yeager (Chuck Yeager's grandson).  As the Marines cleared and apartment building, they got to the top floor and the point man kicked in the door.  As he did so, an enemy grenade and a burst of gunfire came out.  The explosion and enemy fire took off the point man's leg.  He was then immediately shot in the arm as he lay in the doorway.  Corporal Yeager tossed a grenade in the room and ran into the doorway and into the enemy fire in order to pull his buddy back to cover.  As he was dragging the wounded Marine to cover, his own grenade came back through the doorway.  Without pausing, he reached down and threw the grenade back through the door while he heaved his buddy to safety.  The grenade went off inside the room and Cpl Yeager threw another in.  He immediately entered the room following the second explosion.  He gunned down three enemy all within three feet of where he stood and then let fly a third grenade as he backed out of the room to complete the evacuation of the wounded Marine.  You have to understand that a grenade goes off within 5 seconds of having the pin pulled.  Marines usually let them "cook off" for a second or two before tossing them in.   Therefore, this entire episode took place in less than 30 seconds...

Of course, Corporal Yeager doesn't mention that except that he has lots of stories to share once he gets home. He also requested candles that smell like the holidays (ie Thanksgiving) to remind him of home.  Don't worry about sending him candles, his family is already handling that request. 

The next email is from Marine Sergeant Jason Talmadge:

Family and friends, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm alive and doing well. The past 2 weeks has been very challenging and nerve racking as we attacked the city of Fallujah. I am back at the base right now for a couple days of R and R. I don't know how long I will be back out there for so that's why I am writing one big letter. I want to thank everyone for their prayers as God truly seemed to be with us out there. Out of my platoon we only had one Marine go down with multiple gun shot wounds. He is doing well and already back in the states. He took one shot to the arm and one to the leg while being ambushed by six insurgents. I say that because there is no way he should be alive and to only get hit twice and where they landed was a true blessing. He was a part of my team so we were down to only 3 men. My men rose to the occassion and picked up the load and performed beautifully in combat. Again, God is good and he takes care of his own. I know it's not over and we have a long way to go until March, but it was a great step for americans as the total number we killed was around 1800 insurgents and muslim radicals. Thank you for your continued support and prayers for myself and the rest of the Marines and soldiers, fighting on little rest and food, to make America a safer place. For the people who don't think we should be here, I would rather fight and destroy them and their cities here than allow them to penetrate American soil and do it on our homeland. Take care everyone I Iove you all - Jason Talmadge/ Sgt USMC

So there you have two emails from extraordinary Americans who just survived one of the toughest battles anyone will ever face.  I won't draw conclusions for you about them - if you read the emails, you can do that for yourself.  Be thankful for Marines like Yeager and Talmadge.

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