Via Seamus - This is from a Captain in the 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment, in Iraq. These are the Marines (Reservists from Ohio and elsewhere) that have sustained so many losses in recent weeks.
Dear Family and Friends,
We have the deepest sympathies for the families of our fallen 21 Marines and the other Marines who have given their lives for Iraq and for each other. We recognize that several of them came from other units, like 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion who has taken every risk with us. After the last week's incidents, when asked if they wanted to leave, every Marine from Company L said "We came here to do a job and we will finish it." A Marine dropped off six detainees who had just attacked his men; I asked him how it was going out there. He simply shook his head and said, "Busy." He quickly smiled and shook his head and headed out the door.
The last week has proven the most difficult for 3d Battalion, 25th Marines and the families. We have participated in more combat actions than almost any other unit in Operation Iraqi Freedom. We continue to take casualties and also kill, capture, or detain insurgents who have found no haven along the Euphrates. 3/25 has protected Baghdad and Ramadi from attacks and kept the highways clear. Letters have come from Marine veterans from WWII to Desert Storm, thanking us for carrying on a proud tradition.
We will always keep our honor and avoid hurting the Iraqi people. When Gunnery Sergeant Charles Hurely IV's platoon from Company L became engaged by heavy machine guns, he ordered his Marines not to fire back because the insurgents hid among innocent Iraqis.
We have had heroes like Lance Corporal Todd Corbin and Corporal Jeffery Schuller Jr from Weapons Company who saved the lives of 11 Marines during an ambush when the enemy used a hospital to attack from. The Marines who gave their lives in the last week had courageously cleared a town in Operation Matador, going house to house, so they would not inflict injuries to the many civilians who lived there. We have had instance after instance of Marines going above and beyond the call of duty. Sergeant John Howarth, a scout sniper, ran out into a hail of enemy small arms fire in New Ubaydi to pull an Iraqi to safety.
Many times Marines have looked after their own. With a supporting M1A1 tank main gun firing, Captain Billy Brown from Company L calmly walked in front of the fire power to a fallen Marine. With rocket propelled grenades firing point blank at him, he scooped the warrior up and moved him away from the enemy. 3/25 has continued to clear the roads and the insurgents. We have been the focus of main effort for the Regimental Combat Team 2 and 2d Marine Division during major operations, recently during the clearing of the city of Hit.
Our job has always focused on keeping the rest of Iraq safe. The enemy will never use Haditha or Hit as a haven to launch attacks toward any southern city or town while we are on watch. 3/25 has always known we have to accomplish our mission so other Marines and Army brothers in southern Iraq do not get attacked from the enemy.
My friend Staff Sergeant Joseph P. Goodrich recently was killed in the city of Hit. We went to Reserve Infantry Officers Course together in the summer before we deployed. The entire time during this rigorous training, he had a grin on his face. I will miss that famous smile of his. He always remained positive and everyone always felt better when he walked up to you.
"Semper Fi" has taken on a deeper meaning for many Marines here. 3/25 will remain "always faithful" to the Marines and families from past wars and actions who have given their all for the Corps.
From 3d Battalion, 25th Marines to all those who we have lost and those who continue to press on in their memory,
Captain John A. Kasparian