This letter came via Seamus and Master Sergeant Agler. It's a must read about what's really been happening in Iraq. Notice the Marines feelings about the Press...
----- Original Message ----- Subject: 7th Marines - Letter from Col Tucker"...these units will march into a proud history unencumbered by the dynamics of political agendas and press profits."
21 August 2004
The last month has been a busy time of change in the RCT-7 AO; a trend that will continue as the battalions that arrived with us last February are replaced by newcomers. TF 3/4 was replaced in July by TF 1/8 out of Camp Lejeune NC. As I write, the advance parties for the Battalions coming in to replace TF 2/7, 3/7, and 1st LAR are on board. Over the next month we will assimilate our new brothers-in-arms, and continue to march forward with the same lines of operation and successes that have characterized our operations thus far. The AO has been relatively quiet over the last weeks. The enemy still engages in cowardly attacks against the Iraqi people, the Iraqi Security Forces, and the Marines employing IEDs and indirect fire. But we continue to rock him on his heels with precision raids, tighter control of the border areas, and the professional presence of Marines providing security alongside the ISF for the people in these communities.
Since my last letter, we have seen promising progress in the eastern portion of the AO. A Police Academy and Border Police Academy have been established at Al Asad; a corrupt mayor and corrupt police chief have been forced out of their jobs through pressure applied by the citizens of the communities involved. The Iraqi National Guard continue to grow in competence and professionalism. Local citizens live free of fear from terrorists and criminal overlords. Kids go to school [and play on swing sets provided by Marines], markets are busy and, in a promising development, political parties are beginning to coalesce. This is what victory in counterinsurgency looks like.
In the western portion of the AO we continue to successfully capture and kill terrorists and violent criminals. TF LAR, TF 3/7, and 1st Force Recon have had remarkable success working their way up the terrorist cell structure.
All of these battalions will depart here justifiably proud of their accomplishments.
I am in absolute awe of these young men; the deed of the sons have exceeded the deeds of the father, and these men and these units will march into a proud history unencumbered by the dynamics of political agendas and press profits.
I speak to every Marine of the arriving Bns. Their intelligence, sense of duty, and perspective are remarkable. They ask questions ranging from small tactical issues to large and significant strategic issues. They fully understand the complexities of U.S. policy and their own role in the future of Iraq. We are striving to establish the rule of law in a country where terror, intimidation, and fear once ruled. A daunting task. But day-by-day, we see progress.
How far that progress extends will rightly depend on the will of American people. I was asked by a young Marine yesterday to encapsulate our tasks in a few words. My response: Provide a bulwark against the instruments of terror to allow the rule of law to take root; train the Iraqi Security Forces to do what we are doing now and kill anyone who has a problem with that; accomplish all three of those tasks without harming a single innocent Iraqi and without a single Marine in this RCT losing his moral compass. We continue to march forward on those tasks. Given time that success will be complete.
RCT-7 remembers the sacrifices of Cpl T.J Godwin, 1st Bn 8th Marines, killed in action on July 20, 2004 vic Fallujah, Iraq; GySgt E.P. Fontecchio, 3d Bn 7th Marines, killed in action August 4,2004 vic Husaybah, Iraq; LCpl J.L. Nice, 3d Bn 7th Marines, killed in action August 4, 2004 vic Husaybah Iraq; LCpl K.M. Funke, 2d Bn 7th Marines, killed in action August 13, 2004 vic Hit, Iraq; and Sgt R.M. Lord, 1st Bn 8th Marines killed in action August 18, 2004 vic Haditha, Iraq.
Please remember their family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Share your Courage.
Wow, just wow. I wouldn't want to be certain reporters and run into these guys in a bar...I'd bet that some chop-busting would occur.