American Heroes Tribute
Best Ranger 2005

The New York Times, the Marines, and Counter Column

In case you haven't seen the New York Times story about the Marines (2/4) in Iraq, here's the opening passage:

Bloodied Marines Sound Off About Want of Armor and Men

Published: April 25, 2005
On May 29, 2004, a station wagon that Iraqi insurgents had packed with C-4 explosives blew up on a highway in Ramadi, killing four American marines who died for lack of a few inches of steel.

The four were returning to camp in an unarmored Humvee that their unit had rigged with scrap metal, but the makeshift shields rose only as high as their shoulders, photographs of the Humvee show, and the shrapnel from the bomb shot over the top...

Now, I've gotten a lot of email about this article.  Some are asking for an opinion, and a few are asking if I'm still optimistic and idealistic about the War on Terror.

Glenn D. sent me an email where he basically accuses the NY Times of rehasing old problems that have been solved (Glenn wrote "mostly remedied") in order to support the "we will fail" mantra of the Main Stream Media.

I agree.  But I also think that the Marine leadership could have done better.  However, I could point that out about any unit in theater (or any unit that I commanded).  Leaders don't stop working, improving, pushing the limits.  There is no finish line.  And the article insinuates a problem between the Company and the Battalion - two company commanders were relieved.  One days before departing the US for Kuwait and the other days before heading home.

Perhaps there's other options for the guys in theater.  Some of you were asked to help provide kevlar blankets for humvees for a National Guard unit.  We had four blankets (at about a grand per blanket) in less than two days.

But even if you had the kevlar blankets, the Soldier or Marine in the humvee turret is exposed.

I also believe that the tempo of attacks increased in April (before the Marines hit Fallujah the second time).  This had something to do with the increase in casualties (for everyone).

If you want a response to the New York Times article, you can't do better than someone from the unit that handed the territory (and their equipment) to the 2/4 Marines...Jason Van Steenwyk of Counter Column.

He responds (as usual for him) very articulately.

The Marines in Company E