Compare and Contrast
Mini-Caliphates in Europe

Thank You Marines of New England's Own - WELCOME HOME!

Via Seamus, comes one of the last updates from Marine 1stSgt Ben Grainger of Charlie Co., 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment in Fallujah, Iraq.  The 1/25 is a USMCR unit based in New England.

Seamus wrote, "Freedom is not free, and Charlie Company, 1/25,  picked up a big part of the tab."


Here's one of the last posts from 1stSgt Grainger:

Well most of your Marines have moved out of the Holiday Inn Express and by tomorrow there will be less than a dozen of us left. The CO and I will be the last to go at some point later. We will remove our colors that we put up in March, for the last time, and pass the keys of the city to the new tenants. We have left all we had on the streets of Fallujah in trying to make this place better. Each Marine and sailor gave it his all. Most of the Marines have moved to Baharia now, a camp with real food three times a day and all the showers you can take, no gear needs to be worn to go to the bathroom or anywhere else to say the least. The thought of walking around in daylight without full gear has its own sort of appeal. We will walk around Uday’s lake and feel something that no one ever felt when Uday occupied that place, safe. It will still be a little while before we make it all the way home but we are not far away from being back in New England as a whole. Not much has come out of Fallujah on the news channels or papers, I am not sure if that is because no one but the Hartford Courant would dare come here or the TV stations and other reporters were just to scared to come out. Here is what they might have reported over the last seven months; The Good, Schools opening every where more power and facilities than they had under Saddam, oh yea and freedom to do what ever they want or to say what ever they want. Did I mention elections to vote for who ever they like. The Bad, intimidation of citizens, destroying infrastructure we build for them, preventing of their own economy from taking off. The Ugly, killing 8 kids playing soccer with an IED just to try and hit one of our vehicles, cutting off of local policemen’s heads, killing women and children as intimidation to the locals, suicide bombers.

We played our last Americantology sermon the other night. Tom from the Courant was here with us as we lit our last cigars and remembered Capt Letendre, LCpl Dechen, Cpl Pierson , and LCpl Cosgrove. They were the spirit of America . They were the reason we created Americantology as they loved America . We all love our country and what it stands for. From the Rocky Mountains and Mount Rushmore to the Grand Canyon and the Alamo . Great Americans who became icons and made a difference like George Washington, Wyatt Earp, Harriet Tubman and John Wayne set the stage for Americanism. There are so many other landmarks and great people that have made our America what it is. Our America where there is only one political party and they are called Americans. Where love of country comes before self as the whole is greater than the one. But the one is just as important as the whole. Were the needs of the people is more important than the needs of the party. We played our patriotic music one last time on that roof top. The little stereo rolled out the speech about America followed by the National Anthem, a short take by Lee Ermey and then the Marines Hymn and Anchors aweigh. That always opened every night on our roof top.

We listen to the words of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA and Ray Charles’s America rolling across the night towards America as we stare up towards the stars. I don’t think there are two stronger songs about America than those. Nothing makes me more proud to be an American than to hear those.

Many other country and rock songs paying tribute to the greatness of America bellow out and then it gets to four that have a different meaning to them.

    Highway to Hell, (Yes I know the band is not American) that was Fran, the main road right through the middle of the city that had to be taken to get to our home the CMOC. The road that almost daily had IED’s and suicide bombers on it. The car parts are still littered along both sides of it. The holes from the artillery shells blackened from the explosions that rocked city. The western bridge patched over and over again from the suicide car bombs how many times they had hit it but they never could take it down.

    Paradise City, That would be Fallujah, it can be beautiful with all the Mosque lit up at night with their chants coming out. The sun always seems to set just right with the towers in the foreground it is an incredible site. Yet it can be just as deadly as any pit of vipers.

    Knocking on Heavens Door, for every time you walk out into the city you wonder through which door way you will be retuning. That is what you feel as you go out and you realize that you could be retuning through the front doors of the CMOC or you could be knocking on the pearly gates before the day is out. Sometimes it is as if you patrolled out to the gates, just to knock on them, waiting to see if today is the day they answer the gates. If no one answers you go back to the CMOC and try again the next day. Everyday you knock until there are no more days to knock as you are either let in or you go home.

    Turn the Page, is the last in this sequence.

There are some photos of Cpl Jeremy Meurice with the kids on the web site that will sum up what we tried to accomplish with them. Just a smile on a face and the thought that not everything was bad. A little happiness is what we tried to give them and Cpl Meurice always spent extra time to do that. Even when he was weighted down with gear he would always ensure he had something for the kids along the route. I think all of the kids would look for him in the patrol of Marines I hopes he was on that one.

The Home Coming will be at the Governors Armory in Hartford for the Marines returning there. Through some hard work of KV’s they were able to secure it. I don’t get into politics but I must acknowledge that Governor Rell has honored all of our fallen whether they were from Connecticut or another state. She acknowledged they were Charlie Company Marines first and foremost and had the state flag lowered, out of respect, for everyone we lost regardless of what state they were from. She has also passed legislation in the past to help Connecticut veterans. Maybe I can get her to join our party, the Americantology Party for America . Anyways that will be the home coming location. I would ask you for your patience, as there will be a lot of people there, and it will be hard for Marines to find families in such a large crowd but they have a system in place to make that a lot easier. The Governor will say a few words as you all wait for our return. We will march in a formation just long enough for us to line up in front of the platoon marked areas, so you can find your loved one easier, and the Company Commander will dismiss the Company. At that point the race is on and you can all have your Marines back. 

Group 1 is done and safe now.
Group 2 is 70% safe now.
Holiday Inn is 90% safe now.
The Company Commander and I will be the last. I will let you know when they are all safe.

1stSgt Grainger
Americantology TM
For Love of Country