CHESTER HAS MOVED!: From a Marine near Fallujah

Monday, November 22, 2004

From a Marine near Fallujah

An Alert Reader has forwarded me the below email from a Marine officer near Fallujah. Written before the Battle of Fallujah. Good insight. A couple of stories you won't hear elsewhere. I have not edited so blink your eyes really hard if any profanity offends you. I love his description as Fallujah being like Detroit on steroids at Halloween -- after the basketball brawl this weekend, I heard Rush on the radio today calling Detroit "New Fallujah, Michigan." Hilarious. ----------------------------- Hump Day All, Hot! Unbelievably hot! Unbelievably freakin' hot!!! | Helpedsome of my Marines move ammunition crates the day before yesterday at Ali Al Salem Air Base. It was 137 degrees. That's right sports fans, One Hundredand Thirty-Seven degrees. Felt like my damn hands were actually cooking inthe heat. Completely soaked through with sweat all the time. The camel spiders are disgusting, damn things are all over the place at Al-Assad. They look like something out of "Aliens", but they can't hurt you, got mouths like a daddy-long legs, can't break the skin. Checked in to the new AO we are taking over, got a good area recon and lookat our ground. Walked into the COC. Wham! Wham! Wham! Three mortar rounds,courtesy of our distinguished enemies lands about 100 meters away. The unit we're relieving says "No big deal, this is the third night in a row, and they can't hit anything." My boss says "BS." The Colonel looks over at meand says, "Nick, take care of that right away." WTF? I hadn't even had a chance to drop my gear yet. I said, "Okey, Dokey sir" (a non-doctrinal Marine Corps response.) I ordered up a counter-battery radar set a couple of hours later. Also some other surprises. Next night, same, same. Hit about 0130, 60mm stuff, so we know they're firing from relatively close, probably not more than 2-3 clicks out. Our counter-battery fire worked well, we now have two 81mm mortar fire-capable 24/7. Rounds go out. Nothing further heard from Hadji tonight. Nothing heard for the next eight nights, as a matter of fact. Patrols running well,quiet sector. Motorized patrols on the MSR and the town's going well, counter mortar patrols we are running are aggressive and appear to be effective. Ninth night: Wham! Big stuff, 82mm and 122mm dropping all over. I think about 12-15 rounds total into our FOB, can't give you an exact count, due to the fact that I was holding onto my butt with both hands during the explosions. Bad guys suck! Gotta give Hadji credit, he does strike back when he can,it just took him over a week to get re-supplied with bigger weapons. Surprise number one: in addition to our 81's,we now have a platoon (3 guns) of 155mm and 198 howitzers at the FOB. Two of the puppies are fire-capped 24/7 also. Our counter-battery/mortar fire is quicker than hell. Four rounds from each weapons system, 81's and 155's.Ouch, that's gotta hurt on the receiving end. Too bad, so sad for Hadji. Should've picked another | damn neighborhood to screw with, not mine. Hadji is using Somali-like tactics, small trucks, shoot and scoot. Fire 2-3 rounds and try to leave the freakin area. This crap looks really familiar. I think they lease their vehicles from the same dealers as in Somalia. | Think all these freakin' dirt bag terrorists wannabe's read from the same manual? Surprise number two from Nick's bag of tricks: A C130 Spectre gunship in DS of my Battalion, doing figure eights all night, just waiting for his chance.They target on the impact of our mortars and 155's. A four-second burst from the Spectre, all weapons systems. That's it, just a four-second burst. Not a sweeter sound in the world. That makes it game, set,and match! Hadji don't want to play nor more tonight.Only a four-second burst from the AC130, remember? Took a patrol out a few hours later, the ground from the rounds impacting, especially from the Spectre, looked like a damn tornado went through there. Beautiful sight. Pieces of two small Nissan trucks, mortar parts, mortar rounds, and body parts all over the area. Pro-activity is a wonderful thing. These bastards are dangerous, but they are also lazy as hell. They set patterns worse than anybody I have ever seen operate. Keep your eye on Fallujah. We is going to be going back in there full force. Small things, dude for when you get here: wear the ballistic goggles, drink water all damn day (the camelbacks are great), I'm drinking probably 5 gallons of water per day, and it ain't enough. Helmet and Flak Jacket worn at all times when you are outside, it sucks, but it saves lives. Wear both the throat protector and the groin protector. Perforated eardrums are common, get and wear the anti-blast ear plugs. I wear them whenever we're in a vehicle,just in case of IED's. Purell hand sanitizer is a good piece of gear also. We've got them everywhere for the Marines to help keep clean. This whole freaking country is a dirty shit house. It's weird flying on the helos at night. In some places they can only fly at night, due to SA's and RPG's. At night it is scary as hell, because you're just watching those damn green tracers all over the placed,waiting for one to turn and reach toward the helo you're on. Dude, when we fly,I'm also sitting on top of two flak jackets, valor be damned, I don't want to get shot in the butt or worse. They were giving me crap about it at first, but now everybody is doing it. I swear to god, Fallujah is like Detroit on steroids during Halloween. It's time we just need to clear that whole damn city in zone. Just waiting for the word. My Battalion HG, COC, and ALOC are in an old chicken factory from Saddam's days. Good facility, strong structure, we have hardened it with wood, metal and sandbags all over the place. Has taken two direct mortar hits with no effect. That's gotta be pissing Hadji off. Main job is keeping the MSR's open for convoys; checkpoints and combat outposts at each bridge and overpass. My brother, the US army scares my guys more than the bad guys do. Every time an army convoy gets hit going through our zone, they fire in every direction, 360 degrees. No fire discipline. My guys in a bunker were taking .50 cal fire on their sandbags last week. Now we're making each army convoy that comes through stop at each of our checkpoints to check in and find out who is in charge. Has reduced their nervousness. Don't mean to ping on you army guys (even though I do it all the time) but the small unit discipline is the issue. This is truly a Sergeant and Corporal's war. Tell you what Bro, these younger Marines of mine are nothing short of amazing. They are thriving, living on the edge of the adrenaline rush the whole damn time. The code word for every day is "Trouble." Ever time I get into a vehicle, I ask the driver "What are we looking for today?" Every one of them answers "Trouble, Sir!" Trouble for hadji is what they mean, if the bad guys want to attempt to screw with us.These so-called "insurgents" are the worst kind of freakin' cowards I have ever seen. I thought the Somalis were bad, but at least they had some drug-induced courage. The battalion adjacent to us had a hit on a damn school bus in the AO the other day, targeting elementary school kids of junior new Iraqi govt officials. Their Ops Officer told me the Marines were having to pick up kids arms and legs from off the tops of buildings. Bet you're not seeing this crap on CNN? The ops Officer also told me that his Marines are truly pissed, because they are deadly quiet as all hell right now, not loud as usual, but quiet and focused, looking for some real payback. The day is coming. Gotta run, this was a long one, lot going on. Got some more to send in the next couple of days." S/F - Mud

11 Comments:

Blogger mlc said...

Bless his soul!

November 23, 2004 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Great stuff! Keep it coming
-Matt

November 23, 2004 at 5:24 AM  
Blogger Dominic said...

This was great stuff! It makes me want to find a way to reenlist in the Marine Corps and "get some"!

Excellent description of the fighting that goes on in Iraq. I couldn't stop laughing at the Jihadi calling his buddies and saying that they missed him. How stupid!

November 23, 2004 at 5:34 AM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

Chester -

Please drop me an email at TmjUtah at hotmail.com...no hurry, just when you get the time.

November 23, 2004 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! So much good stuff coming off the front lines. Thanks, Chester. MSM sucks.

November 23, 2004 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Mearcstapa said...

My son, in the 11th MEU, also is critical of the Army's fire discipline.

Mark

November 23, 2004 at 1:52 PM  
Blogger Eagle1 said...

Go get 'em, Marines!

Thanks for posting this, Chester.

November 23, 2004 at 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who defend Isreal shall be defended.May the Armor of the Lord surround each of you, and also your families whereever they may be and keep them safe til your return.

November 23, 2004 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger TZ said...

Great letter! However, are you sure you should be posting a letter where it details something about our sigint intercepts and what exactly we can do? Sounds like bad opsec to me, correct me if I am wrong...

November 23, 2004 at 7:11 PM  
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