Stories to Be Thankful For

We’d never hear about these guys otherwise.

As he approached the town, Ieva was looking into the backyards of the first row of duplexes. The two platoons on the left were coming in from the side. Those men had to sprint across 75 yards of open ground under fire to get to a protected building. “Aggressiveness and speed got them into the city,” Ieva says.
From there, the marines began house-to-house fighting. They would blast holes in the walls and charge in – as Ieva joked, like Starsky and Hutch – or they would climb roof to roof, throwing explosive devices into houses before they entered. One building had insurgent snipers on the roof, but a bomb, timed to go off just above, killed them.
Ieva’s men came across a fortified terrorist stronghold, where one of his men, Lawrence R. Philippon, was killed. At another stronghold in that town, according to a gripping piece by Ellen Knickmeyer of The Washington Post, insurgents had built a crawl space under the front door; they lay on their backs and shot upwards through the floor with armor-piercing bullets at marines who came through. The marines needed five assaults and 500-pound bombs from an F/A-18 attack plane to finally take and destroy that house.
I don’t have space to describe how Ieva and the other marines fought on that hot spring day, but by the end, about 75 insurgents had been killed and 17 captured.
Two points are worth making. After the Marines took Ubaydi, they didn’t have the troops to hold it, and it again became a terrorist safe haven. Over the past two weeks, the Marines have been back in Ubaydi for more bloody fighting. This time they have enough trained Iraqi forces to hold the area, but why weren’t there enough troops last spring? Every time you delve into the situation in Iraq, you come away with the phrase “not enough troops” ringing in your head, and I hope someday we will find out how this travesty came about.
Second, why aren’t there more stories about war heroes like Christopher Ieva? The casual courage he and his men displayed is awe-inspiring, but most Americans couldn’t name a single hero from this war.

5 Responses to “Stories to Be Thankful For”

  1. Mike Rentner says:

    That was a company in my battalion. It was a horrible week as far as casualties go.

    The question posed is a good one. Many of us ask it often. There’s no telling what the correct answer is, if there is one. Most criticisms are along the line that we’ve been doing raids or sweeps through the cities along the Euphrates with little tactical or strategic long term result, or even intent.

    My understanding is that we had to do something to disrupt the enemy rat lines from Syria that passed through the Hit-Hadithah corridor and all along the Euphrates. The problem is that if we had entered with a permanent presence it would have been seen by the Iraqis as an occupation and not supported very strongly. Many Iraqis would have clearly supported it, but the public perception would have been exploited by the enemy press to be an example of what they claimed was our imperialism.

    To prevent that PR exploitation, we needed to have competent Iraqis with us in that permanent presence. They weren’t available in April and May when this operation took place.

    So, we needed to do something that hit them hard but didn’t include a permanent presence, we had to wait until October and November when Iraqi army battalions were trained and ready.

    Some argue that going there only made the enemy presence worse, that the muj were drawn there by our raids. I say, yeah, so? Those enemy weren’t in Fallujah. They weren’t in Baghdad. And when they were in Qaim or Cykla, then we could call in air strikes and kill them. That was fine by me. The commanding general of 2d Marine Division told us that many of his seniors in Baghdad were astounded that we were still fighting battles with close air support out there when he briefed them.

    So essentially, 3/25, 3/2, and 2d LAR, all of RCT-2 for that matter, were just holding the line, harrassing the enemy, keeping him off balance until the Iraqi army was ready to help us. We’re now establishing a permanent presence with the Iraqi army all along that area.

    Sadly, too many good men from my battalion were killed, maimed and otherwise hurt while waiting for them to come help us.

    Remember, we have the military power to destroy the entire country very easily. That is not our goal. Our goal is to destroy the enemy’s will and ability to fight. Our enemy isn’t just a few people in those towns, or in Iraq. Our enemy is fanatical Islam and mostly Arabic fanatical Islam. We have to conduct the war so as to eliminate anything that can be used to incite their supporters.

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    Thank god for you and your efforts, mike.

  3. Nightfly says:

    Thanks, Mike. It’s awesome that you and your men are out there for us – and for them. Thank you for speaking for the soldiers so well.

  4. Skylar, you’re exactly the guys they’re talking about that NO ONE is talking about. We are so tickled to have you on board with us.

  5. It was back in 1913 General Pershing had it with the Moslem problem in the Phillipeans.
    He took the Moslem prisoners that were to be shot for heinous crimes out to the firing squad. He then slaughtered pigs and used the blood to douse the bullets (that would pierce their hearts). He had all shot, but one.
    Then he covered the dead bodies in the bloodied pig carcasses. The one that hadn’t been shot was let go and he immediately went back and told his cohorts what Pershing had done (degrading the bodies of the men with pig blood so they would go straight to Hell). Moslems feel pig blood is most unclean.
    This ceased Moslem unrest in the Phillipeans for the next 50 years.

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