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April 13, 2004

News from the Front.

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Official USMC photo by SGT Jose Guillen of 1st MARDIV Marines in Fallujah.

Update for family members of the 2/4 Marines, fighting in Fallujah. Even allowing for the normal hyperbole of commanders, I think morale is pretty good in this bunch. Obviously a little dated, but indicative of the fighting spirit of the Jarheads and their Navy Corpsmen.

Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2004 2:03 AM Subject: Update from Lt Col Kennedy

Dear Ladies, the last two days have been the hardest two days this battalion has faced in over 30 years. Within the blink of an eye the situation went from relatively calm to a raging storm. You've known that since arriving there has been violence; attacks have been sporadic and mostly limited to roadside bombs. Your husbands have become experts at recognizing those threats and neutralizing them before we are injured. Up to this point the war has been the purview of corporals and sergeants, and the squad they lead.

Yesterday the enemy upped the ante.

Early in the morning we exchanged gunfire with a group of insurgents without significant loss. As morning progressed, the enemy fed more men into the fight and we responded with stronger force. Unfortunately, this led to injuries as our Marines and sailors started clearing the city block by block. The enemy did not run; they fought us like soldiers. And we destroyed the enemy like only Marines can. By the end of the evening the local hospital was so full of their dead and wounded that they ran out of space to put them. Your husbands were awesome all night they stayed at the job of securing the streets and nobody challenged them as the hours wore on. They did not surrender an inch nor did flinch from
the next potential threat. Previous to yesterday the terrorist thought that we were soft enough to challenge. As of tonight the message is loud and clear that the Marines will not be beaten.

Today the enemy started all over again, although with far fewer numbers, only now the rest of the battalion joined the fight. Without elaborating to much, weapons company and Golf crushed their attackers with the vengeance of the righteous. They filled up the hospitals again and we suffered only a few injuries. Echo company dominated the previous day's battlefield. Fox company patrolled with confidence and authority; nobody challenged them. Even Headquarters Company manned their stations and counted far fewer people openly watching us with disdain. If the enemy is foolish enough to try to take your men again they will not survive contact. We are here to win.

The news looks grim from back in the States. We did take losses that, in our hearts, we will always live with. The men we lost were taken within the very opening minutes of the violence. They could not have foreseen the treachery of the enemy and they did not suffer. We can never replace these Marines and Sailors but they will fight on with us in spirit. We are not feeling sorry for ourselves nor do we fear what tomorrow will bring. The battalion has lived up to its reputation as Magnificent Bastards.

Yesterday made everyone here stronger and wiser; it will be a cold day in Hell before we are taken for granted again.

Paul Kennedy and Jim Booker

This might annoy our British brother-in-arms quoted in a post elsewhere in this space. Tough.

Now perhaps we have set a standard that will cause our enemies to give pause and rethink their approach. For the die--hard members of the ancien' regime, probably not.

And if not, it simply remains the mission of the Marines to help them get their virgins raisins.

For the story that actually goes with the picture, go here.