By lex, on October 9, 2007
Two hundred Marine infantrymen of 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment who were transitioning to the civilian work force at the end of their enlistments faced a daunting choice when their unit was due for rotation back to Iraq, back to the crucible that was then Ramadi: Exercise their privilege to remain in stateside billets as short-timers and wave good-bye to their comrades as they departed for the fight, or else extend their enlistments and join them.
All 200 extended their enlistments and accompanied their comrades to Iraq for a seven month deployment. And yesterday, all 200 of them came home.
In seven months of patrolling the streets of Ramadi, once the most violent city in Anbar province, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment had no Marines or sailors killed and only one injured. In its previous deployment, the battalion’s numbers were 15 killed and more than 200 wounded.
No one is saying that the presence of the 200 Marines who had extended their tours was the crucial factor in the battalion’s returning with no fatalities. No one is saying it wasn’t.
“One-hundred percent accountability. Everybody came home alive,” said Staff Sgt. Joe Flores, 33, as he embraced his wife, Yadira. “One-hundred percent.”
For those of you who haven’t had the privilege of serving alongside Marines, this is what they mean by ”Semper Fi.”
God, I’m proud to be from the same country as these men.