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.
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I read this yesterday, and a number of us thought it should be re-posted here.
In a country that most would struggle to find on a map, in a compound that few possess the courage to enter, men from my previous life took the fight to our enemy.
In that compound, they found men that pray five times a day for your destruction. Those men don’t know me, they don’t know you, and they don’t know America. They don’t understand our compassion, our freedoms, and our tolerance. I know it may seem as if those things are currently missing, but they remain, and I know they will return. Our capacity for them is boundless, and is only dwarfed by their hatred for you. They don’t care about your religious beliefs; they don’t care about your political opinions. They don’t care if you sit on the left or the right, liberal or conservative, pacifist or a warrior. They don’t care how much you believe in diversity, equality, or freedom of speech.
As some of you may or may not know I’m a member of the Pritzker Military Library and the Membership Director for the Library’s Young Professional Association.
On Thursday, April 18th we will be hosting an exhibit opening called “American Icons of the Great War.”
American Icons of the Great War includes some of the United States’ most iconic images that emerged from the propaganda posters created during World War I (1914-1918). Using original posters from the era, the exhibit shows how these artists utilized well known symbols to rally the United States behind the war effort.
The link for the event is here.
I’m one of the few Lexicans that lives in Chicago but if you do, I’d be honored if you would attend. If you don’t and know someone that lives in the area please feel free to pass the word along. We also accept donations and those proceeds will to go programs to assist us in veteran outreach.