THE UNBREAKABLE CHAIN
(From the picture)
Pear Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas embraced Marine Staff Sergeant Mark Graunke Jr. during a Veterans Day commemoration in Dallas yesterday. Graunke lost a hand, a leg and an eye when he defused a bomb in Iraq last year. This weeks image of U.S. troops in combat in Fallujah deepened the day’s significance for many who attended tributes held in San Diego and across the nation (Last years Veterans Day)
I have been out and about a lot lately across Iraq. The destination names change but the Marines there are the same wherever you go. They have been trained with the same foundation of warrior ethos and know what is expected and demanded of them as Marines. We police our own and fix it if discipline strays or leadership weakens well before others get the chance to do it for us. As an officer if you see something wrong and you don’t correct it, your just as guilty and you’ve let that Marine down if you don’t “fix” it on the spot. We maintain our corps standards regardless if we are at Camp Pendleton in the states or in the middle of the desert in Iraq because in this business if you begin to stray, people can get killed when you screw up.
But why do we do it?? Is it the Money, yea right, is it the fame? Nope were not apart of the NFL. Then why do young men joint the Marine Corps, get physically demolished at boot camp, travel to the crappiest places in the world, face the toughest enemy’s and win?? Because they want to be different. They want to be challenged and they want to be a US Marine. Marine Corps boot camp breaks down recruits from how they did things as a civilian and makes them time efficient, physically top notch warriors. They learn to do more with less and be the first ones to take the tuff jobs head on.
Overhear in Iraq they do it for one another. Each Marine knows that he must do his part or the Green Machine will become weaker. He doesn’t want to let his fellow Marine down. In day to day operations, combat operations, wounded situations and in the attack. Marines may come across as cocky, arrogant and mean. However, when you look at it, its one Marine taking care of business for another. That’s why you see a Marine run out in the open to grab his fellow wounded Marine. He might get hit as well but he’s not going to sit there and let some bag nasty low life hurt one of our own. This why you might see Marines traveling around in squads or fire teams back in the states in your near a USMC base. They have lived, eaten slept, worked and died together. That bond continues when they return to the states.
Ever seen two Marines meet for the first time? Usually they ask what the other does and then begin to swap stories. One time a buddy and I were out and ran into this guy who said he was a Marine. Ok, when we began to ask him about duty stations or what he does, all the wrong answers came out. He obviously used this “act” to pick up chicks. Wow was he embarrassed when we exposed him for the truth. Here in a foreign country your fellow Marines are what you have. They are your family. A place where you make sure they are fed before yourself. You make sure they get the gear they need to do the job you ask. You make sure you take care of your Marines. Regardless of what others think of you, you know you Marines know you and you know them
Marines stick together. Sure there are Marines who don’t get along, who don’t agree but all that goes out the window when its them against us. When you are facing the enemy, nervous our out numbered you and your Marines have a common bond, a chain and neither of you will break it, its unbreakable. Regardless of rank or age, Once a Marine Always a Marine. We take care of our own.
My tour in Afghanistan is over and now my tour in Iraq will end soon too. There are thousands of Americans out there who have helped us in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Sending packages and letters love and support. It would seem impossible to put the thanks into words and express the gratitude and the appreciation. One of the best ways for us to express our appreciation is through a few simple words. Thank you for your support!!
One organization has made a lot of this possible and has helped me back when all of this started in Afghanistan.
ANYSOLDIER.COM started the “on line support your troops” and still offers thousands of service members who need your support. It’s the simple things like letters letting them know your out there and that you care that matters. Knowing they have your support makes a difference.
On April 29th, Any Soldier.com will be hosting a Dinner Cruise aboard theAmberjack V. Its on a weekend in NY city where this all started near the Statue of Liberty. I owe it to Marty and you all to be there. Please if you can make it, join us and allow me to thank you in person, where meeting you and thanking all of you it would be my pleasure.
Late yesterday afternoon, three Iraqi citizens and two Iraqi soldiers were killed by a suicide car bomber at a vehicle checkpoint near New Ubaydi in western Al Anbar.
Additionally, two Iraqi soldiers and a U.S. Marine were injured by the blast and were transported to a military medical facility nearby. New Ubaydi is 20 km from the Iraq-Syria border along the Euphrates River and was cleared of Al Qaeda in Iraq-led terrorists by Iraqi and U.S. Forces last November during Operation Steel Curtain.
Vehicle checkpoints are established to deny AQI terrorists the freedom to re-establish a presence in cities once cleared. Since the combined Iraqi-U.S. presence was established in the area, New Ubaydi has seen few signs of insurgent activity. During the Dec. 15 National Election citizens of the area voted in considerable numbers.The nationality of the bomber is unknown.