Mar 19, 2004

Stuff the news doesn't tell you about 

This is a letter written by a Marine currently in Iraq. I've removed some place names and individual Marines' names for security purposes. Though there is NO sensitive info in the unedited version, I prefer to be doubly sure on this stuff. Trust me when I say that this is a valid letter, as I'm familiar with the author. All emphasis is MINE, made only to point out the things that you don't seem to see on CNN and the like.

Dear Families and Friends of XXXX,
All of XXXX (reinforced) units have safely reached their respective Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in Iraq. The majority of the [Marines are] located at FOB XXXXXXXX XXXX in XX XXXXXX, Al Anbar Province.

Here at XXXXXXXX XXXX we have a chow hall that serves three good meals daily in clean and pleasant surroundings. Our showers are now operational but the hot water is used up quickly. Telephone and internet service are provided in three tents located at various places on the camp with between 12-20 computers and 6-12 phones each. Time on these is limited to 30 minutes including log in time. Depending on the time of day we can wait from 5 to 30 minutes for an available phone or terminal. There are as well three weightroom tents with machines and free weights, they are small but well equipped.

Your Marines and Sailors are living in hardside tents with concrete floors, heat, and air conditioning but a tent roof. Most have bunk beds of dubious quality but still a step up from a cot. They spend most of their days preparing for or conducting missions.

This FOB is operated by the XXXXXX of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kansas. They have been here for six months and will be here another six. We work for them and they work for the 1st Marine Division. They are treating us very well.

[Other Marines are] located some distance from us at FOB XXXXX with some other units. Their life is much more austere, living in bunkers and eating MRE's. We are working on upgrading their conditions. The people in their area seem to be very pro coalition and genuinely friendly.

The Marines and Sailors are doing very well and demonstrating all that is best about America. Three Marines this past week stood out in their professionalism and humanity; while participating in a vehicle patrol with an Army unit. The Patrol encountered an overturned truck in a canal and due to the gathering crowd could not pass. When the Marines learned an Iraqi man was trapped underwater in the truck they dismounted the vehicle, Sergeant Lxxxx established a secure perimeter while Sergeants Bxxxx and Wxxxx dropped their gear and entered the canal pulling the driver out. While the driver could not be resuscitated by an Iraqi doctor on the scene, the attitude of the crowd was noticeably and favorably changed when the Marines emerged from the water. Sergeants Lxxxx, Bxxxx, and Wxxxx demonstrated the very definition of our ethos "No better friend, no worse enemy." You should be proud of these Marines, I am.
Keep us in your prayers, my time on the internet is about up.

Semper Fidelis

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