Saturday, July 30, 2005

Riverine forces in action!!

Having bad flashbacks to my Midshipman days, I just received and email from a Marine Gunnery Sergeant (AKA Gunny or GySgt) in Iraq who took me to task for my poor research in my FEB post, and he is right on target. I should have mentioned the great work being done by the Army and Marines more in my second post, but was too blinded at my anger at my own service for letting others do our job. I can't stand it when some have to unnecessarily pick up the slack of others.

Anyway, here is a quick summary of what GySgt and his Marines are doing to bring the fight to the enemy "From the Sea," or from the lakes and rivers at least. I love his intro...put in a way only a Marine can state it...
My friend, I am about to introduce you to the premier riverine force in the U.S. military today.

Small craft company of the Unted States Marine Corps has been heavily involved in patrolling the Euphrates River since March of 2004. We own the entire river from Iskandariyah to Haditha. And if (removed to provide Gunny with topcover) would have the backbone and foresight to employ us properly we would own every waterway in Iraq. I arrived in country on (second half of) 2005 and we were involved with our first counter insurgent activity on (two months later) when we responded to mortar attacks and conducted counter IDF patrols.

We have been heavily engaged in multiple fire fights, recovered hundreds of caches along the rivers, conducted medevacs during operation al Fajr in Fallujah. Were the primary focus of effort for 3rd LAR during that operation and have significantly impacted the insurgency along the Euphrates.

To be frank we kicked the shit out of them at every turn.

We run with 40 foot small unit riverine craft tricked out with MK-19s, M2 .50 cal, and M240G machine guns (here are some good safety tips). Several of our craft are also mounted with the GAU-17 mini-gun that has been a major weapon in our capability. I am enclosing a short video of small craft company.

This video was taken at night during our relief in place on the lake at Haditha, Iraq.
Who says Marines can't write?

OK, there is a tease here. I don't have the ability to host video right now, (I do now, see update)but there are some screen caps from the video here, here, and here. If you want a copy of the video, email me and I will send it your way. Nice audio and soundtrack.
To my fellow Sailors; what do you want to do? Cool your heels during an 18 month IRDC in excess of your command's BA for your rate, or do this? Hey all you new Chief Selects (congrats folks), can you think of a better way to hone your leadership skills as a Chief? Here or CFFC? Leading Riverine crews, or being one of a dozen Chiefs kicking back on shore duty in Hawaii?

Admirals, I respectfully submit that the best leaders are rounded out in combat, not Newport. Not OPNAV. Not the Pentagon; plenty of time for that later. Send your front runners to those places post-CDR Command for the officers, and as E8s for the enlisted.

We need out best officers and front running Petty Officers and Chiefs on the front line, living leadership they will never get in one of those silly leadership seminars you make everyone go to. They have their place, but not in place of what we get paid for - to go in harm's way.

As for me, I'm proud of our Marines, and I need to see a therapist. To this day, being corrected by a GySgt makes my hairline (what's left of it) sweat, my back straighten, and my chin move its way towards my neck.
UPDATE: Thanks to Turkeyhead at Scott's N&C, I know have a way to let you get the video. Click here to download it.

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