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Friday, May 13, 2005

A Must Read Article

"If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines"
-- Unknown

Demise Of A Hard-Fighting Squad
Marines Who Survived Ambush Are Killed, Wounded in Blast

This comes from the Washington Post. In the wake of all of the media's blitzed coverage of negative stories about the military, this one isn't getting nearly the coverage it deserves.

In 96 hours of fighting near the Syrian border, every Marine in this squad was either killed or wounded. In the 1st Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, there were 60% casualties.

We mourn the loss of all of these brave Marines, and our hearts go out to their families. Our prayers are with them and with those wounded.

Thanks to Seamus and Skip for passing this along. Semper Fi.

Lt. Pantano Update

Thanks to Seamus and Corporal Symes for passing along this update on Lt. Pantano.

The Washington Times is reporting that an investigating officer has recommended that charges against 2nd Lt. Pantano be dropped. The prosecution's main witness, Sgt. Daniel L. Coburn, has been deemed "unreliable" in the report. You will likely remember that 2nd Lt. Pantano had removed Sgt. Coburn from his position as squad leader shortly before the shooting in April 2004.

Lt. Col. Mark E. Winn cited the prosecution's inability to credibly document premeditation.

You can see the article here:

Drop Murder Charges, Pantano prober urges

The BRAC list is out....

Military Cutting Costs
Pentagon recommending dozens of bases be closed or realigned

(from Fox News)

We are not happy campers here in CT.

Remains discovered at Belleau Wood

from Marine Corps News

Story by Master Sgt. Phil Mehringer

BELLEAU WOOD, France (May 13, 2005) -- The European continent has been ravaged by wars, skirmishes and battles for thousands of years. Most recent examples include the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. In Central and Western Europe, locations of battles that transpired long ago are still visible.

History and time for many battles stopped when the last battle-ax, shield or sword fell to the ground. The location of The Teutoburg Massacre, where Arminius led Germanic tribes who destroyed three Roman Legions more than a thousand years ago, hosts a welcome center and a museum.

There are also many other famous battle sites that are of heightened interest to Americans. Several companies provide tours for the battle of Waterloo, located near Brussels, Belgium, which resulted in a definitive end to Napoleon's reign. More recent sites might include Omaha Beach, made famous during the Allied invasion of Normandy during WW II or the Reichstag in Berlin where the last remnants of the Nazi empire were toppled.

Battlefields in Europe in many ways are similar to battlefields spread throughout the United States. Monuments, parks, signs, and flagpoles designate most areas of significant tourist value. Urban sprawl holds many locations hostage however; select areas have survived with little change.

For U.S. amateur historians and battle enthusiasts, these select moments in history must be visited and explored.

For Marines visiting European battlefields, the top priority is an area approximately 80 kilometers north of Paris. Like the area near where the U.S. Civil War battle of Antietem or Sharpsburg was fought, named by what side of the war you were on, the area hasn't changed much since the fierce battle that claimed thousands of Marines' lives so long ago.

A cemetery containing the graves of 2,289 U.S. service members, most of whom died during the battle, is located on the northern edge of the woods that is now called "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" or "Woods of the Marine Brigade." However, during the battle and still today, the area is most commonly referred to as "Belleau Wood."

During the month of June, 1918, this patch of 100 acres of heavily wooded hunting preserve became the focus of the German army and the American Expeditionary Force sent to stop the German advance on Paris.

Since the last radio call went out June 26, 1918, announcing, "Belleau Woods, now U.S. Marine Corps - entirely," was sent by Maj. Maurice Shearer, commanding officer 3d Bn., 5th Marine Regiment, Marines have returned to the location were their predecessor's earned them the nickname "Teufelhunden" or Devil Dog.

Springtime in the heart of France means tractors are in the field, turning over the soil and planting the seed that will generate the summer crops. It was shortly after a pass from one of these mighty tractors, in a hard turn next to a wood line, that a grisly discovery was recently made.

Gilles Lagin has been walking in Belleau Wood ever since he was ten years old. On a day in mid February, 2005 he was leading a small group of American military enthusiasts in Belleau Wood when they sighted what looked like bones unearthed by the fresh pass of a farmer's tractor.

"We were walking on the eastern edge of Belleau Wood, looking out towards the town of Boureches," said Lagin. "We were very surprised to find the bodies like this lying in the field."

On this day of research, the group was following the footsteps of William Eugene Lee and actions of the 2d Bn, 5th Marines. Lee, who passed away in the summer of 2004 at the age of 105 years old, was the oldest Marine who fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood.

Although not complete, remains from at least three soldiers were discovered in all. Two sets of remains were obviously of German soldiers. However, the third set left some doubt for Lagin.

After two sets of remains were discovered "We continued to dig and we found another skull with a Marine Corps belt buckle nearby," said Lagin. "So, maybe it was a Marine buried with two Germans or three Germans buried with a Marine Corps belt buckle -- we will never know."

Shortly after the discovery, German and U.S. authorities as well as the Gendarmerie were notified. A cooperative effort between the governments will be made to identify the remains. If they can not be identified, it is most likely that the remains will be buried in a mass grave in Berlin, said Lagin.

Although the remains and equipment were in the field for nearly 87 years, many of the items were easily identifiable.

Equipment and miscellaneous items found with the remains:

- Gas masks
- Bayonet
- Canteens
- German regimental ring
- Parts of iron cross ribbon
- Maps showing trench line
- Parts of tunics
- Spoons
- Buttons
- Leather from boots
- German cartridges

- Marine Corps belt buckle

"I think it was like a mass grave that was buried very, very, quickly," said Lagin. "The bodies might have been placed in a shell hole and they were forgotten forever in this place. After an artillery barrage, assault or heavy battle the dead were quickly buried. There was not time to sort out bodies or parts of bodies, everything was buried together, as fast as possible."

Due to the existence of these hasty burials, many men were missing, both German and Marines, added Lagin.

Gilles Lagin
The forty-year-old Lagin is an amateur historian and resident expert about the history of the American Expeditionary Force that came to aid his country's efforts to rid itself of the German invaders during the Great War. Lagin leads American visitors on the battlefields, often times walking in the footsteps of relatives or explaining actions and events that led to a units success or failure.

Lagin's knowledge concerning the actions of the AEF credits him providing historical advice to Hollywood during the filming of "The Lost Battalion." However, Lagin's passion lies with a particular battle involving U.S. Marines in June of 1918 when they stopped the German army as it advanced towards Paris.

During his 31 years of study, Lagin has collected enough artifacts to create his own Belleau Wood museum, in the town of Marigny en Orxois, located approximately 8 kilometers from the Belleau Wood.

From this same town, 87 years ago, Marines gathered to march forward to meet and stop the German front lines as they closed in on Paris.

Gilles Lagin (center) describes how he found the remains of several WW I participants to Sgt. Maj. Frank Beilmann (left), sergeant major, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Europe and Master Gunnery Sgt. Dave Bumgardner, MFE G3 operations chief. Lagin was conducting a battlefield study for several Americans when they discovered the remains. Photo by: Master Sgt. Phil Mehringer

Local resident and historian Gilles Lagin, who has studied the battle of Belleau Wood for more than 30 years, shows Master Gunnery Sgt. Dave Bumgardner a German gas mask found next to the remains he discovered on a recent battlefield study. Photo by: Master Sgt. Phil Mehringer

II MEF Marine chooses Corps over college

from Marine Corps News

Lance Cpl. Bryan T. Orwig, radio operator, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Headquarters Group, II MEF (FWD), works on a radio at Pumphouse Barney May 4. Orwig, who is serving temporary additional duty orders with II MHG, is originally from 8th Communication Battalion.

Photo by: Lance Cpl. Evan M. Eagan

Submitted by: II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)
Story by: Lance Cpl. Evan M. Eagan

FALLUJAH, Iraq (May 11, 2005) -- After experiencing the college life for a short time while attending a technical school in Winter Park, Fla., a communications Marine, with S-6, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Headquarters Group, II MEF (FWD) chose to take a different path. This path has led him to the Marine Corps and his first deployment to Iraq.

“I joined because I was sick of spending my parents money,” said Lance Cpl. Bryan T. Orwig, a 19-year-old Highland, Md., native. “I dropped out of Full Sail, a tech school in Florida where I was learning C++ programming. I was doing video game design. I went for about six months and was partying a lot and got distracted and eventually ended up going back home.”

After returning home, Orwig realized he needed to do something with his life besides living under his parents roof.

“After the first 15 days at home I decided I didn’t want to stick around there and live off my parents,” he said. “I got in contact with a Marine Corps recruiter and within a week I was at Parris Island recruit depot.”

With a history of military service in his family, choosing to join the Marine Corps was not a tough decision.

“My grandpa was a truck driver in the Army during World War II and my step-dad was in the Air Force,” he said. “My parents were very happy that I joined because they could see I was trying to better myself.”

Orwig, who deployed with S-6, is serving temporary additional duty orders from his original unit, 8th Communication Battalion, where he works as a radio operator.

“I’m working at S-6 with some Marines that got TAD orders also,” said Orwig. “I really enjoy it out here. I got really close with guys that I came out here with and made some really good friends.”

With S-6, Orwig is still working in the field of communications.

“I maintain connection with other radio units and do cryptographic changeovers,” said Orwig during his latest assignment of doing a cryptographic changeover at Pumphouse Barney. “We also do a lot of convoys. We do about three a week. We go to Baghdad on supply runs and drop off tractor trailers and bring some back with us.”

Being in Iraq has helped Orwig become more proficient in his military occupational specialty because of the fast paced environment, he said.

“It’s really hands on out here,” he said. “I learned pretty much everything I know about my MOS by being out here in Iraq.”

When he gets out in 2007, Orwig said he may decide to give technical college another shot or use his Marine Corps training and join the police force.

“When I get out I want to do something in law enforcement,” Orwig said. “If I do then I will try to go SWAT [special weapons and tactics] after serving as a police officer for five years. If I don’t do that then I will go back to school at Full Sail to be a video game programmer.”

For more information about this article, please send an e-mail to

At Work In...

The Army...

A Soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division awaits the command to jump from a C-17 Globemaster III onto drop zone Sicily, at Fort Bragg, N.C., during Joint Exercise Forcible Entry. Photo by Andy Dunaway.

The Navy...

An F/A-18C Hornet launches from the flight deck aboard the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during flight operations. Reagan is underway conducting flight deck certifications in the Pacific Ocean. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Dominique M. Lasco

The Air Force...

IRAQ -- Senior Airman Christopher Adams scans the desert during a patrol of areas surrounding Tallil Air Base April 27. Airman Adams is a security forces journeyman assigned to the 407th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)

The Marines...

Lance Cpl. R. J. Blackwell, radio operator for 2nd Platoon, Company B., 1st Recon Bn., takes part in his platoon's IED sweep while providing security for the minesweepers that normally would be in front of the Humvee.Photo submitted 05/12/2005 Taken by Lance Cpl. Daniel J. Redding

The US Coast Guard...

BOSTON, Mass. (May 10, 2005)--Lochlin Reidy, the survivor of the Almeisan, was transported from the Sakur Express off Boston. Reidy thanked awaiting Coast Guard crewmembers from Station Point Allerton as they escorted him\onboard their 41-foot utility boat. USCG photo by PA3 Kelly Newlin

A Message of Thanks from Argentina

Received via email...

Dear U.S. Armed Forces:

I'm Ignacio C--------, I'm 20 years and I write from Mar del Plata, Argentina. I'm a fanatic and supporter of the United States of America. I write you to send all my support to all the men and women who integrate the Armed Forces of the United States.

I tell you that my grandma is American; she was born in Boston, Mass. and she is 80 years old but she lives over here. Maybe, it's some American blood that I carry in my veins, the love to the law enforcement and the freedom, what causes me a strong feeling to USA.

The terrible attacks of September 11, 2001 against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon caused me an enormous sadness and anguish. I requested to God for all the people who died in that tragic day. I knew that the World had changed and that anything would be the same as before.

Hence, I support totally the war against the damned terrorism. I think that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will be good to stabilize the Middle East, which is a very dangerous area for the Western World.

Also, I know that the situation in Iraq is not the one that was expected. I hope very soon the situation is stabilized and that the Iraqi people can have its own military and democratic government, so that all you can return to your homes with your families.

I suffer and grieve for all the lives of the American soldiers that get lost in the battlefield. And I remind the families who lose their relatives in the war, for that reason, I pray to God that protects and bless all the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces every night. All the Americans should thank, to remember and to honor to all those who gave their life in the name of the United States.

I know there’s no medal, there’s no money, and there’s no words to comfort the pain of the lost loved one. But I also know and I want you to think what it would happen if the war on terror moves to the American cities? I think that all that was built in three centuries would collapse. And I do not wish to sound apocalyptic, but realist in view of the magnitude of our enemies.

United States is strong, powerful and rich. It's the nation that has created this new way of life. It's the Nation Leader of the Free World, the nation of the freedom, of the security, of the law, of the technology, of the consumerism, etc.

You have created this good system, which has some flaws, but it is the best in the Earth. And we won't allow some murderers without conscience to put in danger our way of life. The objective is clear: to put an end to this humanity's scoria to preserve the future of our civilization.

United States has a lot to still give as empire and we won't allow that none intervenes in our road.

American soldiers, I say you: Don't lower the arms, continue, stay strong, be careful, protect yourselves and keep your morale up, because I know that it's very hard. I know that you are suffering. I know that you want to come home. But I have faith that the future will be better. United States needs of you. United States supports you. United States is what it's for you. If United States didn't have men and women like you, it wouldn't be as strong and powerful as it is. Thanks so much for protecting the USA every time.

Because of your bravery, loyalty, heroism, patriotism and, mainly, to eliminate to the enemies and the threats of the United States of America, all of you are my heroes and idols.

As fanatic of the United States, my biggest dream will take place the day that I set foot upon U.S. soil but I will be totally happy when I visit some base of the Armed Forces and I say to each and every one of you, in person, THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO FOR THE STATES.

I thank you vastly your attention and I sent greetings and encouragements to all the men and women of U.S. Armed Forces. I’ll look forward to your answer (if possible), to make sure me that this message has been read.

May God bless USA's Forces and their families. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Thank you all very much.
Good luck!
See you soon!

Ignacio C------: a pro-USA, a pro-Rule of Law, hence, a pro-U.S. Military.

PS: Every week I enter in the webs of USMC, Defend America and ArmyTimes to look for news and stories about you. In my computer, I have more than 700 pictures and a lot of data about you (U.S. troops), with a total of around 12,500 files about USA.

Thank you, Ignacio, for supporting our Heroes.

In Today's News - Friday, May 13, 2005

Quote of the Day
"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too."
-- Somerset Maugham

News of Note:
Iraqi film at Cannes for first time
Boy Scout Backs U.S. Troops
Scouts Deliver Taste of Home to Safeguard Sailors Associated Press
Iraq car bombings kill 21, injure 90
Violent uprising breaks out in Uzbekistan
Pentagon to recommend U.S. base closures
FBI nabs soldiers, police in drug sting
Officials weighed shooting at errant plane
Panel sends Bolton nomination to Senate

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Insurgents bomb busy market in Baghdad
Abbas aide calls for postponing election

The US News: Iraq News
U.S.-Iraq battle touches on Syria border
European officials deny Saddam oil link
Four potential Abu Ghraib jurors dismissed
Blair backs U.N. intervention for Iran
Iraqi brigadier general killed in Baghdad

Fox News
Shutting for Savings
Base closings may conserve $48.8B
Process of Sainthood for Pope John Paul II Opened
Bolton to Get Full Senate Vote
Israel Files Complaint After Rocket Attacks
U.N.: Iraq Emerging as Hub for Drug Trafficking
FBI Nabs Troops, Officers in Cocaine Drug Sting
Abu Ghraib Colonel Punished
Second Abuse Trial Opens
Byrd, Frist in Filibuster Clash
Deadly Protests
Uzbekistan police battle masses
House Bill Bases Terror Funding on Risk

Department of Defense
Myers Addresses Violence in Iraq, Afghanistan — Story
Reconstruction Efforts Progress in Iraq — Story
Al-Oubaidy District Improvements Continue
Pilot Confident in Capital Region Security — Story

U.S. Soldiers Build Base in Bermel District — Story
Afghan Colonel Works to Control Borders — Story
Texas Guard Unit Keeps Camp Taqqadum Safe — Story
Texas Soldiers Open Doors to Iraqi Kids' Education
Army Medical Team Trains for Wartime Mission — Story

Iraqi Freedom Combat Equipment Returns
'Desert Dogs' Keep Aircraft in the Air
Forward Deployed Medics Save Lives Behind Scenes
Army Chief of Staff Visits Vanguard Troops
Work Begins on New Vehicle Repair Facility
Battle Assessment Reviews Hero's Fight

U.S. Paratroopers Deal Blow to Taliban Forces

USS Mustin Rescues 27 in Persian Gulf
Deployed Mustin Sailors Stay In Touch With Home
Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ship Supports Iraqi Navy

Base Realignment and Closure 2005

Roadside Bombs Kill U.S. Soldiers
2 Marines Killed in Operation
Operation Matador Continues
Operation Cobweb Targets Enemy
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Iraq Reconstruction

Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Insurgents Killed in May 8 Battle
Villagers Ask for Security Presence
Program Aims to Repatriate
Afghanistan Daily Update
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Symposium Focus: War on Terror
Jets Respond to Stray Aircraft
Pakistanis Safeguard Gulf of Oman
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Rumsfeld Recommends BRAC Cuts
Service Leaders Support BRAC
Bush Approves of Funding
Airmen Get Strykers, Prep to Deploy
Top Docs Applaud Care Initiative
Committee Reviews Pay Package
Ohio Guard Engineer Team Deploys
National Guard, Reserve Update

BRAC: Communities Get Guidance — Story
BRAC Web site

Officials Identify Army Casualty — Story

from The Weather Channel

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar

Today in History
1110 - Crusaders march into Beirut, causing a bloodbath.
1568 - At the Battle of Langside, the English defeat Mary Queen of Scots.
1607 - English colonists land near James River in Virginia.
1643 - English parliamentary armies beat Royalists at the Battle of Grantham.
1787 - Arthur Phillip and 11 ships of criminals set sail for Botany Bay.
1828 - The U.S. the Tariff of Abominations.
1830 - The Republic of Ecuador is founded.
1846 - After 2 months of fighting, the U.S. finally declares war on Mexico.
1861 - Queen Victoria announces England's neutrality.
1864 - Battle of Resaca, GA.
1865 - In the final Civil War engagement, at South Brownsville, TX (Palmito Ranch), PVT John J. Williams, 34th Indiana, is the last man to be killed.
1888 - Brazil abolishes slavery
1913 - The first four-engine aircraft makes its first flight.
1918 - The first U.S. airmail stamps are issued; they cost 24 cents.
1926 - The German Government of Luther falls.
1927 - "Black Friday" on the Berlin Stock Exchange.
1930 - Hail kills a farmer in Lubbock, TX; the only known hail fatality.
1939 - The SS St Louis leaves Hamburg with 937 fleeing Jews.
1940 - The British bomb a factory at Breda.
- Winston Churchill says, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
- Queen Wilhelmina of Holland flees to England.
- Germans break through at Grebbelinie
1941 - Resistance fighter comte d'Estienne d'Orves' trial begins.
1942 - A helicopter makes its first cross-country flight.
1943 - In Africa, German and Italian forces surrender.
1945 - U.S. troops conquer Dakeshi, Okinawa.
1946 - The U.S. sentences 58 Mauthausen camp guards to death.
1949 - The first British-produced jet bomber has its first test flight.
1958 - In Algeria, French settlers riot against the French army.
- Jordan and Iraq form the Arab Federation.
1958 - In Venezuela, Vice President Nixon is attacked by rioters.
1965 - A number of Arab nations break ties with West Germany after it established diplomatic relations with Israel.
1966 - Federal funding is denied to 12 southern school districts due to violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- The Rolling Stones release "Paint it Black."
1968 - 1,000,000 French demonstrate against De Gaulle and Pompidou.
1979 - In Teheran, Iran, the Shah and his family are sentenced to death.
1981 - In St. Peter's Square, Pope John Paul II is shot and wounded.
1982 - The Soyuz T-5 is launched
1985 - Philadelphia police bomb a house held by the group "Move", killing 11 people.
1989 - Approximately 2,000 Chinese students begin a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square.
1991 - South African activist Winnie Mandela is convicted of abducting four blacks.
1992 - For the last time, three astronauts simultaneous walk in space
1996 - O.J. Simpson appears on British TV to discuss his "not guilty" verdict.

1769 - Joâo VI, King of Portugal
1795 - Union Navy Commander Joshua Ratoon Sands
1830 - Confederate Governor Zebulon Baird Vance
1857 - Sir Ronald Ross England, pathologist, Nobel Prize winner
1913 - William R. Tolbert, President of Liberia
1930 - Mike Gravel (Senator-AK)
1931 - Jim Jones reverend, orchestrated Jonestown Massacre in Guyana
1933 - Sid Morrison (Representative-WA)
1939 - William W Cobey Jr (Representative-NC)
1942 - Vladimir A Dzhanibekov USSR, cosmonaut (Soyuz 27, 39, T-6, T-12, T-13)
1952 - John R Kasich (Representative-OH)
1957 - Claudie André-Deshays France, cosmonaut (Soyuz TM-24)

1390 - Robert II the Steward King of Scotland (1371-90), dies
1864 - Junius Daniel Confederate Brigadier-General, dies at 35

Reported Missing in Action
1968 - Donald G. Smith (PA), Released in January, 1969
1969 - Aiken, Larry (NY), Deceased; Recovered from VC Hospital in July, 1969
1969 - Bessor, Bruce C. (VA)
1969 - Brooks, John H. (ME)
1969 - Masuda, Robert S. (CA), Possibly thrown into well
1969 - Munoz, David L. (CA), Possibly thrown into well
1969 - Scott, Mike J. (NJ)
1970 - Huberth, Eric J. (CA), Survival unlikely-SAR
1970 - Trent, Alan R. (OH), Survival unlikely-SAR