Dear families and friends,
May 2006 was another month of challenges and triumphs for the Marines and Sailors of Weapons Company 1st Battalion 1st Marines. We spent most of the month split in half between two areas of operation, AO Summit near Baghdad (working out of Abu Graib prison) and the ITC located at good ‘ol Camp Fallujah.
MAP 2 and 3 were assigned to assist the battalion carry out operations in AO Summit, while 1 and 4 worked out of Camp Fallujah. During this time each platoon distinguished itself in its own way.
MAP 1, led by 1stLt Hansen and SSgt Carruth became the battalion’s 911 force. Whenever another unit was in trouble MAP 1 got the call. The platoon responded as the QRF (Quick Reaction Force) on almost a daily basis, responding to every crisis imaginable. In one case in particular they helped repel an assault by insurgents against an Iraqi Army position.
MAP 2, led by 1stLt Owen and SSgt Presley, ran the gauntlet between Abu Graib prison and Baghdad on almost a daily basis sustaining several IED attacks in the process. They had the inglorious but vital mission of keeping the “outlying sites” in AO Summit supplied. When not conducting those dangerous missions they responded as the QRF in AO Summit. In addition they directed fire missions against suspected insurgent mortar positions. Through their efforts mortar and rocket attacks on Abu Graib dropped dramatically.
MAP 3, led by CWO3 Fishel and SSgt Browne, detained over 80 insurgents helping to dismantle an insurgent cell that had long plagued that area of Iraq. In addition they played a major role in reducing IED activity along one stretch of highway. When they arrived the area sustained 3 IED attacks per day, when they left that dreadful average had been reduced to one per week.
MAP 4, led by 1stLt Pergar and SSgt Williams, tracked down and detained several HVT’s (High Value Targets). These long sought after detainees had managed to avoid detection by other “high technology” means. Using a mix of old fashioned detective work and light infantry skills, MAP 4 was able to track and positively identify the individuals prior to detaining them. In doing so they took some very influential and dangerous individuals off the street.
The individual acts of heroism from each platoon are too numerous to mention here in this letter. I can not overstate how much of a privilege it is to lead these Marines. They have met every challenge with professionalism and valor. Because of them this company has achieved far greater than our small numbers would suggest possible.
On May 28th the company reformed for the first time since early March. It was a special day for all of us. Our reunion however was short lived as we had to push back out to our battle space and resume the business of liberating Iraq.
As many of you already know we also moved into a new home; OP Raider. Our new home is an outpost in the northern portion of the battalion’s area of operation. It is a former chicken factory (thoroughly cleaned) converted into a base of operations. It lacks some of the amenities of the ITC at Camp Fallujah. We don’t have the internet, phones or air conditioning but it’s in a perfect location for us to influence the piece of Iraq that is our responsibility. The Marines and Sailors might not admit it but there is a certain sense of pride in knowing you have life a little rougher than everyone else.
Life at OP Raider may be spartan but it is important to remember our lineage. The Marines who came before us faced far greater challenges in more extreme environments. That is not to take away from this generation of Marines who are just as chivalrous as their ancestors. I have no doubt these Marines could fight through the bitter cold of the Chosin Reservoir or retake the Citadel in Hue City. It is simply to say this to those who may be alarmed by our current living conditions…we’ll be just fine.
Although we are coming close to the end of this deployment rest assured our focus is still where it needs to be. Complacency here is absolutely deadly. You have my promise that we will not allow ourselves to become complacent as a unit. We will finish this deployment in a manner befitting the high ideals and ethos wrapped in that sacred title; United States Marine.
Capt. Alton A. Warthen
Weapons Co 1/1 Cmdr
The following Marines and Sailors were promoted in the month of May:
Cpl Michael Mclaughlin , Cpl Scott Montgomery, Cpl Nathan French,
Lcpl Thomas Curran, Lcpl Matthew Dean, Lcpl Phillip A. Grillo, Lcpl Michael
Hoshour, Lcpl Brandon L . Hoyt, Lcpl Thomas Hucks III, Lcpl Joseph Lutz ,
Lcpl Michael P.Mardis, Lcpl Matthew Reimel, Lcpl Matthew Reindeau, L cpl
Peter Rowlett. Lcpl Shane Connolly.
The following Marines and Sailors received Purple Hearts in the month of May:
Sgt Jeffrey , Lcpl Phillip Grillo, Lcpl Peter Rowlett, Lcpl Kevin Abell , Cpl Paul
Bennett, Cpl Nathan French, Pfc Matthew Renfroe, Sgt Kenneth Haley.