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Saturday, 17-Jul-2004 00:00
Some pics from Da Grunt! OIF2
Welcome to OIF2 with the 2/2 Warlords!

Saturday, July 17, 2004
Hello Warlord Families (June 30, 2004)

Hello once again Warlord families!

As if we have not said it enough please know that we miss you and as each day passes we look forward even more to being reunited with you after having accomplished our mission here! It has been more than a month since I contacted you last and, as has been Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for us, we have moved yet again. We left behind our former area of operations near Fallujah and returned to our original location here in Mahmudiyah and set up shop again relieving an outstanding Army unit that had been here in Iraq for 15 months. Nevertheless, we have been reassigned here as the First Marine Division spreads its combat power to assist the fledgling Iraqi Government in asserting its new sovereignty. As an overall summary I must say once again what an honor it remains to be privileged to lead your husbands in this campaign to bring democracy and hope to Iraq. They continue to set the standard for the Division and Regiment with their courage, flexibility and determination to get the job done regardless of the circumstances or challenges facing them. They have truly shown the people of Iraq that they have no better friend or nor worse enemy than a Warlord from Task Force 2/2.

As of the 19th of May, we had established a new base camp near Fallujah and began to assert our presence in the operational area we had been given. Our immediate task was to disrupt the enemyâ??s ability to shoot indirect fire with mortars and rockets into the large base camp to which we were assigned as well as protect a major supply route and re-assert coalition presence in a previously unaddressed area. This was no small task and as a result of the efforts of the battalion, that kind of fire was virtually eliminated because of the creative and tenacious way that the Marines and Sailors of the battalion took the fight to the enemy. By varying their methods and tactics, the Warlords kept the enemy guessing and caused him to spend most of his time looking over his shoulder wondering when he was going to have a bad day. Let me tell you â?¦ many of them did and they never knew what hit them and in many cases where it came from. That fact was largely due to the superb application of combat power that was orchestrated by the small unit leaders in the task force. Sometimes it was airpower, sometimes it was snipers, sometimes mortars, sometimes heavy machine guns. Quite frankly, the enemy learned very quickly that he was outmatched by the Team, Squad, Platoon and Company leadership in this Task Force.

This fight has not been without cost and we have now lost three of our own and had nearly one hundred Warlords wounded as these cowards attempt to hide behind their roadside bombs and hit and run tactics. They have come to find however, that the Warlords are like their predecessors. You cannot beat them with cowardice, in fact, you cannot defeat them at all. This is not bluster, this is the observation of a commander who has had the privilege of endorsing countless combat awards during the last forty days recognizing some inspiring acts of courage and compassion. For example: one Marine drove his HMMWV directly into the enemyâ??s fire to draw fire from a pinned down team and then sprinted twice across 200 yards of fire swept terrain to re-supply his gunner with ammunition. Two others ignored their own safety to rescue and Iraqi family caught in a kill zone created by terrorist crossfire coming from a Mosque. A Corpsmen constantly exposed himself to enemy fire and continued to provide aid to wounded Marines as rounds impacted around his position and literally cut a tree down just over his head.

At the same time, when critical support functions needed to be accomplished, those Marines, often unsung heroes also pressed the attack with their unique skills. One story I very much enjoy telling is when a HMMWV that had been hit by a roadside bomb came limping in to the battalion area with casualties aboard, the doctors and Corpsmen immediately began triage of the patients. Simultaneously however, the Warlord Motor â??Tâ?? section and its mechanics conducted triage for the vehicle.

What was inspiring is that each of these sections went at their job with exactly the same sense of urgency and pride. The result was three Marines whose injuries were quickly stabilized in a manner that would make any hospital trauma team jealous and a vehicle that was combat â??deadlinedâ?? back in the fight in less than 30 minutes by a team of mechanics that would have made Jeff Gordonâ??s NASCAR pit crew envious. That is teamwork and professionalism! I could literally write volumes about the performance of your Marines and Sailors in every unit and in every circumstance. I see it every day and I am never long without observing yet another action that reminds me why I have remained a Marine for nearly twenty years â?¦ because of them.

I would like to make a special effort to recognize the Engineer Platoon and the Human Exploitation Team that were attached to 2/2 prior to coming to Iraq. Each has established an unprecedented record of success here in supporting our operations in Iraq. The Engineer platoon was the driving force behind and the primary architects of a weapons cache search plan that netted more caches in a 40 day period than had been found by the entire Division since arriving in country. Literally tons of rockets, mortars explosives, and other lethal materials were found thus eliminating the terroristâ??s ability to mix more lethal concoctions to attack the people of Iraq and the forces here to help them. The HET team also proved itself on numerous occasions by providing the kind of focused intelligence support required to ensure the battalionâ??s success on countless raids that netted no less than eight high value terrorist targets and numerous other anti-coalition fighters. Once again, I am indebted to them beyond my ability to repay and I only ask that they pass on their experiences so future generations of Marines can benefit from their actions here in this war-torn land.

The combat performance of your Warlords has been equaled only by their compassion for the people of Iraq. During operations at our previous location our initial contact with the local tribal Sheiks were met with coolness and an admonition that they would never work with us and would continue to fight us. Your Warlords met this challenge with their normal tenacity, compassion, and willingness to show the people the content of their character and within a month, they were being invited to dinner, being offerd tea even while on patrol, and were referred to as a new branch to the Zobai tribe. Amazing? Absolutely!

Also during this time period, the Marines of 2/2 led one of the first patrols back into Fallujah to open dialogue with the local leaders after a standoff of nearly two months showing yet agasin their flexibility and readiness to accomplish any mission. Soon after that mission we received word that we would be moving again and as a result, re-embarked the entire battalion yet again making our way back to Al Mahmudiyah and its 120 degree heat. We had just gotten our new camp livable and were starting to settle in near Fallujah when the word came. In true Warlord fashion, the Marines, Sailors and their leaders buckled down for the new task and turned over a â??pristine and very livable campâ?? to our higher headquarters from what had been a gravel parking lot less than 40 days before. Once again, they do it all, and do it all with style!

Snail mail remains regular for the most part given our constant hobo status, and your cards, letters and packages continue to brighten our days. It is accurate to say that the most welcome truckloads are those that carry the big orange bags that say â??US Mailâ?? prominently on their sides! Pictures of wives, children and sweethearts adorn the billeting areas and the artwork of our talented youngsters seems to be quite at home inside a dusty tent or tacked to the roof of the inside of a HMMWV. When coupled with the continued magnificent performance of our Key Volunteers and all of the informal support groups that have sprouted everywhere, we want you to know that we have never felt more supported. You remain the rock of strength on which we depend and the light that we look forward to coming home to. In many ways I think that is one of the reasons we have succeeded so well in dealing with the people here â?¦ we just try to give them the same respect and understanding that your example provides us! You are a combat multiplier for us here in more ways than you could possibly know.

Throughout another of the busiest months in the storied history of the Warlords, your Marines and Sailors continued to acquit themselves with honor, courage and compassion and I can only hope that you are as proud of them as I am. Whether in Time magazine, on the scoreboard of the New York Mets Shea Stadium or in the small villages of this new democracy, your Marines and Sailors have again made their mark in the hearts of those who have been privileged to come in contact with them. Please remember them and the families of our lost brothers in your prayers each night and pray for their strength, for their fierceness in battle and for their compassion. Those prayers have buoyed us until now and will continue to do so as each day unfolds. Please keep the faith that we are talking care of each other and that we are doing what Marines do â?¦ we are winning!

In closing, I will say yet again how humbled I am by the constant reminders I see that show clearly the greatness of the men of this Task Force. They continue to exceed all of my expectations and provide an example of what is best in our great country to the people of Iraq. They are a rare breed of men and one that will likely be forever changed by their experiences here in Iraq. Those experiences will have run the full spectrum of emotion and depth, but will be a constant companion in the years ahead when they look back on their service to Corps and Country. Whenever those times are recalled, they, and I, will know that they made a difference, and that their sacrifices were made for one of the noblest goals that can be imagined â?¦ they set a people free, and they gave them hope.

I will continue to do my best to lead your fine husbands, sons, brothers, fathers and cousins with the same tenacity and sense of purpose that has established their reputation among those whom they help and those whom they fight. As I said before, I am honored to know each of you to have been given the rare privilege of leading your husbands under difficult conditions. Please know that we miss you and love you all.

God Bless each of you, God Bless America, and Semper Fi from your Marines and Sailors in Iraq!

Humbly,

Giles Kyser
LtCol USMC
â??Warlord Sixâ??

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