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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Leadership Lessons from Iraq 
This one comes courtesy of the USMC, by way of a young marine lance corporal named Jessica, by way of Blackfive:

Although I wish I could have been home, my Thanksgiving was filled with motivation and inspiration. To start off, the unit got together and the CO said a couple of words to the unit. He complemented us for our hard work, and was extremely impressed with the plans we have for the future. We then had lunch with some MRE crackers, popcorn, and SPAM. Afterwards, like we do most days, we prepared for the convoy into the city. It was a good convoy and all went well. While we were in the city, we were asked to get together because the General wanted to talk to us. The General being, General Casey, a four star general in the Army who is in charge of all Coalition Forces in Iraq. He again complemented us on the good work and sacrifices we are making. He told us that our hard work had paid off and there is no longer a safe haven for insurgents in Iraq. He then said something that would inspire the weakest of heart.

He said, "The enemy was willing to die for their cause, and you gave them their wish".

He told us that next year when we are home for Thanksgiving we will be truly grateful for all the gifts in our life. We can look back at this Thanksgiving and be proud of what we are doing. Filled with juice and energy, we convoyed back to Camp Fallujah. As we came to the first gate to the camp, I was in shock because a Marine Corps Major was stand at the post. Along with the Major was a 1stSgt. I reported to the Major what convoy we were and how many packs we were carrying. He told me to proceed and have a Happy Thanksgiving. As we came to the second gate, a Marine Capt and a SgtMaj were standing the post.

There was not a PFC or LCpl to be found.

None of the posts had young Marines at them; Officers and Staff NCOs manned them all. The command decided that the young Marines were going to have the night off to get some good chow. It was unbelievable, and a wonderful site. The leadership took charge and took care of the younger Marines. This filled me with a pride indescribable with words.

I am so honored to be apart of an organization like this. Marines taking care of Marines with such unselfishness. As I went to Thanksgiving chow with my brothers and sisters, the IMEF Commanding General LtGen Saddler and the IMEF SgtMaj, SgtMaj Kent were serving chow. The amazing part was that they were so enthusiastic about it. Everyone was in a great mood, and ready to take on anything. It makes you think that if a 3 star general in the United States Marine Corps can serve turkey to a bunch of 18-20 year old Lance Corporals, then you can suck up whatever you have to do and stop complaining. So, as I went to bed, I felt very Thankful and indeed blessed for a great life. Tomorrow, I am sure will be full of fighting and disaster, along with the added stress of little sleep and cold days and even colder nights.

But, for tonight, it's Thanksgiving and everything is okay.



Jessica says she's honored to be part of an organization like this. But speaking as an officer, I've got to say that we're the honored ones: honored because these fantastic 18-20 year-olds like Jessica keep signing up, and these fantastic 24-26 year olds keep reenlisting -- no matter how many times I threaten to quit. It's people like Jessica that keep me coming back for more.

Yeah, I served chow in the thanksgiving line in 2003. So did all the other green-tabbers in the company, and with C company, 1-124th infantry, who was also manning Combat Outpost in Ramadi. I think I got the potatos post. It seemed like such a tiny gesture: I'm glad that little things like that still have resonance with the younger troops.

But the Battalion Commander manning the front gate - the most exposed position on the perimeter, a magnet for car bombs, was a classy gesture.

Semper fi, Marines.

Jason

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