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Monday, April 25, 2005

The Marines of Company E 
The Marines of Company E (the New York Times doesn't bother to tell us the parent unit, for some reason, but I want to say it was the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines...ah, yes, there it is on page 3) took over Combat Outpost, on the eastern edge of Ramadi, from the 1st Bn, 124th Infantry regiment's Charlie company, plussed up with a platoon (+) from my own Headquarters company.

I was a frequent visitor, and often spent a day or two there to visit HHC soldiers and get away from the flagpole across town.

The Marines of 2/4 took over central Ramadi from us, after a brief relief in place operation and a right-seat/left-seat ride process that was probably too short, in retrospect. The Marines were just trickling into town as we were packing up to leave, and we even encountered the 2/4's stay-behind elements in Kuwait frantically trying to scavenge anything useful they could find - especially armor.

Now the Marines are sounding off about equipment problems in the New York Times.

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/25/international/middleeast/25marines.html?hp&ex=1114488000&en=93b6d57bb86038e0&ei=5094&partner=homepage

It doesn't surprise me that the Times is covering the story. And it deserves to be covered. But where was the Times when Brian Chontosh won his Navy Cross? MIA, that's where! And the Times has been MIA on a lot of other stories, too:

http://iraqnow.blogspot.com/2004/08/why-arent-reporters-interested-in.html

Aside from the inexplicable omission of the unit designation until three quarters of the way into a lenghty article (WTF, guys???), the Times does a reasonable job here, for a layman's effort, in profiling the challenges of Company E. The leadership challenges, though, are by far the more compelling and interesting story to me, rather than the equipment shortage story.

Believe me, the Marines rolled into Iraq far better equipped than we did. We hit the ground in Iraq with a whole headquarters company full of troops and exactly zero (0) vehicles. What's more, the vehicles we didn't have yet had canvas doors on them. Armor? What armor? We still had the old Viet Nam era soft flak vests, not the kevlar vests -- and just two desert camoflage uniforms per man (the active duty standard issue was four). Actually, the active army guys were pretty incredulous that we had no kevlar vests.

Some notes about the New York Times article:

1.) The vehicles that the 2/4 wound up with were not really inherited from the National Guard. We left with all our organic vehicles, except for the ones which had been destroyed in combat. My battalion did draw three uparmored humvees, though, which we left behind, as well as several aging 5 ton trucks. The Uparmored trucks we left behind did have IED jamming devices on them, though how effective they were I really don't know. The 5 tons were armored with kevlar skirts. Not much, but better than a kick in the teeth, if you can get the damn things to stay on.

2.) There is a reason the Marine corps was so short of vehicles, and it's not the pentagon's doing, but a decision made long ago by the Marine corps. Consider: An army light infantry company consists of three infantry platoons, a headquarters section, a mortar section, and no vehicles. But every light infantry battalion in the Army comprises three line infantry companies, a headquarters company, and an anti-tank company: Each anti-tank company consists of 4-5 anti-tank platoons with 5-6 Humvees each, armed with a mix of TOWs, Mk 19 automatic 40mm grenade launchers, and .50 caliber machine guns.

When the Army mobilized the 1-124th, they didn't mobilize the anti-tank company. They told us to strip the troops from the anti-tank company and make our line platoons full strength. But don't bring the equipment.

Fuck that.

We brought every vehicle we could.

As a result, every line company was able to get a couple of humvees, as well as a crew of former anti-tank soldiers who had been together a while. The result was a sort of hip-pocket cavalry, and a handy escort force for the truck-bound infantry.

A marine battalion is light, but it does have a weapons company, which looks like an Army Delta company with a mortar platoon added and some of the anti-tank platoons coverted to heavy machine guns...which is effectively what we did anyway, except the mortar platoon in the Army belongs to Headquarters Company, not to the anti-armor company.

At any rate, the USMC, by design, seems to be lighter on the vehicles than the US Army is, and that is why they experienced such acute vehicle shortages early on.

3.) Yeah, Ramadi was quiet under the National Guard. So quiet the 2/4's predecessors took more than 50 wounded in the ten months or so we were in the town. True, the Marines had a harder time of it. The article says "...But the Marines had orders to root out an insurgency that was using the provincial capital as a way station to Falluja and Baghdad, said Lt. Col. Paul J. Kennedy, who oversaw Company E as the commander of its Second Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment."

Ah. As if we didn't. Sheesh, did Carole King write a song about the Corps?

(News flash to journalists: Just calling a unit "Company E" or "Company Aytch" tells me nothing. You have to give me the battalion and regiment. Yeah, I know there was a movie once called "The Boys of Company C." )

But that was just a movie. Serious military discussions always make the battalion and regiment clear on first mention.

4.) Why it is that the 2/4 took such a large number of dead after we left is a constant topic of discussion around the 1-124th's officers and NCOs, still. My own assessment - and this assessment is shared by most people I talk to in the 1-124th, as well as my sources on the First Brigade, 1st Infantry Division staff who are still in contact with me - is that the 2/4's problems began with the collapse of the super human intelligence network that the 1-124th was able to build over the months.

Our Bn S-2 was very proactive at working with and through the Iraqi police and some of the other tribal heads. Our company commanders were also building sources at the grass roots level, and we even had informants coming to the gates asking for platoon leaders and NCOs. They didn't want to tell information to anyone else, other than the officers and NCOs these informants had relationships with and had built up a level of trust.

Well, because of the abbreviated relief in place operation, the deep personal connections the 1-124th had built up were lost when the follow on unit came into town. Plus, the Iraqi Police Chief, Chief Jarda'an, had a close working relationship with the 1-124th's battalion commander, LTC Hector Mirabile, who is himself a career police officer in the Miami-Dade police department. The two spoke a common language. Chief Jardan also had a good relationship with CPT Rick Roig.

When the new unit came to town, though, Chief Jardan came calling. The 2/4 sent him away. He had lost his connection to the Americans. And when he lost his connection to the Americans, he lost his power base and his leverage with his constituents. And so he was forced to cut deals with the insurgency in order to survive. The 2/4 got wind of these and were forced to arrest the police chief themselves.

The transition also hurt the redevelopment effort deeply. One of the blessings of going to war with a Guard unit is that all of us have day jobs and careers in the real world. Since LTC Mirabile is a city cop, and Treasurer of the Miami Dade Police Department, he had a very keen understanding of how municipal politics work. He also read up a lot on Iraqi tribal society in the early weeks of the war, and drew heavily on that knowledge. Our front man for running the reconstruction effort was a Captain with over 20 years in the Army who was also a construction project manager in civilian life. Between the two of them, they knew how to keep constituents and crews happy.

As a result, the contracts were carefully divided up among the different clans, so that each clan was dependent upon the others to play ball in order to continue performing the services. If my neighbor's clan screws up with the foundation, I don't get to build the brick walls, and my cousin's clan doesn't get to do the painting, etc.

Each sheikh therefore had a vested interest in maintaining peace and order in his neighborhood. If his area became inoperable, he would lose out on his ability to provide money and jobs for his people. And so when there was trouble in a given sheikh's area, we could go to him and say "Someone's making trouble for you. Find out who he is, and drop him on our doorstep within three days."

And very often, that's exactly what happened.

When the 2/4 came in, though, they regarded the 1-124th's system--well imbedded in municipal politics in the U.S., to be unethical, and forced an open-bid system.

Penny wise and pound foolish. Yes, they saved a bit of money, but at the cost of freezing out the smaller clans who got frozen out of the work. Boom. Vested interest in success gone. These clans became prime targets for terrorist recruiting, and their areas became nearly inoperable within weeks of the 2/4 taking over.

Further, the Marines operated in smaller elements. A couple of them were actually overwhelmed before the marines could bring effective reinforcements to bear. The Army traveled and operated in groups not less than a platoon.

Also, when we were briefing the 2/4's leadership on the rotation and manpower requirements we were using to man the front gate and the outposts on the bridges, some Marine officer looked at our S-3 and said "We can do that whole thing with five Marines."

Well, that caused a bunch of snickering among the Army troops in the TOC.

Marines are good troops.

So are ours. And sometimes numbers count.

It's interesting to me that the Marines took so many of their casualties from IEDs in Humvees. We did, too, but not nearly the same number. I guess we were patrolling more agressively, and our intel was so focused from our on-the-ground humint sources that we were able to stay slightly ahead of the curve the whole time.

Splash, out

Jason

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers!

UPDATE: An artillery major (I believe from OIF II) writes in challenging me on the phrase "active duty standard:"

No, it wasn't the active duty standard.  It was the desired standard for all deploying units, but due to poor planning & stockage only the first elements to deploy with OIF 1 got them all.  My AC GS artillery unit received the same thing yours did (2 sets).  Flak vests and zero armored vehicles, too (we had three fiberglass turtle-back HMMWVs in the battalion).  We deployed w/ 4th ID, originally headed for Turkey.  4th ID commander tried to tell DA if he couldn't get the whole TF Ironhorse four sets of DCUs we'd deploy with all BDU's, but he was overruled.  I generally had the luxury of timing my laundry so I had a reasonably clean set of DCUs on any given day, but during several busy periods ended up wearing my woodlands.

As for body armor, one of our sister units came across a stash of Iraqi 'chicken plate' body armor at Taji.  We liberated a bunch and used it in numerous ways.  We wore it under our flak vests.  We hung it from the sides of our trucks to augment sandbags and 4 x 4 'armor'.  To my knowledge none of it ever got hit, so we don't know how effective it was.  I do know the one guy we lost got shot through the back of his flak vest (after the bullet went through the aluminum panel behind the unarmored HMMWV driver's seat) before we came across the chicken plate stash.

I really get tired of reservists saying that the 'haves' / 'have-nots' line was between AC & RC.  It wasn't.  It was between divisional units and non-divisional units.  I'm not sure, but I believe a lot of 4th ID's organic CS & CSS units had it as bad as we did, too.


I beg to differ on that last point though. The difference in support between Guard and active duty units, at least in the opening months of the war, was hardwired into Army Policy. CFLCC policy was very clear: They were to "support" active component units. Guard units were only to be "sustained."

Which is why it was July, and we had already been overseas for months (and in Ramadi for nearly two months) before we were able to get our soldiers into the modern protective vests.

More on the Flak Vest Follies here:

http://iraqnow.blogspot.com/2004/01/flak-vest-follies.html

Besides, I'm STILL trying to correct soldiers' pay problems left over from the screwed-up "separate but equal" reserve component pay system, even after having been back for a year. Why? Because the reserve component and active component pay systems are totally separate, and we were wholly unable to recieve finance support from parent units while overseas, since the Army didn't bother to make their systems compatible with ours. The finance problems were legion, affected nearly everyone in the unit (I'm talking thousands of dollars each), and were a major finger-in-the-eye to our soldiers' families.

Further, Guard units did not recieve individual replacements from the Army replacement system. No matter how many wounded we took, the Active Army replacement system could not provide us with one. single. replacement. soldier. Even as we had Guardsmen still in Florida screaming to join the units in combat, we couldn't get the time of day from the Army replacement system. Had we taken the kind of casualties the 2/4 did, the problem would have been debilitating.

Watching junior active duty officers promoted past me in the regiment got a little old, too - as did watching active duty troops rotate home to go to service schools and personnel schools that qualified them for promotion while Guardsmen were stoplossed in and by specific policy could not take advantage of the same NCO education system as our active duty colleagues was difficult to take, though fortunately that was such a raging slight to guard troops that that didn't last long.

So maybe there were other problems, between divisional and non-divisional units, totally separate from ours. But the concerns of reserve component units were unique, imbedded in Army systems and policy, and not trumped up, and I'm not exaggerating them in the slightest.

The Army seemed to get semi-serious about addressing some of these problems around January of 2004, but there was a lot of resentment built up by that time at the failure of the Army to integrate active and reserve component soldiers.

These feelings have largely dissipated by now, but they were very real at the time, and ought to be part of the historical record, and definitely ingrained into the institutional memory of the Army.

Jason

Comments:
Insteresting. I had to do a search on Company E's nickname in order to figure out it was the 2/4 the Times was talking about.

I've posted a short, sarcastic retort on my blog about my dismay over the decision to open the story recounting the bloody incident over nearly a year ago, calling it "news."

Thank you for your more in depth analysis.

The handover of intel systems proved a problem in Diwaniya as well, but not because of perceived ethical dilemmas, rather, we (the 3/5) were handing the city over to the Polish troops, and we have no bi-lateral intellience sharing treaty with them. We briefed them as best we could, but I suspect they felt pretty much on the own. Apples and oranges, I know. I just wanted to point out that intel sharing rules often make handovers a bitch.
 
Thanks for answering some of the questions I had after reading the Times piece this morning.

I agree with the previous comment that the handover situation needs to be improved, especially since so much of what you described was good, solid Civil Affairs stuff and the Reserve/National Guard units are good at applying their usually much greater level of experience to the problems compared to younger (mostly) active duty or reserve combat units without a good foundation in such matters. Thought provoking, I hope, at higher levels...
 
Jason,
Great post. Thanks! About the Times article... You know, it's not so much that an article is written about needs and shortages and so forth faced by our troops at war; hell, when is that not the case to some degree? It's that someone like me-- someone who I would imagine is within the target demographic of the NYTimes-- no longer trusts the most well-known newspaper in the country to deliver an accurate story. Again, not that there's NOT a story worth telling, just that, well, let's just say I don't have much confidence in the NYTimes doing the article in a sincere attempt to improve the situation for the troops and promote efforts for a successful campaign.

Perhaps that makes me someone who only wants to hear good news. Well, who doesn't? But it boils down to trust, I think: I don't see any reason to take seriously an article by a paper that has derided and dumped on the effort from Day One-- and especially since the "News" they've printed as "Truth" gets constantly overturned by facts coming out of other sources (namely bloggers).

Am I on the side of the Marines? Absolutely! Do I think the NYTimes is on the same side? Uh...
 
As a former Marine and former Soldier -- and as anyone currently serving knows -- egos get in the way of common sense.

My son was in Fallujah with the 1-504 PIR same time you were in Ramadi. His experience with trying to hand over to 1/5 Marines was the same -- they would do it their way and didn't want to retain anything or any ideas that the Army had.

None of which excuses the NYT for a mediocre but don't know any better article...

In the Marines defense, I've seen it work both ways and even within the services. Egos are dangerous...

Now retired and live in FL. Thanks to all the FLARNG -- but hey, I was a grunt; especially to the 124th Inf -- for not only Iraq but with the right after you got back Hurricane help.
 
Jason, perhaps there is an unintended miscommunication between the Major's AC/RC perceived line and your RA/NG experienced line. While RC and NG are similar in many regards, a big difference between them, as I understand it, is funding responsibility. Namely, the RC is always part of the US Army, and so all their funding is the responsibility of the DoD. The NG, on the other hand, is, at least in part, State funded and therefore getting the DoD $$ released to make up for what many thought was a State responsibility was an issue.

As it is with most things, follow the $ and you'll usually not be far off. AC/RC funding battles are bad enough without addign State legislatures into the mix. I'm not a Guard expert (don't have that flavor in the Navy), so slap me if I've got the $ trail wrong.
 
Besides correctly pointing out the fact the author of the NYT article failed to mention the full unit name (company/battalion/regiment) of the marine company in the article, I don't understand your conclusions.

Are you saying that lots of marines in E-2-4 died senselessly because their leadership arrogantly and flippantly disregarded the lessons you weekend warriors gained during your tour prior to theirs in that A/O? Or, as the NYT was trying to report, many marines died senselessly because of poorly armored vehicles and too few men to accomplish their mission?

I think it was a combination of both, but also due to the fact the conflict in that A/O grew much more violent in and after 4/2004, so they may have simply faced much more action than your unit, which had nothing to do with leadership problems and everything to do with an enemy who grew more bold, coordinated, and aggressive than during your tour.

The NYT article merely reported and articulated the frustration of the grunts in E-2-4, and in that narrow scope it did a fine job
 
Unfortunately, I think this is too often typical when units relieve other units en masse; the turnover is always too short, the incoming unit always thinks that they can do things better, based on their previous doctrines. This is more pronounced when the turnover is between two such different entities as the Marines and the Army; throw in the fact that there was an active duty vs guard difference as well, and, unfortunately, there is going to be a tendency to look past/ignore what the reservists were able to do to succeed, and to go by your own "book". Sadly, there has always been infighting between the active duty and the reserves, although it does seem to have improved in recent years.
 
I agree that while the RIP/TOA plan is a good one, unless incoming commanders at every level realize that despite what they know or have done in the past, the guy he is relieving has been doing it most recently.

You make a great point about the loss of human intel relationships duringthe handover, we experienced the same problems. We need to use some database modelling and standardization that I hope civilian law enforcement uses to ensure relationships both threat and friendly are better maintained. Handoffs are hard on thise instance, it's not like you can hold a big "getting to know you" social for the incomings and the local friendlies to meet and greet.
 
I was with 3d ACR out in Al Anbar. We were relived by the Marines in MAR '04. I can attest to the same problems with the RIP/TOA. There was even less of a right seat ride with us. We were essentially told "we're Marines and we're going to do it our way". Whether this caused increased hostility and casualties in a province that was more or less quiet for a year is up for speculation. But I will say our FOB was never attacked until the day after the Cav left. I just call it as I see it....
 
I had a good belly laugh when I read the part about "maybe we just patrolled more agressively" than the marines of 2/4

Perhaps the problems you percieve in the turnover to the marines comes from the arrogance in thinking that reserve forces are inherantly better than the full time forces.

I think the reason 2/4 had it so much worse than you did is because the insurgency never really got going until you guys left.
 
As for Paul's comment about the marines who took over in Al Anbar (where in al anbar? Fallujah? Hit? Haditha? Qaim? Husaybah?) You guys are just too much.

Have you ever stopped to consider that perhaps the reason things were "more or less quiet" for a year while you were there was because the smugglers and theives in al anbar could do anything they wanted while you were there, including providing the terrorists in Bagdad, Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah with arms?

Maybe they just sat on their porches and waved as you drove by because they knew you were no threat
 
"As for Paul's comment about the marines who took over in Al Anbar (where in al anbar? Fallujah? Hit? Haditha? Qaim? Husaybah?) You guys are just too much.

Have you ever stopped to consider that perhaps the reason things were "more or less quiet" for a year while you were there was because the smugglers and theives in al anbar could do anything they wanted while you were there, including providing the terrorists in Bagdad, Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah with arms?

Maybe they just sat on their porches and waved as you drove by because they knew you were no threat"

Myabe. Or maybe we didn't give them a reason to attack coalition forces (ie we didn't piss them off like the Marines might have).

Like I said, all I can attest to is what I saw before the RIP and immediately afterwards.
 
BTW the 1/124th got into regularly with the inusrgents. I treated a lot of their wounded.

3d ACR got into it with the bad guys regularly as well. Highway 12 saw most of the ambushes, but not around the towns. I drove through al Hit regularly without narry an incident.

As for not being a threat, the 3D ACR RCT numbered close to 8000 troops with all attachements. We were replaced by a like sized unit that had LESS heavy armor and attack helicopters than we had on the ground. We were hardly toothless. And we were in all those cities named above (except Ramadi which belonged to 1/16 and Fallujah which was belonged to the 82nd).
 
Funny thing about you Paul, and others like you, instead of feeling ashamed that you left such a bad situation for the marines (perhaps they were killed due to your lack of action) you blame the marine. That qualifies a a bit more than just attesting "to what you saw"
 
Wow..........8000 of you? Amazing. How did that many of you studs manage to leave so many bad guys out there?

How many SBVIEDs? And you saw how many suicide bombers?

Your logic depends on the belief that the hardcore insurgents and foreign fighters were willing to work with the coalition forces all along, but those darn marines just blew it by "pissing them off"

If you've got the balls to do so, tell a few marines your theory. Problem with doing that is you would hear the truth, which based on what I read you saying, you wouldn't want to hear
 
I think most of you need to back off a little bit, realize that you're on the same side. There is no need for the arrogance that one side knows everything, or that one side is tougher than the other; learn from each other's mistakes!
 
You know Geoff, I would have been just as critical of an Army unit that did the exact same thing. It just happened to be Marines this time. And yes, I think the way the Marines came in helped to inflame the region a bit. I will stand by that statement. I was there. Were you? Marines aren't supermen and they are by no means infallible like some out there would like to believe. They're regular joes, and yes they can make mistakes (gasp! How's that for a concept).

Funny thing Geoff is I am proud of what the Cav accomplished in Al Anbar. We handed over to them a good product. Which is why me and a lot of my fellow troopers were surprised when it all went to shit after a couple of months.
 
Funny thing. Jason from warriorsvoice (who is a Marine whose unit replaced us) was bitching that the MEU replacing them were doing the exact same thing - not listening to the advice hard won from combat. I related to him my observations from our RIP and you know what he said? "Yup, we did that. Thanks for the reality check".
 
GeoffMike,

Your postulate that the marines must have patrolled more aggressively than the Army would have some support if the marine corps took a higher percentage of direct fire casualties than the Army did (as a result of surprising the enemy, and closing with and destroying him on our own terms), while at the same time decreasing the number of and lethality of the IEDs.

But according to the Times, here, the Marine Corps, like the Army, took most of its casualties from IEDs, not from firefights. Indeed, if you back out just a couple of exceptional incidents in which two Marine patrols were overwhelmed last summer, one resulting in twelve KIA, and another resulting in 3-5 (I forget the exact number), then the percentage of IED casualties is even greater. The best explanation I can come up with is a collapse of human intelligence collection at the transfer. You can patrol as agressively as you want, but without human intelligence focusing the effort, all you do is make targets out of your troops in the hopes of getting lucky.

The initiative lies in raiding, not in reconnaisance patrols and shows of force. But you need intel to know where to raid.

"The insurgency didn't even really get going until after you guys left."

Hey, I'll pass on the complement!

Look, it's pretty clear to me that something was not firing on all cylinders in Ramadi last year. I've presented my hypothesis as to why. The USMC is free to take it or leave it.

No unit is perfect, and our mistakes were legion - especially early on. But we also had one quality the 2/4 apparently lacked:

Luck

Jason
 
Jason,

I think you need to re-read my comments. I never said the "marines must have patrolled more agressively than the Army".

I responded to comments Paul made claiming the Army patrolled more agressively, which is hogwash.

Your "mistakes were legion"? Funny that you only list the Marines mistakes.

The only negative comments from you two are about the US Marines

As for Paul being "surprised when it all went to hell in a couple of months", that's what happens when you ignore facts, you are surprised by them at a future date
 
Well Geoff, you must obviously be a Marine....

BTW you need to re-read my comments. I never said nor insinuated that the Army patrolled more aggressively. On the contrary, I think the Marines being over-aggressive may have caused them problems. And yes there is such a thing as over-aggressive.

"As for Paul being "surprised when it all went to hell in a couple of months", that's what happens when you ignore facts, you are surprised by them at a future date."

How ironic, as this may be applied to you as well. And what facts have I ignored? That the incoming troops pissed off the locals by firing all of the folks we had hired, taking away the one source of income in the immediate area? By insulting and alienating the local shieks thereby rousing a once sedate populus? Tell me your facts Geoff. I'd love to hear them.

As for negative comments about Marines, well they were the guys we RIP'ed with. Like I said, had that been an Army unit doing the same types of things, I would have had the same comments. This isn't about interservice rivalry, it IS about a unit letting their ego get in the way of them listening to advice. The Marines don't have a monoply on this by any means.
 
Jason,

Paul is the one who said the Army, or Nat'l Guard, patrolled more agressively than the Corps. I responded to him. You attrributed to me something I never said.

The facts you are ignoring are the ones that point to a delayed insurgency, which never really got going until Feb or Mar 2004. There were indeed strikes before that, but not on the scale on numbers that began when Zarqawi and Sadr began their attacks. That's the big one I would point to. It took the Baathists time (after running and hiding) to get their bearings and get organized. It took the foreign fighters time to gain footholds in places like Fallujah and Mosul, and it took Sadr's gang time to figure out how to attack. All of this got going full force about the time you guys turned over your areas to the marines. Perhaps I'll put together a time line of events and post it on my blog.

I am not a marine, my son is, and was going through boot camp and SOI at that time. He spent from Sept '04 until March '05 in Husaybah, where the terrorists who slipped away from Baghdad gathered unmolested for months before the marines got there.

For the past year I read everything I could about what was going on in the al Anbar province, and I see it quite differently than you and Paul do. In fact, my son, who spent 2 weeks with the Blackjack Brigade in Fallujah in November, would vigorously disagree with you, but that's a marine for you
 
OK, I'm sorry Paul, I have totally confused yours and Jason's comments (no excuses, but I'm having difficulties seeing the names on the comments) I thought Jason wrote that last post, and I confused his comments with yours, then, when I went up to re-read this entire exchange, I realized my mistake. Jason is the one who said the army patrols more aggressively than the marines, you, Paul, did not.

Thank you for clarifying it for me.
 
The facts you are ignoring are the ones that point to a delayed insurgency, which never really got going until Feb or Mar 2004.

This statement misses the point. Aggresive Patroling can, to a degree, reduce the insurgency. It dates back to Malayasia. However, it is not the sole way to reduce an insurgency. There is the Civil Affairs mission which the NG troops seemed to have developed quite well.

The Marines, if this report is thought to be true...and I do, took Civil Affairs out and shot it.

The best way to stop IEDs? Convince the people that it isn't in their best interest to do so. Hearts and Minds. It works when applied.

QM
 
I picked up on this story on my blog site too. After writing a lot on Humvee's for the Army this NY Times article jumped out at me for two reasons. First it was based on stuff from a year ago. That is hardly news anymore. Second, the subtle anti-militarism in the article that suggests the Corps is silencing critics by relief of commanders who question the USMC.
 
Thansk Steve, couldn't have said it better myself.

I posted a less than complimentary response on another board about the NYT's writng and got flamed for doing so. I guess I'm going to be alone on this article. I just have lost all trust in the NYT. Perhaps my memory is still a bit too sharp. Maybe in the upcoming years I'll be dim witted enought to take what the NYT has to say for fact.

As for right now...
 
I don't know why it is that suggesting that the OIF I troops in Al Anbar and of course, the 1-124th patrolled more aggressively than the 2-4 and other units that were there at the same time.

The fact is, the 2-4 is publicly on record saying that they had stopped patrolling in Ramadi almost entirely by July of 2004, as did other headquarters at the time.

http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/nation/9201795.htm

Sure, they have their reasons, some of which were political. But there's no doubt to my mind that we ceded the initiative in the region around that time. I mean, ceding a bridge -- a piece of key terrain -- to the enemy because he planted an IED on it once?

I don't get it.

I think the 2-4 may have been defeated psychologically.

Jason
 
BTW in case anyone didn't know, the 1/124th FL ANG is a VERY good unit. They were picked to support the Rangers and other SF units in the west during the initial phase of OIF. It is not at all unconcieveable that they are just as good at patrolling and light infantry ops as Marines are. And when you are in theater for a year, you get a lot of practice...
 
Jason,
Your last comments are unworthy of a response
 
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