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F. Swemson

A Marine Shares the Good News in a Letter from Afghanistan

by
Posted on January 6 2010 3:00 pm
I'm an Objectivist, a disciple of Ayn Rand since I was 15. Graduate of NBI (Nathaniel Branden Institute) 1964 I was a philosophy major @ NYU & dropped out to join the Marine Corps Served as a Combat Photographer in late 60's I've been writing for over 20 years.

marines.s

Wouldn’t it be nice if the media reported ALL the news from the front, rather than just the bad news?

War is horrible of course, but even under terrible conditions, our troops have made much progress thus far, and they’re justly proud of what they’ve accomplished. As a former Marine myself, I tend to pay extra attention to news about The Corps, and have strong paternal feelings for those terrific kids serving today. The following letter from a company commander in Afghanistan was just forwarded to me by one of my fellow Vietnam vets. Marines are trained to improvise, overcome & adapt, and  they’re certainly earning their pay right now. In The Corps we like to say that our job is to take bullets for civilians. I’ve never been more proud of  my boys than I am right now.

Letter from an in-country Company Commander of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines.

I finally have a minute to sit down and write a letter concerning the 
past few weeks here in Now Zad. I wanted to make sure that I got the word
out to everyone, so please send this out to friends and family that I may 
have missed on the distro list. I first want to say how incredibly proud of 
my boys I am. These Marines have been amazing and continue to be amazing.
 Between them and the amazing support staff that we have in 3/4 that allows
 us to do quite literally whatever we want to the Taliban, this has almost 
been an easy operation. Here are the up sides:

1) Not a single Marine was killed or seriously wounded during this 
operation.

2) We have taken more ground, run off more Taliban, liberated more 
villages, and seized more weapons and Home Made Explosives than has ever
happened in Now Zad. One of the caches of HME that we blew up was over 1100
lbs of HME (for a reference, that’s over 16 “Mine-Proof” vehicles completely
destroyed) and it was the largest find in Helmand Province. Ever.

3) We air inserted two companies, behind enemy lines, while my company
went straight up the gut of the enemy’s defense on the ground. The enemy
was so terrified that he abandoned his stockpiles and ran away to where he
thought he was safe. Some of them ran right into the arms of the British 
Battalion to our East, some of them we have hunted down since they ran.
More importantly, we have begun to HOLD the ground by immediately building
coalition positions in strategic locations all over the valley and
partnering with the local Police and Army units. Let’s not forget, the 
infantry is a TERRAIN based organization. We don’t have to kill people in
order to do our job, only if those people don’t want us on that specific
piece of dirt and wants to come get a taste.

4) We aggressively sought out and crushed a Murder and Intimidation
racket that was going on in our AO. (M&I campaigns are used when the enemy 
has no other tactic but overwhelming fear to instill on the local 
population. The ‘night letters’ that were being delivered said things like:
”If you accept help from Coalition Forces we will kill your children one by
 one…” Except that Marines got to the letter writers first. Whammy.

5) We have re-opened a once deserted town to the people and have begun 
to pay them to clean it up. Quick cash infusion + Heavy labor for young men
+ promise of more work = no young guys re-enlisting in the Taliban. One of 
the key components of this plan was to instantly follow up with a Civil 
Affairs Group that would handle local national problems that weren’t related 
to the Taliban (food, shelter, work, etc…)

6) We have begun Medical Programs for the locals with what supplies we
 have. Those supplies are limited, but they are able to cover things like
 burns, and kids stepping on mines (yes, we MedEvac them just like we would a 
Marine), and skin rashes, and even an infant with pneumonia who is just
 fine, now.

7) Our engineers breached a mine-field that had completely frozen other 
forces. Our Danish friends brought some tanks to help us out and they were
 able to break up one or two ambushes for us. Nothing is cooler than getting 
ambushed and having tanks with you to respond. Nothing.

8) Your Marines stayed on point, in the freezing cold weather, with the 
rain soaking them to the bone, to hunt down the Taliban who had been
abusing, killing, and stealing from the people of the Now Zad Valley.

9) We are bringing back government into Now Zad, so people have an 
alternative than the Taliban to settle their legal disputes, and have
someone to hold accountable for a lack of medical coverage, and to go to
 with their grievances about farming and commerce and security. They won’t 
NEED us to hold them up any longer.
 If all of this sounds like hubris, maybe it is. But I’m so proud of my 
Company and my Battalion for the planning and the execution and the follow
through that they have done. Be proud of your Marines, they did good work in December.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Much Love to all, let your friends know, we’re winning and it feels good.

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