1st Recon Bn. September Update Provided by LtCol. Higgins
As we turn the page into September and speed pass Labor Day, I wanted to take a quick minute to provide an update on life here in Iraq. I know it's been a while so I apologize for being remiss in providing updates. The good news here is that the media back home seems to have finally discovered that Al Anbar province is doing very well these days. Overall attacks are way down, the Sunni tribal leadership is more engaged each day, and the local populace are spending less time worried about security and more on improving their infrastructure and well being which is a significant change from the past. As far as the Battalion goes your Marines continue to exceed my expectations on a daily basis. And while the vast majority of areas in Al Anbar are vastly improved, their still remain a couple small pockets of resistance. Those pockets are where your Marines have been spending their time of late with extremely positive results as far as eliminating enemy threats in those areas and developing local security forces to fill the vacuum being created from enemy elements being forced out. It is stressful and physically demanding work, yet the Marines have never let me (and you) down in accomplishing the mission no matter how difficult the challenge. You should all be proud of the efforts of your husbands, Dad’s, sons, brothers, cousins, and friends in the Battalion as it truly is a team effort and the Recon Battalion team is the best that I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. The other good news story out here is that we have less than 2 months remaining on our deployment; however, we are not looking ahead too far yet as the worst thing you can do out here is become complacent, but it's nice to know that their is only one more calendar flip left before we get back home. As always I thank you all for your continued prayers and support and I look forward to thanking all of you in person upon our not to distant return.
In Bravo Co.’s World:
I am not sure how A-3 acquired a sorry game board, but this helps them kill some down time. The highlight of the game is getting a sorry card and then swatting one of your opponent’s pieces as far as you can as you yell “sorry”. A-3 seems to enjoy ganging up on Sergeant Nick Orlando to make sure he never wins; this appears to be both a great sense of amusement and entertainment for the entire platoon, particularly Sergeant Sigi Apodaca. The sorry game is pretty addictive, B-1 has also been playing, but they call it “Los Sientos” – so they yell “los sientos” whenever they swat an opponent’s piece. B-2 has taken it to a higher level with a form of combat sorry in which they don’t even look for an excuse to swat each other or various items while playing the game. We can’t print what they yell in mixed company, thankfully they have Captain Agur “The Apostle” Adams, or they all might have a ticket to an even hotter place. (Speaking of hot, how about those Red Sox!) - I am hoping to get the guys a Chutes and Ladder or Candy Land game next, I will see if my fourteen year old nephew has any of these games that he outgrew about 7 years ago.
While with the MEU, we acquired Captain Brent “Sugar” Winslow from the MEU staff. The most popular theory on the origin of this acquisition is that we fed him once - and like feeding a stray cat - could not get him to leave. His expertise and efforts contributed significantly to the company’s success, his eagerness and work ethic was remarkable, he did not consider any task beneath him and volunteered countless times to drive, serve as a gunner, and send traffic back to the MEU for Captain Nichols (all of which were denied, but that is not the point). Much to Gunny Stahls’ dismay, Sugar was prone to wander off after IED wires without a radio and the most accident prone Marine in his platoon, (Gunny requested one of those wind up leashes and is securing it to Sugar’s seat in the HQ’s Hummve). We have deservedly bestowed the title of Honorary Bravo Company Marine on him!
Bravo Company recently spent several weeks at a lakefront casino resort on Lake Thar-Thar, but I think we had a bad travel agent, because the place did not look like the pictures on the travel brochure! The casinos, all the buildings, water/plumbing systems, and electricity had all been destroyed about four years ago. I told the Marines, ‘look at the bright side, you still can tell everyone you got to go to a casino resort!’ – they are not buying this…. It was great to link back up with B-3 under the leadership of Captain Glenn Baker and Gunnery Sergeant Marty “the one man party” Williams. The platoon did some great things out in the AO that we can’t really talk about, they did tell us that next time we leave them ‘Home Alone’ they will continue to give up the CO’s office to anybody that wants it!
Kudos to Captain Bryan “B.A.-Bad Attitude” Abell on his promotion, well deserved! (We had to remind him that just because he has a cool call sign, he is not a pilot). Congratulations to Gunnery Sergeant Rodger Turner, Staff Sergeant John Bottema, Sergeant Stephen Geiger, Sergeant Evan Williams-McIntosh, and Sergeant Amish Smith on reenlisting for four more years in our beloved Corps! (Gunnery Sergeant Turner requested that his wife not spend his reenlistment bonus before he gets home).
Sadly, we said good bye to Sergeant Peter “Cold Rod” Rodriguez and
Corporal Jeffrey Tolentino as they returned back to the states last
month. Sergeant Rodriguez is getting ready to go to OCS and Corporal
Tolentino is separating from the Marine Corps and is off to college.
Thanks for your service to Bravo Company and the Marine Corps, good
luck to both of you! Rod & T, we don’t need anything from the states,
but thanks for asking, that was very thoughtful of you both (oh, never
mind, you two ungrateful $%&^#)%# guys didn’t ask us, we just figured
you would have by now)! (How soon they forget)! Master Sergeant Jimmie
Jakes (I know you are laughing some place), you were 100 percent correct,
Master Sergeant Sid ‘Hans’ Gruber has turned into you! He takes his
frustration out on the platoons, particularly when they breach his trailer
and take his supplies!
Thanks so much to all our friends and families for their thoughts, prayers, and patience. I know I sound like a broken record, but I would like to personally thank the RBE and the KVN, every request we have made has been fulfilled beyond our expectations. Special thanks to Master Gunnery Sergeant Jim Keely, USMC ret, and Warrior, on your thoughts, letters, and packages, first cold one when we get back is on me! As always, please feel to contact me, First Sergeant Carlo Gaita, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need anything from our end.
In Charlie Co.’s Corner:
Standing tall in H&S Co.:
On Camp Fallujah: :