'A GOOD DAY FOR THE CORPS'
By Peter Bronson
"Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled
grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our humvees was disabled from RPG
fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so
they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast."
That's not from an episode of The Unit or 24. It's not from an anti-war
movie. It's not from any newspaper or TV news reports I could find.
The quote comes from a "designated marksman who requested to remain
unidentified." He was reporting what happened recently in the city of
Shewan, Afghanistan. The story was told in a Marine Corps News report by
Cpl. James M. Mercure. It will give you goose bumps and make you want to
stand up and salute the nearest flag. Here's more, because it's a lot
better than anything I could write today:
"The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and
dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,"
the marksman said. Mercure reported, "Shewan had been a thorn in the side
of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine
Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines'
deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it
controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening
the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area."
"The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the
Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle
as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades.
After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon
sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions
the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear
through the enemy ambush site.
"The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish
when they're given the opportunity to fight," the sniper said. "A small
Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their
backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger
the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong."
"During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a
enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He
exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical
point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy
who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What
made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn't miss
shots, despite the enemies' rounds impacting within a foot of his
position. "I was in my own little world,"
the young corporal said. "I wasn't even aware of a lot of the rounds
impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making
sure my rounds were on target."
After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed
forward and broke the enemies' spirit as many of them dropped their
and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had
an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several
more. "I didn't realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken
through the enemies' lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250
insurgents against 30 of us," the corporal said. "It was a good day for
Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were
Such an amazing story of heroism and victory would have been on Page One
every paper in the country during World War II. Just 30 Marines giving
eight hours of hell to 250 insurgents is the kind of story that would
make a good movie -- if that kind of movie still could be made.
But these days, it did not even make Page 10. I couldn't find a story
about it anywhere. The only mentions were on conservative blogs and military
Web sites. The soldiers who are fighting for their lives and our country
might as well be in another dimension. News from the battlefronts in Iraq and
Afghanistan is apparently not important. It reminds the jaded anti-war
crowd that they were wrong. We're winning. It reminds a self-centered nation
that some Americans are making sacrifices much bigger than a loss in their
401(k)s. So we don't hear about it.
But we need to hear news like that, because a good day for the Marine
Corps is a good day for freedom. And that's a good day for America.