Browsing: Iraq

Sgt. Dakota Meyer was presented the Medal of Honor in September, and it was hard to not get swept away in the excitement. Hundreds of people packed the East Room in the White House as President Obama hung the award around his neck. Millions more watched the ceremony on TV. And at the center of it all was a painful situation that will be difficult for families connected to the ambush in which Meyer’s heroism was honored to ever accept. I’ve written at great length about the Sept. 8, 2009, ambush in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, so there’s no reason to cover…

In his four years stationed at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego, former Cpl. Joe Potter had never met Cpl. Jason Dunham. Potter joined the Marine Corps the year that Dunham died. But  Dunham’s legacy as a combat warrior and Medal of Honor recipient who gave his life to save his fellow Marines from an insurgent’s grenade in Iraq in April 2004 had been well ingrained in Potter’s memory during the four years he  spent working as an expeditionary airfield specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. Since hanging up his uniform, Potter has worked in his father’s painting business,…

Sometimes, the little things mean a lot. The Marine Corps Division of Public Affairs showed that this morning, dedicating its conference room to Maj. Megan McClung, the first female Marine officer killed during the Iraq war. McClung, 34, was killed when her up-armored Humvee hit an improvised explosive device on Dec. 6, 2006, in Ramadi, the site of some of the most violent fighting in the war. She had been serving as a public affairs officer for Multi-National Force West, which was led at the time by Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer. About 20 Marines and a small handful of media…

It has been a long time coming. More than eight years after the initial U.S. invasion of Iraq, the last Marine team involved in Operation New Dawn has left the country. Iraqi Marine Training Team 03, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., rolled out on a convoy to Kuwait on Oct. 14, according to a U.S. military news release. They trained the Iraqi marines in patrolling, night tactics, marksmanship and other military skills. The training team instructed more than 1,200 Iraqi marines and conducted over 500 combat patrols with them in and near Umm Qasr, a port city in southern Iraq.…

Sometimes, you follow the news to places you don’t expect. Today is one of those days. The bronze butt from the Saddam Hussein statue toppled by Marines in downtown Baghdad on April 9, 2003, is now up for auction, according to several reports out of British media. It was reportedly put up on the block by Crafty Nigel “Spud” Ely, a former British soldier working in Baghdad that day with a TV news crew. From The Sun out of London: Spud said: “The Marines had a cordon of tanks guarding the square. But I wanted a piece of the statue.…

Former Marine captain and UFC pro Brian Stann is partnering with the Call of Duty Endowment this Memorial Day weekend to raise money for programs that help place unemployed veterans in jobs. You don’t have to actually empty your pockets to help. Just “donate” your Facebook status by visiting the endowment’s page here. For every person that does, the endowment will give Stann’s organization — Hire Heroes USA — $1 for a grand total of up to $50,000. After transitioning to civilian life in 2008, Stann, who received the Silver Star for actions in Iraq, helped organize his own non-profit…

Smoke the Iraqi donkey is on a publicity tour of the United States after making his first public appearance Sunday at a farm just outside of Warrenton, Va. Smoke, the former 1st Marine Logistics Group mascot in Iraq, was the guest of honor at a bar-b-que hosted by Debbie and Alan Nash, polo enthusiasts and friends of retired Col. John Folsom, the Marine who fought for months to bring Smoke to the United States from Iraq via Turkey and Germany. At the Nash’s place, Smoke got his first bath and was pampered with carrots and more grass than he likely…

Smoke the donkey, arrived in the United States Thursday and will be out of quarantine tomorrow. For those of you who don’t already know Smoke, he is an Iraqi donkey who was adopted by Marines at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq, in 2008. He became the mascot of 1st Marine Logistics Group, but Marines were forced to abandon him when they pulled out. Retired Col. John Folsom, who was the camp commandant, never forgot about Smoke. Late last year he began working to bring him to Nebraska where Folsom runs Wounded Warriors Family Support, a non-profit that helps families of troops wounded…

Turkish authorities have granted Smoke the donkey, the former mascot for 1st Marine Logistics Group in Iraq, permission to enter Turkey at the Habur Gate checkpoint in northern Iraq. Smoke’s former guardian, Col. John Folsom, has been fighting to bring Smoke home since October, but has run into one problem after another. First, he had to convince an Iraqi sheik to lower the $30,000 price tag arbitrarily put on the donkey. Then Smoke had to be wrangled and sent to Arbil from Fallujah. Finally, Folsom and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International had to lobby Turkish officials to…

UPDATE, April 19: Marine Corps Times posted online this morning the story teased below. It’s available here. In 1994, the Pentagon explicitly forbade women from joining combat units, saying they were banned from “assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground.” The decree was made even as the military eased restrictions on other fields such as combat aviation, which allowed women to become war-zone pilots for the first time. It has stood for nearly two decades, including throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Change could be in the air,…

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