Tuesday, October 25, 2005
I wish this image was sharper. The title of this pencil drawing is "Guardian Angel". Guardian Angel is a term coined by Major General James Mattis when he was the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom I, otherwise known as the initial invasion of Iraq. General Mattis knew that his Marines were going to have to adapt to a new kind of asymmetrical warfare as the period of reconstruction got underway. The mindset of the "guardian angel" required that the Marines be "no better friend, no worse enemy". It asked of them then, as it continues to ask, to consciously walk the thin line between assisting with the most generous of attitude, while being aggressively vigilant. This image shows a SAW (squad automatic weapon) gunner standing watch in 130 degree plus heat at high noon while fellow Marines work to gather up and destroy hundreds of unexploded mortar rounds in a residential area teeming with curious kids. For those of you who've never experienced these kind of temperatures, I invite you next time you take cookies out of the oven to stay there with your face at the open ovendoor for an hour. And do it while the kids are acting up.