Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Mundane and the Murderous

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell

Combat is a paradoxical dish whose recipe asks for generous dollops of the murderous garnished with a few dashes of the mundane. I was with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion of the 1st Marine Regiment from November 8th through the 19th for Operation Steel Curtain. These were 12 uninterrupted days and nights of combat against a devious and determined foe well apprised of our intention to do them harm. The local population was informed in no uncertain terms 24 hours ahead of time that the Marines would be attacking the following morning. There was no element of surprise. Civilians had to be taken into consideration and given the opportunity to exit from neighborhoods generously salted with foreign fighters; neighborhoods that would shortly boil over into lethal killing zones. Yet, even in the midst of the carnage Marines sandwiched everyday activities into the chaotic mix. Activities such as shaving, burning trash, sharpening knives, joking with buddies, reading paperbacks, playing chess with Iraqi soldiers, and writing letters served as simple punctuation marks between greater paragraphs of violence. These Marines even made time to celebrate the birthday of the Marine Corps, November 10th, with near-beer, steak and a slice of cake. Many greeted each other with a cheery "happy birthday Marine". An Associated Press writer, Jacob Silberberg, remarked to me that these young Marines,in the world of e-mail, must be the last people writing, reading, and longing for letters, and the only ones of their generation reading books for just for the sake of reading.

Today is Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful for my beautiful daughter, Ainsley, and a loving and supportive family headed by my gorgeous Mom. I am grateful to be a part of this noble cause, and to be surrounded by the finest young men and women I shall ever know......rough men all. Include them in your prayers and thanksgiving.


Beth* A. said...

Happy belated Thanksgiving, MDFay, and to all you Soldiers and Marines working/fighting in Iraq and carrying the battle to the insurgents, and in such a way as to do the least harm to civilians even at the cost of your own - you all will never, never get enough credit for that! Your artwork really brings it home; the contrasts. Jacob Silberberg's observations are quite true; my Marine friend asked for books and letters above all else (except maybe for chocolate and bug repellent.)
This holiday I am most grateful for all of YOU, our 'rough men'. God bless you each and every one.

J.J. said...

Happy Thanksgiving, even a day late I'm still grateful for everything you do for our country.
Thank you

whit said...

Thank you soldier, stay safe, we'll keep you all in our prayers.

John Hallowell said...

My son is there, and said you took pictures of him searching caves along the Euphrates. Thank you for what you are doing; every picture helps us understand a little better what Danny is going through.

Beth* A. said...

LTC Covert at 'The Daily Grind' mentioned that you got hit by some shrapnel,(small, I hope) and also that you are getting promoted to Warrant Officer in a week or so. Congratulations!

Mei-Ling said...

I read Lt.Col Covert's blog too, hope you're ok after your shrapnel incident!

And hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving, out family said a little prayer for those who serve...

Stay safe.

Stacy said...

Excellent artwork. Thanks for all you are doing soldier. Stay safe.

loiselles_gomarines said...

My son is 2/1 Fox and may be where you are. I've yearned for any little bit of detail that might bring me closer to him and his experiences. Thank you for giving us a colorful glimpse of the life our loved ones may be experiencing. Your writing is more appreciated than you will ever know.

Sending my love and prayers for your safety.


Semper Fi,
Deb Loiselle