Thursday, December 22, 2005
Election a Big Hit in Hit
Sorry I've been away so long. The last two weeks were spent with the very same unit I covered during the Ubaydi fight, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion of the 1st Marine Regiment (F/2/1). These Marines aggressively patrolled a large sector of Hit, Iraq located on the north side of the Euphrates River. The purpose of their presence was to give the residents of Hit the sense of security necessary to participate in the December 15th elections. The Marines walked these dusty streets, arid hill sides and fragrant orange and palm groves day and night to deny the insurgents access to either intimidate the populace, or plant IEDs. They also handed out information material informing the Iraqis about the election and encouraging them to participate. In January of this year 26 voters showed up at the polling sites and during the October constitutional referendum about 600 voted. On December 15th over 14,000 residents of Hit voted. I spent that historic day with Sergeant Keeley's 1st squad of the the 2nd platoon of Fox Company. These Marines provided security along the main avenue of approach from north to south across the Euphrates, "Route Mavericks". This was a street that over it's 600 yard distance had 10 IEDs implanted when the Marines first arrived. On this day over 4,000 Iraqis safely trekked from the north bank of the river, across the key bridge and onto the polling sites in Hit proper. I will post photos and art of this day later this week.
On another note. The young Marine lieutenant whose words from his final letter home that I posted is the same young man that President Bush in a speech last week spoke about, Lieutenant McGlothlin.