Lt. Col. Paul Kennedy / US Marine Corps – 2004-04-15 14:09:23
FALLUJAH (April 11, 2004) – The last two days have been the hardest two days this battalion has faced in over 30 years. Within the blink of an eye the situation went from relatively calm to a raging storm.
You’ve known that since arriving there has been violence; attacks have been sporadic and mostly limited to roadside bombs. Your husbands have become experts at recognizing those threats and neutralizing them before we are injured. Up to this point, the war has been the purview of corporals and sergeants, and the squad they lead.
Yesterday the enemy upped the ante. Early in the morning, we exchanged gunfire with a group of insurgents without significant loss. As morning progressed, the enemy fed more men into the fight and we responded with stronger force. Unfortunately, this led to injuries as our Marines and sailors started clearing the city block by block.
The enemy did not run; they fought us like soldiers. And we destroyed the enemy like only Marines can. By the end of the evening, the local hospital was so full of their dead and wounded that they ran out of space to put them.
The Marines Will Not Be Beaten
Your husbands were awesome all night they stayed at the job of securing the streets and nobody challenged them as the hours wore on. They did not surrender an inch nor did flinch from the next potential threat. Previous to yesterday, the terrorist thought that we were soft enough to challenge. As of tonight, the message is loud and clear that the Marines will not be beaten.
Today the enemy started all over again, although with far fewer numbers, only now the rest of the battalion joined the fight. Without elaborating too much, weapons company and Golf crushed their attackers with the vengeance of the righteous.
They filled up the hospitals again and we suffered only a few injuries. Echo company dominated the previous day’s battlefield. Fox company patrolled with confidence and authority; nobody challenged them.
Even Headquarters Company manned their stations and counted far fewer people openly watching us with disdain. If the enemy is foolish enough to try to take your men again they will not survive contact. We are here to win.
The news looks grim from back in the States. We did take losses that, in our hearts, we will always live with. The men we lost were taken within the very opening minutes of the violence. They could not have foreseen the treachery of the enemy and they did not suffer. We can never replace these Marines and Sailors, but they will fight on with us in spirit.
We are not feeling sorry for ourselves nor do we fear what tomorrow will bring. The battalion has lived up to its reputation as Magnificent Bastards.
Yesterday made everyone here stronger and wiser; it will be a cold day in Hell before we are taken for granted again.
Lt.Col Paul Kennedy is the Commanding Officer of 2nd Bn, 4th Marines, stationed in Fallujah, Iraq. Kennedy offered this report as “an update for wives” of soldiers serving under his command.