Female Marines in the Lioness program, Al Asad, Iraq
The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Major General Anthony Cucolo passed a new policy which may mean time in the brig for soldiers, airmen, and Marines who become pregnant while on active duty in a combat zone. This issue presents so many moral, tactical, and ethical problems I can’t possibly cover them all.
There is the issue of personal freedom, the issue of husband and wife deployed together, the issue of rape, the issue of accidental pregnancy…
Where do we draw the line? Let’s talk about the nature of military service.
When I was a kid I used to watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on television. In it, their nemesis, the Shredder, had a subterranean vehicle that drilled through bedrock and dirt to get places. That’s kinda what the Marine Corps’ newest piece of equipment looks like. It’s a modified M1A2 Abrams tank that shoots out line charges to clear IEDs, mines, and other obstacles. Check out the picture after the jump. Continue reading →
A Taliban militant with Afghan poppy farmers in Nawa district, Helmand province, April 2008.
In one year, Afghanistan produces enough poppies to satisfy 92% of the world’s demand for opium and heroin, according to the UNODC. The U.S. and United Nations reports that the Taliban pays up to $500 million a year for farmers to produce and smuggle opium out of the country. The illicit production of this crop provides the money that the Taliban uses to fight the United States, the legitimate Afghan government, and its allies.
Insurgent fighters are paid more than twice what Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and Afghan National Police (ANP) are paid. Plus, the Taliban outsources IED detonation and rocket attacks. Continue reading →
The Marine Corps is wasting no time raising an offensive against the Taliban. Early Friday morning 3rd Bn 4th Marines launched an aerial raid with a reconnaissance battalion from Task Force Raider. All in all, about 1,000 Marines and Afghan soldiers launched the operation called “Cobra’s Anger” into the northern end of Now Zad Valley, in Helmand province. And that’s not all. Continue reading →
Last night President Obama committed 30,000 more troops to the war in Afghanistan, with the plan to bolster and accelerate the training of Afghan National Army soldiers and police forces. His intent is to hand over security to Afghan troops. The “exit-strategy” for July 2011 is an incentive to train the troops in time for the effective pull out date.
Let’s talk the war in Afghanistan. I deployed there in 2005 with 2nd Bn 3rd Marines. We deployed to Kunar province, on the border with Pakistan. Asadabad, to be exact. While there, we took part in Operation Red Wings, to find a local insurgent leader Ahmad Shah. Continue reading →
Last year on a trip to the local pistol range, The Shootist, I was approached by a woman with a clipboard and a producer. I signed off on a waiver and was told there were hidden cameras all over the place. Well, little over a year and a half afterward, and an old Marine buddy calls up from Quantico to tell me I’m on Showtime.
Specifically, episodes 5 and 6. I haven’t seen it yet, and had I known anything would have turned up out of it, I would have plugged the book! Dammit! There goes free marketing, huh? Anyways, check it out if you get the chance.
During my tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, I came across many different types of wildlife. Camels, camel spiders, terrorists, a giant porcupine, goats, and sheep. But I also ran across some very friendly dogs and cats. Dogs, as you know, are frowned upon in muslim societies as being dirty and lowly animals. They are often not treated well… until the right Marine comes along. Continue reading →
I’m proud to announce that I will have an article published in the spring issue of Open Minds Quarterly. It is about the war, drinking, the aftermath, and what happens to a man who sees a lot of combat. I am really looking forward to having something to add to my short resume of writing experience, so stay tuned and I will update everyone on my email list about the article.
I’ve received numerous emails from you guys asking a plethora of questions. Most common are those who are considering joining the Marine Corps soon or in the next few years. Some of you are excited to be a part of a war. I decided to address all of these issues in this blog post. Continue reading →