View Full Version : A Marine in the Field

11-22-2005, 08:50 AM
22 Nov. Washington Times editorial - A Marine in the Field (http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20051121-093501-8512r.htm).

As always, facts speak loudest from the original source. Thus we direct your attention to the op-ed page, where today we publish a 2,250-word dispatch on the war from a Marine fresh from Anbar province, the southwest point of the Sunni Triangle and a key resistance point for insurgents...

The biggest problems for the troops are from home. First, the politicians: There simply aren't enough troops to finish the job, our Marine reports. That's Washington's fault. The second problem is the biased media...

For those and other compelling reasons, we direct our readers to the real thing.

A Marine Reports From Iraq (http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20051121-093501-9601r.htm)

SWJ / SWC Note: This is the e-mail we posted here last week but subsequently pulled because we could not verify the original source... We''ll let you decide....

11-22-2005, 09:07 AM
Jedburgh (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/member.php?u=39) brought this to our attention in reference to the original post - the M24 SWS (http://www.snipercentral.com/m24.htm) is an Army sniper rifle, the Marine Corps uses the M40 (http://world.guns.ru/sniper/sn12-e.htm). It is doubtful that a Marine would be commenting on an Army rifle... Food for thought... Have Marines been issued M24's???

Here is the excerpt from the Washington Times Op-Ed piece:

The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in 308 but some in 300 win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700s. Great performance. Snipers have been using them heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a Marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock's record for confirmed kills with over 100

CPT Holzbach
11-22-2005, 02:17 PM
First, its most important to understand that this war varies widely depending on where you go. What the soldiers and Marines are doing out west is very different than what goes on here in Baghdad. All the intense fire fights dont happen here. Here its an IED/VBIED cat and mouse game.

The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon)
Do the Marines use a different nomenclature for the SAW? In the Army it's the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. In general, the author seems to prefer the heavy caliber weapons, the M240 over the M249, the M2 over everything, the .50 sniper rifle over the others. Now, Im all for devastating firepower and weapons with a high rate of fire, and I would expect such comments from a guy who's been in the intense firefights and high intensity urban combat. Here in Baghdad though, for example, the M2 .50 machine gun is looked on as gross overkill. The M240 with the 7.62 round is plently powerful. The fear here is collateral damage, and the .50 M2 can cause plenty of that. Ya gotta be careful in this counterinsurgency stuff when it comes to firepower.

All the bull**** about the "old" body armor making our guys vulnerable to improvised-explosive devices was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't make any difference at all in most cases.
This is true depending on the type of IED. There have been several cases of guys getting they're throats ripped out by shrapnel. The armor comes with a throat protector, which works. We have the pictures to prove it. Some types of IEDs can defeat armor, some cant. The ones that can will create plenty of shrapnel and spall. If the main shot misses you, it would suck to get killed by some little splinter.

The enemy would take two or three 155mm artillery shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone, and the explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank.
This is true in theory. A tanker who is up out of his hatch too high can be killed by a 120mm mortar round IED. But as long as your doing the right thing, its really only the "shaped charges" that are seriously dangerous (more on this in a moment). We shrug at the idea of being hit by 155mm IEDs, even when in the armored HMMWVs. Our ears dont shrug. Damn things are loud.

Lately, they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor.
In some places, this is not something thats been happening "lately". My BN was one of the first in the country to face them on a steady basis, right from the get-go. For OPSEC reasons I cant really get into the nature of these things. "Shaped charge" isnt entirely accurate, but its close enough. Lets just say we do NOT shrug at the thought of these. Ive seen the results. Ugly stuff.

His description of the Iraqi Army and Police is right on.

His description of morale is also correct. Some guys are not sure if were winning. Some arent too confident, some are very confident. But the lack of shoot-em-ups here is the biggest reason for that. The IED cat-and-mouse game is extremely draining, especially on morale. The soldiers just need to have some basic concepts of counterinsurgency explained to them, and they feel better. Understanding that were winning because the insurgents murder children with carbombs, just to get one of us, while were giving them candy (that carbomb that killed 20 or 30 kids a few months ago was in my sector) is something they should have received training in. Our soldiers dont understand this kind of war because theyre not trained to. Just hit that target on the pop-up range. Wrong answer. Its a whole lot more of other things. Training must improve.

His concern over media coverage and the political games in Washington is correct. Support the troops, right? WE DONT WANT CARE PACKAGES. We want letters to go to senators telling them that we want to stay and win, because we do. Did the soldier I lost in June die for nothing? Its up to the American people.

11-22-2005, 11:47 PM
Hey Capt. You Know I Just Couldn't Agree With You More. We Definitely Need Up Dated Training Right Down To The Lowest Level. Its Like Were In Another Age Of Reasoning. How Long Did It Take Us To Grow Out Of Fighting In Lines Just Shooting Your Enemy Point Blank, Not Being Able To Move, Like In The Movies. Well Now The Troops Need Some New Stuff. Has There Been Anything Hard Written On Ied's. I've Seen The Occasional Email On Threat Awareness.

11-23-2005, 10:07 AM
Jedburgh (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/member.php?u=39) brought this to our attention in reference to the original post - the M24 SWS (http://www.snipercentral.com/m24.htm) is an Army sniper rifle, the Marine Corps uses the M40 (http://world.guns.ru/sniper/sn12-e.htm). It is doubtful that a Marine would be commenting on an Army rifle... Food for thought... Have Marines been issued M24's???

Here is the excerpt from the Washington Times Op-Ed piece:

Both are modified Remington 700s. The M-40 has been tweeked by Marine armors.

11-23-2005, 10:14 AM
Both are modified Remington 700s. The M-40 has been tweeked by Marine armors.

I was once a Scout Sniper Platoon Commander, don't understand why a Marine would refer to the M40 as a M24. I did some quick research yesterday on the 'Net. It seems there is a growing consensus that this article started out as a legitimate e-mail, albeit much shorter and did not include many of the editorial-like comments that appear after the weapons' critique. Some have opined that people may have added their own particular observations and / or opinions to the original as it made the rounds across the Internet. Interesting....

On edit - I read a post on one bulletin board that the e-mail was a 'cut-and-paste' merge of several e-mails from different sources...

M. J. Dougherty
11-27-2005, 01:13 PM

In regards to Mr Dilegge’s concerns about the originality and authenticity of this AAR, I believe it is quite authentic. I have read several dozen informal AARs from various Marines of all ranks (CPL to COL) and hundreds of formal AAR critiques; they all tend to same pretty much the same thing, particularly when it comes to better stopping power with individual weapons. I also believe that the author for this particular article is a Marine Gunner, based on his introduction (“Hello to my fellow gunners…,”). Because his MOS would expose him to a broad range of weapons systems and reports on their effectiveness of both the Army and the Marine Corps, his commentary may reflect a broader survey than the average Marine. As his comments were relayed through his father to the Washington Times, there may be some influence from editing as well. Washington Times editorial bias leans to the conservative right in general.

Semper Fidelis,

Major M. J. Dougherty
United States Marine Corps
J2 Estimates Branch
United States Forces Korea (USFK)
DSN: (315) 723-7769
Email (W): michael.dougherty@korea.army.mil
Email (H): mjdoug1@center.osis.gov

12-01-2005, 06:28 AM
The e-mail published in the article under under discussion has made its way into the Dec MCCLL (https://www.mccll.usmc.mil/index.cfm) Newsletter:

Debunking an Urban Myth
Access to the internet has accelerated the formation of “urban myths” that are often widely disseminated throughout a community of users and become accepted as fact. The Marine Corps is not immune to this phenomena. Accounts of “personal experiences” of anonymous Marines can be rapidly proliferated on the internet, with no way to verify the authenticity by going back to the original source. One of the important tools that can be used to either verify or “debunk” an urban myth are the resources of the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned. As an example, MCCLL recently conducted a research effort to verify the accuracy of an anonymous “Marine personal account” that has been widely disseminated on the internet and published as a legitimate news story in the Washington Times . MCCLL was unable to authenticate the source for the story nor certain facts contained in the personal account.