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Email From Marine Battalion CO

This email gives you an idea of how fed up the military is with negative comments from the press and elsewhere.

From: Lieutenant Colonel Mark Smith
It is with the deepest sadness and most profound grief that I must report to you the loss of Daniel Wyatt, LCpl, Fox Co, 2nd Bn, 24th Marines, USMC. Daniel was killed in the line of duty, while conducting foot patrolling operations in Yusufiyah Iraq. Daniel was killed by a command detonated improvised explosive device. He died instantly, suffered no pain and was immediately recovered by his fellow Marines.

My command security element and I personally recovered Daniel's body and escorted him back to the forward operating base, and then onto the helicopter for the beginning of his final ride home. I cannot even begin to express to you the soul touching sight of combat hardened Marines, encrusted with weeks of sweat and dust, who have daily been engaged in combat, coming to complete and utter solemnity and respect in the handling of the body of one of their own. It puts on display a level of brotherly love you just cannot see anywhere else.

We conducted a memorial service for Daniel in the battle space owned by his fellow Marines, as well as one the following day at the battalion forward operating base. I have spoken with his fiancée and expressed the sorrow and sympathy of the entire Battalion.

If I might for a moment, I hear and see some of the media coverage. I hear the accusations and charges. I hear what could almost be labeled as hysteria over the situation in Iraq. Let me tell you something from ground level. The town of Yusufiyah that Daniel and his fellow Marines seized, had not seen government structure or security forces for over 8 months. FOREIGN FIGHTERS, TERRORIST AND THUGS have had free reign and have routinely murdered people in the market for no reason other than one day they MIGHT support a democratic process and speak for themselves. For nothing more than they MIGHT choose a version of religion even slightly different than the terrorists and foreign fighters. They live in squalor and fear. The Marines of Daniel's unit have not had a shower since seizing the town. They have eaten MREs day in and day out. They live a Spartan existence that few can imagine. And, on all my trips to their position for planning, coordination and command visits, I ask them if they want to be relieved. To a man, they look me in the eye and tell me NO WAY. Why? Well, I am not going to soften it for anyone, the primary reason why is to kill terrorists. Please remember, that is what they are trained and paid to do. But, they also tell me, they want to help the people of Yusufiyah. They want to show all of Iraq that they can stand on their own feet, push back against extremism, and with our help live the life of freedom that all men yearn for. Yes, from the mouths of these young and hardened warriors, this is what they tell me. And then...and then...they ask me how I am doing! Un-freaking believable! They worry about everyone else but themselves.

So believe what you want. That is your right as Americans. But I am telling you, there are no heroes on any football fields, basketball courts or halls of government. There are honorable and decent people all over America. However, the heroes are on the battlefields of Iraq. Suffering, killing and DYING that others might live, and live in FREEDOM. Americans free from terror, Iraqis free from oppression and tyranny.

I am an under-educated gun toter from Indiana who is just lucky there is an organization like the USMC where a half-wit like myself with some rudimentary combat skills can succeed. But I do know heroes! I am surrounded by over a thousand of them. And I am not the least bit ashamed to tell you I have wept like a baby for Daniel Wyatt. Because when one of these heroes falls, it is if an Angel of God himself has fallen from heaven! I will not profess glory of battle or any other such hype. I will profess duty and sacrifice. Daniel showed us all true duty and ultimate sacrifice. I have no doubt that the instant he died, he was whisked to heaven on the wings of Angels and placed before the unapproachable light of Jesus, who himself said: "greater love hath no man, than a man lay down his life for his friends."


Yours in profound sadness,

Mark A. Smith, LtCol TF 2/24 Cmdr Mahmudiyah, Iraq
I stand humbled reflective before such powerful emotions.
Very moving and far more meaningful that Tim Collins' manufactured press release.

It's a shame that the muppets who govern us probably never get to see items like this - mainly because they can't be bothered or are too busy covering their own backs with unfathomable spin.

Very touching, very meaningful.

Like ETA said - its a pity that those who pull the strings don't see it for themselves. The most negative comments I've personally heard of - is for those people, and others who may not primarily share the gallant attitude by those on this battalion.

My own wishes go out to them and the fiance :(
RIP Daniel, I hope you didn't know anything about it when it came.
Moving indeed,

Rest In Peace Daniel

Lest we Forget
Hey T6. Solid post. You say it was an E mail. Did it go to the media? Has it been officially released? If it has what is the bet that the left wing tree hugging media will either totally ignore it or drag soundbites out of it such as the 'We're here to kill terrorists' bit totally out of context.

My bet is that the truth doesn't fit the media plan so it will be ignored. Such is the pity. I think he grossly overstated his poor education. In my experience you don't get to be a Lt Col in the US Marines if you are an idiot.


Ethel_the_Aardvark said:
Very moving and far more meaningful that Tim Collins' manufactured press release.
Collins' statement was not a press release. It was an unscripted speech delivered face to face to the men of his battalion. No original written copy exists (look back at the photos of him delivering it - do you see him reading?).

You may not like the bloke (and many don't) but it was a masterful piece of speaking at the time.

What would YOU have said to 600 blokes about to cross the LD?
This email came off a milblog that I find to be a source of good info. Milblogs are the alternative source of info to the news media that like to portray one side of the war. If you watched the invasion reports it looked like we were losing. Thank god for the reporters that were assigned to the combat units because they were a source of what really was going on.
tomahawk6 said:
...Milblogs are the alternative source of info to the news media that like to portray one side of the war...
Not as much fun as MilfBlogs! :D

Anyway (leaving aside my smutty comment) it's definitely very poignant, however as usual the spams keep bringing religion into it. The Colonel sounds very common-sensical until he starts speaking about angels spiriting the young lad away to a lovely place etc etc. What a paradox huh - how can such deep thinkers be such shallow thinkers.
The US forces are an easy target for our wit and humour. Yet, if any should fall in the line of duty, is there grief any less than ours?

Are we not brothers in arms

RIP Daniel
Not sure if you ever met a US Marine officer before but they are simply outstanding guys. Its common for the Marines to invoke God alot more than does the Army. The US at its core is a very God fearing country and we are not afraid to invoke the almighty as we kill our fellow man. Its one of our quirks. This Marine officer means what he wrote as opposed to someone using the words for public consumption.
All very well, but I think I'd be a bit worried if my CO spoke like that: "...an organization like the USMC where a half-wit like myself with some rudimentary combat skills can succeed...".

A fifteen-year lance-jack, yes. Lt Col and CO, mmmm.
Please excuse the cynicism expressed by my British colleagues - it's a Brit squaddie thing - but they're wonderful anyway!

I was moved by Mark Smith's sentiments - I'm sure he's a well respected LOM.

RIP Daniel

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