Over at The Green Side, there's another letter from "Dave," whose previous letter home was featured here at Grim's Hall. The second one is at least as good as the first. If he could be asked, I imagine that Mr. Reagan wouldn't mind sharing the page with this Marine at all.
Here's an excerpt. For those of you who aren't associated in some fashion with the USMC, let me begin by noting that "aggressive"--unlike in civilian life, where it's normally employed as a synonym for "unemployable" or "unstable"--is considered a high compliment among Marines.
During one of the ordered pauses in the Falluja fight, we chopped a rifle company off the line with a very aggressive battalion commander. Basically he was told that we thought the muj were running lose in the area and that he should head up there and "develop the situation." I have gotten to know this guy pretty well here. He is a very good commander and a tough guy. In fact, I remember telling him that if he went past a certain point, he would be decisively engaged. We had estimated that if he got into a decisive engagement, he could be outnumbered by as much as 5:1. You can imagine what he did. He took his Marines right to that point.
Sure enough, the fight was on. It was a 360 degree engagement that lasted 8 hours. An 8 hour firefight is an eternity. To put it in perspective, this guy was in both OIF 1 battle for Baghdad as well as the Falluja fight. He states that the firefight up near this town was the toughest he has been in. We fired quite a bit of artillery and brought in a number of sorties of close air for them. By the time it was over, the estimates (now confirmed) are that they killed over a 100 muj. We could not understand why they kept coming but they did (more on that later). Throughout it all, very accurate mortar fire up to 120mm was falling inside the Marine position. Automatic weapons and RPGs were crisscrossing through the perimeter. The Marines just
laid their in the micro terrain and squeezed of well aimed shots.
The Battalion Commander stayed that day until his guys broke the muj and he "owned the field" (his words). He then withdrew back to his original position. In the same town, we now have Marines living 24/7. They are conducting joint patrols with the Iraqi Police and the ICDC (Iraqi Civil Defense Corps). When they first arrived, the people were very standoffish and even hostile. Now we are getting more and more walk up intelligence (where the locals literally risk their lives in order to walk into our lines and tell us where the muj are). The reason for the turnaround is simple. We have pushed through the bow wave of intimidation and terror that dominated the town when the muj were there. The Marines did it through aggressive raiding and downright obstinate refusal to budge regardless of the costs. The people were watching the entire time and have made up their own minds where their best future lies. It has gotten to the point where the mujahadeen are now firing mortars indiscriminately into the town as it is the only effective means of maintaining any kind of influence over the people.