Maj D. A. Thomas

Deployment 2017- Letters from the front

33 posts in this topic

HR Lockworth

Weapons Platoon, India Company

FPO San Diego, CA 92102

 

Dear Dad,

 

Hey Dad! I hope this reaches you well. My company has recently been in it's first "operation" a couple days ago. We were assaulting a town somewhere near the coast. I was in the area with 3rd Platoon and the bit of Weapons that was assigned to that same area. After a bit of fire support up on a hill, my section moved down to a new position and met up with 3rd platoon. It was at that moment that we ran into a squad that didn't have a corpsman due to medical issues for that operation. So I had to stay behind and help people out while my section moved to another position. It was crazy. Thankfully, there were no KIA's in the section that I was looking after. Which hopefully means that I'm doing my job. These really are great men and I would give my life to make sure that nothing happens to them on this deployment.

 

Don't tell mom, but I did get hit by a bit of shrapnel after we were hit by a bombardment of mortar strikes. But thankfully, it was only a gash and I was able to fix myself up and with the aid of another corpsman, I was back in fighting condition. It's still pretty sore now, but we have made it back to the FOB since then and I have gotten proper medical care.

 

I knew this would happen at some point of the deployment. But I didn't think it would happen this soon. While I was bandaging up a few marines, I spotted a rifleman from 3rd platoon get mowed down by a machine gun. When I ran to his aid, he was still alive, so I dragged him into cover and started working on him. But, after I got him stable and was giving him an IV to get blood back in his system, his heart stopped pumping, and even though CPR was being administered, he died right there in my arms. Since then I have been doing a lot of thinking. And I made a promise to myself and god that I would never let another marine die in my care again. If I am working on him, he will live. I just need to repeat saying that in my head until I start to believe it.

 

Thankfully, we have a little bit until our next operation. So I have a bit of time to spend time with friends and calm down after all of the events that happened a couple days ago. From seeing terrible wounds and having to treat them, being fired at myself and being very close to death at times, to even seeing good men die right in front of me. There are a lot of things that I need to think about and calm down about. By the time this letter reaches you, I will probably be starting to get ready for the next operation. So please wish me luck in being able to not only save my buddies lives, but also my own.

 

Until next time,

Shane

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HN(FMF) S. Lockworth | 15M3149
Corpsman | S-1 Recruiting Staff

Battalion Aid Station, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines

 

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Capt D. A. Thomas

Headquarters, 15th MEU(SOC)

FPO San Diego, CA 92102

 

Patti-

 

It has begun.  Marines have landed on foreign soil and I was there at the beginning.  Colonel Penny will be pissed when he sees I was in the first bird but I had to see with my own eyes the situation on the ground.  I had to see how the enemy would react to fire, how they maneuvered and how well their command and control structure coordinates in the face of multiple threats coming at them at the same time. 

 

I was at a spot I felt crucial to the operation, right at the point of friction where RUC forces were retreating and NRC forces were gaining ground by the minute.  We stopped them cold.  I was surprised at the relative caution of the NRC commander in tasking his forces as we faced more of a probing attack than a determined one.  I know they were not expecting such a strong blocking force but it looked like we got hit by a skirmish line rather that a balled fist looking to smash the final resistance of the RUC forces on the island.  That is not to say we didn't have casualties.  SgtMaj Masters was hit in an artillery barrage and knocked unconscious for a bit.  I was moving through an area looking for him and almost stepped on him before I realized it was him and he was hurt.  He was checked out by a corpsman and he is good to go. 

 

We sent forces to take an island to our north and blew up a bridge in the south to confuse the hell out of the enemy commander and we have a few more surprises planned.  My main focus is keeping the momentum in our favor and keeping the enemy commander guessing.  W are being relieved by Kilo Company and all of India will be moving back to Airfield Corium very soon so they can be further tasked elsewhere. 

 

I keep thinking of a quote I heard about the invasion of Granada - "We have two companies of Marines running all over the island, and thousands of Army troops are doing nothing. What the hell is going on?", this is what I picture when someone looks back on this operation.  Our Marine all over the islands, popping up in unexpected places causing chaos in the enemy formations and plans.  We will need to stay vigilant and watch for the enemy commander to do the same as he is confused now but will not stay that way long unless we continue to throw him off his game. 

 

I know you won't get this some time yet but I feel it is important for me to put this to paper.  If for nothing other than to make sure I never forget it. 

 

I am fine and haven't even fired my weapon yet.  Tell the kids I miss them and I will call as soon as I get satellite time.  I will be writing my parents soon, let them know I am thinking of them.

 

Dave

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MAJ D. A. THOMAS | 15M2509
S-3 Operations Officer | TBS Instructor | S-1 Awards and Decorations Chief
MEU Headquarters

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*****Operational Immediate*****

To: Headquarters USMC

From: 15th MEU Operations Officer

 

6APR17- 0830hrs (Local)- All task forces engaged in direct contact with enemy forces.  TFA and TFB moved from defensive position into attack posture.  TFC assaulting enemy positions.  EWR site destroyed.  Enemy TOW missiles highly effective against BLUFOR vehicles.  Airfield Voccu seizure imminent.  Enemy minefield located but attempts to clear were unsuccessful due to enemy presence and size of field.  Logistics train will move through alternate route.

 

Kilo Company currently holding the Southern line.  Lima Company in reserve holding Northern Island.

 

Casualty reports to follow.

 

End Message

 

*****Operational Immediate*****


MAJ D. A. THOMAS | 15M2509
S-3 Operations Officer | TBS Instructor | S-1 Awards and Decorations Chief
MEU Headquarters

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2ndLt Kauer

HMLA-369 AH-1Z

FPO San Diego, CA 92102

 

To my Sun and Stars,

 

The time passes slowly here. The day runs long. The faces of my brothers show the attrition of war.  I have been fighting constantly since we have arrived here. I know you have the deepest of concern for my health and wellbeing. I know you have sat on the couch looking at the door waiting for me to walk in as you do every single day. You are my strength. You give me the willpower to be there for my brothers whenever duty calls. I must admit to you after the combat I have experienced, I have the blood of other men on my hands. My hands have destroyed other human beings. It is a reality that I am not soon to accept. I do not know how I can ever accept such a fatal deed. The tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of man at times. I trust my actions will allow the free peoples of the world to sleep a little better at night and have time to share the smiles and laughs we share so often. I envy you, your youth, and your distance from the cruel conflict of which I am a part. Yet I consider myself fortunate to be serving the cause of liberty and though I fear death, each day in peril I reaffirm my willingness to give my life in it's service. Rest assured I have every intention of returning to your most cherished embrace, Mackenzie.

 

With the utmost affection and love,

Jake

 

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2NDLT J. KAUER | 15M1954
AH-1Z Qualified Pilot | S-1 Personnel / Recruit Processor | S-9 Podcast Team / Event Staff / Media Team
HMLA-369 "Gunfighters"

 

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*****Operational Immediate*****

To: Headquarters USMC

From: 15th MEU Operations Officer

 

6APR17- 1400hrs (Local)- Task Force Alpha in heavy contact from NRC Armored and infantry forces attacking from the West.  Task Force Bravo successful in seizing EWR site and adjacent enemy FOB.  Task Force Charlie held in reserve ready to move to relieve Alpha or Bravo as needed.  Task Force Recon successfully raided enemy recon HQ capturing recon officer and material intelligence.  Task Force LED successfully rendered airfield Voccu safe for USMC personnel and equipment while transporting five (5) EPW's to the rear for debrief.

 

S2 indicates large enemy presence in newly constructed FOB on the neck, armor, infantry, SAM and logistics identified.  Satellite pictures requested of site for comparison against current drone and HUMINT pictures.

 

Kilo on orders to move West to hold territory taken by India, Lima holding the line in the South.

 

End Message

 

*****Operational Immediate*****


MAJ D. A. THOMAS | 15M2509
S-3 Operations Officer | TBS Instructor | S-1 Awards and Decorations Chief
MEU Headquarters

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Posted (edited)

Cpl H. Taylor

India Company, BLT 3/1

FPO San Diego, CA 92102

 

Katie,

 

I know you've been anxious beyond belief watching the news to see what's going on in Cordocas. I expect it'll be a few days before any solid facts get reported, if any manage to filter through the confusion and spin. Don't worry yourself too much though, I've been scared shitless and run around this island so fast I can't get my balance, but I'm doing OK and we're hitting the bad guys hard.

 

I can't really talk about where we've been exactly, but in the last 12 hours we've been thrown into one end of the island, relieved, pulled out, and chucked headlong into the other end of it. We're all tired as hell and we've lost enough people who had to go home that my platoon got rolled into another one. It's all confusing, but the guys I'm with are the best in the friggin business, and they're all die-hard devil dogs I'm honored to be working for. It's crazy, I've been so busy yelling into the radio that I've hardly had time to even screw around with anyone (you know that's my comfort zone), but I still feel like I know even the newest replacements in our ranks like they're my gross little brothers. And I mean gross.

 

As much as I try to lighten it up, it's been a difficult day. We had a whole squad get recalled stateside literally as this whole operations started (plus a bunch of other veterans, giants in this battalion who I respected so much), and that really pushed morale down- I've been running into a lot of sad marines, and a sad marine in a firefight is a terrible danger for the rest of us. I've had some close calls too. One of our AAVs, those big slab-sided floating spam cans on tracks, got nailed by a TOW missile earlier. The noise was tremendous, and I think all of our pants turned to brown-on-brown MARPAT in an instant. I torpedoed out of that thing before anyone else even grabbed their rifles though, and we all somehow made it out OK, if a little moist. Scared me half to death, but in a way it was almost routine for us - we pushed on on foot, and took an objective we didn't even expect to take.

 

Like I said, these guys are miracle workers, right from the godlike guys in MEU HQ on down to Pvt Greaseball. Anyway, I gotta wrap this up -  I was glad I had a minute to scribble before we get shoved into another mess and told to untie it, but it doesn't last long. We're moving fast, and that's a huge advantage. I'll see you soon, and please, please don't worry too much about me. I'm clumsy, it's true, but I'm pretty friggin spry for a guy with 15 pounds of just radio hardware alone on his back (never mind all the other stuff, I never seem to use it but it's there, all 60ish lbs of it). At this rate, it won't be long till you're poking me in the ribs so you can steal the blankets again. I love you, and I'll see you real soon.

 

-H

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Cpl H. Taylor

CPL H. TAYLOR | 15M1884
Infantryman | S-3 Range Instructor | S-4 Mission Team
3rd Battalion, 1st Marines

 

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*****Operational Immediate*****

To: Headquarters USMC

From: 15th MEU Operations Officer

 

6APR17- 1900hrs (Local)- Task force Alpha has successfully seized the fortified town of Pepinal and have moved to defensive positions outside the town.  Casualties were light except for Titan which lost both tracks.  Task force Bravo eliminated the FOB at OP Zimmer and swung South to stop a counter attack from the FOB at the land bridge eliminating 2+ enemy infantry platoons and supporting attachments.

 

The Law Enforcement Detachment swept the route from Skelter to friendly lines.  USMC contact with civilians frosty, many towns are in need of logistical support for basic humanitarian needs.  Details to follow.

 

Force Recon was inserted again into enemy territory to eliminate an enemy EWR site and gather intelligence.  They have not been compromised.

 

ACE assets report limited to no SAM presence but enemy fixed wing CAP and rotary wing CAS is present in force.  ACE aircraft uptime at 93%.

 

All casualties within acceptable limits.

 

End message

 

*****Operational Immediate*****


MAJ D. A. THOMAS | 15M2509
S-3 Operations Officer | TBS Instructor | S-1 Awards and Decorations Chief
MEU Headquarters

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Cpl R. Dawe

3rd Platoon, India Company

FPO San Diego, CA 92102

 

Dear Jenna, 

 

I am writing to you to let you know I am safe. Relatively safe. I can't tell you where I am, but know that we've taken an airfield and they've named it after Cpl Corium. That's all I can say though, you know. Operational security, but know that I am safe and I think about you. This has been one of the hardest deployments so far. Our enemy, who I can't really describe, are using NATO assets acquired through some UN back door deal, and it makes it hard engaging them. They look like us, they use our equipment. I have a lot of new guys in my team now, and I fear these guys are not going to check their targets as good, or hesitate when it comes time to engaging a Humvee. Command got it right though. We have been using flatbeds, troop haulers and MRAPs to avoid the confusion. There are no friendly Humvee's here which is a good thing.  At first glance however, these guys we are fighting look like us. They use M16's so the incoming fire sounds the same, and when you have 40 other Marines shooting back. It's hard to pin point exactly where that round came from. On the plus side. They are not as aggressive as we are, they are for sure not as trained. We are out maneuvering them and we're doing good. We're doing good on the ground, and our air assets are keeping us covered from way up above. Don't pray for me, pray for those guys. They are the ones who will be bringing us home.  I have a picture of you in my helmet, I think about you daily. I'll be home soon. 

 

Rob 

 

P.S You can tell your mother to stop sending cookies. I don't get them on the front lines. H&S Company however says they are delicious.

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SGT R. DAWE
Infantryman
3rd Battalion, 1st Marines

 

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