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    This thread is for everyone to post any military news, homecomings, shout outs to veterans, news regarding changes in the miltary in Congress and if you feel like posting what Bush did or said, that's fine. Try to post only news, that way we keep up to date on the latest.

    Army: No Felony in Release of Corpse Pics
    Associated Press | September 29, 2005
    WASHINGTON - After an initial look at complaints about U.S. soldiers posting photos of Iraq war dead on an Internet site, Army investigators concluded they had too little evidence to pursue criminal charges.

    An Islamic civil rights group called on the Defense Department to take action, while the Florida man who runs the Web site said Wednesday he has no intention of taking the photos down or stopping future postings.

    The controversy centers on grisly photographs of what appear to be war dead. The Web site says they were posted by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who, in exchange, received free access to online pornography.

    Army officials expressed concern that the matter could trigger an anti-American backlash in the Middle East. One official said the Army was considering the possibility of banning the use of personal cameras and personal computers by soldiers while they are in war zones.

    Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, called the corpse postings despicable and unacceptable.

    Paul Boyce, an Army spokesman, said the Army's Criminal Investigation Division in recent days concluded from a preliminary inquiry that there was insufficient evidence to pursue felony charges against anyone.

    However, he said, "While this may not rise to the level of a felony crime, it's still serious."

    An Islamic civil rights group expressed disappointment in the Army's decision not to pursue criminal charges.

    "Their conclusion would be entirely premature," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "For this to be treated in a manner that suggests the Army does not take this seriously is only going to further harm our nation's image and interests around the world, particularly the Muslim world."

    Boyce and other officials said that while no criminal investigation would be pursued based on currently available evidence, disciplinary action may be taken against individual soldiers if it can be verified that they used government computers to transmit digital photos of Iraqi war dead. Such an act could be deemed a violation of Article 134 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, which proscribes behavior that undermines good order and discipline or brings discredit to the military.

    Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, sent a message Wednesday to soldiers in the field reminding them of guidelines issued by the Defense Department and the Army regarding "Internet safety." He referred mainly to prohibitions on posting information or photos that jeopardize troop security. He did not mention the corpse photos, and spokesmen said his message was not in reaction to news stories this week describing the Web site that offers access to online pornography in exchange for corpse photos.

    Some of the photos show dismembered corpses, described in accompanying Web postings as Iraqis killed in U.S. attacks. Some show what appear to be internal human organs; others show what look like charred human remains.

    The Web site is owned by 27-year-old Chris Wilson, who oversees it from his apartment in Lakeland, Fla. He started it about 18 months ago as a place where men could post nude photos of their wives and girlfriends.

    For the last seven or eight months, the site also has become a venue for soldiers serving in the war zones to post photos depicting their daily lives, including the grisly images of dead people identified as Iraqi and Afghani insurgents.

    "To me this is a real look at what's going on over there," Wilson said in an interview Wednesday. He said he has no intention of taking the photos down or stopping future posts. "It's right from their cameras to the site."

    Wilson said the Pentagon has not contacted him about the photos.

    Boyce said Army investigators could not verify that U.S. soldiers were involved because the Web site postings were anonymous and investigators were unsure of the authenticity and origin of the photos. He said the matter had been referred to U.S. commanders in Iraq.

    Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.

  • #2
    Navy news.....taking care of our own.

    Navy Exchanges To Provide Comfort Kits To Those Affected by Hurricanes
    Navy News | By Kristine M. Sturkie | September 29, 2005
    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Navy Exchanges (NEX) began distributing health and comfort items, or comfort kits, Sept. 29, free to the many military members and their families affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

    These comfort kits are available to people located within the federally declared disaster areas in and around the Gulf Coast.

    "The Department of Defense provided funding, which enables us to provide these comfort kits to those service members and their families in need during this devastating time," said Rear Adm. Robert E. Cowley III, commander, Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM). "While the Navy Exchange has been providing support to these families through the NEX Mobile Retail Facilities (MRF), it's nice to be able to do even more. It's our mission, but it's also our military family."

    The Navy Exchange has deployed six trucks to distribute the comfort kits. The comfort kits include basic health, comfort and convenience items such as toothbrush, shampoo, socks and underwear, as well as a $50 NEX gift card and a prepaid cell phone. Service members and families may pick up a comfort kit at troop encampment locations, Family Assistance Centers and Navy Exchanges on base.

    To ensure each member gets the merchandise he or she needs, Navy Exchanges and MRFs will stock the 41 items approved for the comfort kits by the Department of Defense. Each person will then be allowed to select items from the list based on stock, brand and need.

    "This will allow each person to choose the item he or she prefers," said Cowley. "It will also ensure that the person gets exactly what he or she needs, which eliminates waste and saves money."

    NEXCOM is headquarters for the worldwide Navy Exchange System. Its mission is to provide authorized customers quality goods and services at a savings and to support quality of life programs for active-duty military, retirees, Reservists and their families.

    For related news, visit the Navy Exchange Service Command Navy NewsStand page at

    Navy family members who need additional information or assistance should call the Navy Personnel Command’s Emergency Coordination Center at (877) 414-5358, or visit
    Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


    • #3
      USMC news

      Marines Present New Facet to Advertising Campaign
      Marine Corps News | September 28, 2005
      MARINE CORPS RECRUITING COMMAND QUANTICO, Va. -The Marine Corps will debut its latest television commercial, “Diamond,” in front of a nationwide television audience October 1.

      The commercial is scheduled to air on ESPN during the first commercial break of the scheduled NCAA College Football game that starts at noon.

      The release of the new 30 second television commercial also coincides with the release of a refined web site. The redeveloped web site serves as the, ‘31st second,’ for the television campaign, providing additional information to individuals on the opportunities in the Marine Corps.

      Every three to four years the Marine Corps refreshes it television commercials. This new commercial follows, "The Climb," released in February 2002. The streamlined commercial and web site are designed to assist prospective applicants to contact a Marine Corps recruiter.

      The commercial will air on network and cable television and ESPN, CBS, MTV, Spike, BET and in Spanish on Galavision. It will also air in movie theaters nationwide. The redesigned Web site will be viewable on Oct 1 at
      Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


      • #4
        Fleet week starts in San Diego.....Coast Guard news

        Coast Guard Sector San Diego Establishes Safety Zone for Fleet Week San Diego
        U.S. Coast Guard | September 28, 2005
        SAN DIEGO - Coast Guard Sector San Diego has established two safety zones for the Fleet Week Sea-n-Air Parade to be held on Saturday, October 1, 2005, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Sea and Air Parade will consist of approximately 20 Naval vessels from 87 to 1092 feet. The event will have the vessels in a classic naval review inbound San Diego Bay from Pt. Loma, to the Coronado Bay Bridge.

        The purpose of the safety zones is to ensure the safety of the spectators and participants, including recreational and commercial boaters, and inform them of the restrictions placed on the San Diego boating traffic during the event.

        The Sea and Air Parade moving safety zone will extend 1000 yards in front of, 700 yards behind, and 200 yards on both sides of each vessel in review, and would restrict all vessel traffic, commercial and recreational. beginning at the far west corner of Harbor Island in a straight line to buoy 19 (LLNR 1650); Norwegian fenders will be placed every 200 yards; then from buoy 19 (LLNR 1650) following the north edge of the North San Diego Bay Ship Channel to buoy 21 (LLNR 1715), then from buoy 21 (LLNR 1715) in a straight line to the far east corner of Harbor Island; Norwegian fenders will be placed every 200 yards; and then from the far east corner of Harbor Island to the far west corner of Harbor Island following the shore line. The safety zone will be in effect from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

        Persons and vessels are prohibited from entering into, transiting through, or anchoring within the safety zones unless authorized by the Coast Guard Patrol Commander. Portions of the safety zone maybe open periodically to allow for vessel traffic.

        While on the water, boaters are encouraged to make contact with law enforcement vessels enforcing the safety zone. All perimeter vessels will have informational flyers indicating the length of the safety zone and event status.

        The Patrol Commander for this event will be Ensign Jarrett Owens of Coast Guard Sector San Diego. The Patrol Commander can be reached while the safety zone is in effect on Marine Band radio channel 16.
        Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


        • #5
          Ex-spouse law

          Ex-Spouse Law Still Draws Steady Flow of Comments

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          About the Author
          Tom Philpott has been breaking news for and about military people since 1977. After service in the Coast Guard, and 17 years as a reporter and senior editor with Army Times Publishing Company, Tom launched "Military Update," his syndicated weekly news column, in 1994. "Military Update" features timely news and analysis on issues affecting active duty members, reservists, retirees and their families. Tom also edits a reader reaction column, "Military Forum." The online "home" for both features is

          Tom’s freelance articles have appeared in numerous magazines including The New Yorker, Reader's Digest and Washingtonian. His critically-acclaimed book, Glory Denied, on the extraordinary ordeal and heroism of Col. Floyd "Jim" Thompson, the longest-held prisoner of war in American history, is available in hardcover and paperback.

          Related Links
          Military Update and Military Forum: Archives

          Military Benefits

          Military Retirement

          Readers of Tom Philpott's "Military Update" column sound off

          September 23, 2005

          Congress really should revise the Uniformed Services' Former Spouse Protection Act. I have seen buddies resign their commissions to prevent ex-spouses from getting half of their retirement. This hurts the Army. We lose great soldiers, both officers and senior NCOs. WILLIE K. COPELAND, SR
          Via e-mail

          I have never liked this law. I retired in 1986. We were divorced in Georgia, and the judge garnished my retirement pay. Since then I have paid my ex-wife $1,000 per month. If I had to pay her for 10 years after the divorce I would not feel the way I do. But I am still paying after almost 20 years, and will continue to do so until I die or she dies.

          Is this right?

          I served my country for over 27 years, was ordered to go places where I could not take my family. Sure they suffered but so did I. I was in Vietnam, was shot at and faced a few other dangers.

          Did she get shot at?

          Because some officers messed around on their wives, the USFSPA was passed, entitling ex-wives to half of retirement pay.

          I did not mess around on my wife but my assignments created friction and thus we divorced. I should not have to pay the rest of my life.

          This law stinks and the government knows it stinks but few in Congress have served in the military and don't care.

          RICHARD ELDER, JR.
          Via e-mail

          The USFSPA overall is a balanced approach for equitable distribution of a military pension, which might be the largest asset of a marriage.

          While many spouses work, the person who moves with a military spouse loses many opportunities, including seniority and promotions, by forced changing of jobs. Meanwhile the service member continues to accrue time in grade and promotions. A divorce court is in the best position to examine economic facts of the case.

          A change in the USFSPA would simply increase the number of military members who will have to pay alimony immediately after the divorce.

          There are no easy answers but most service members and former spouses feel the law is fair. We should not throw out the baby with the bath water.

          J. TUTHILL
          Captain, JAG Corps, USNR-Ret.
          St. Petersburg, Fla.

          I'm in the Air Force and so is my husband. We have both served honorably for 20 years and feel our retirement, when is happens, should be just that, OURS.

          We have been married for two years, and his ex-spouse is awarded one half of his retirement pay. This is an injustice not only to the military member but to his new family as well. First, the law needs to consider the member's job status at time of divorce. His ex-wife worked for an airline the entire time they were married, so why should she be awarded any benefits from his retirement if she will have her own? There will be no children in the ex-spouses household.

          I hope Congress reexamines and changes this law because it puts undo strain on military members and their current families.

          Deborah D.
          Technical Sergeant, USAF
          Via e-mail

          The problem with divorce law is elimination of fault. Many states or jurisdictions use the "no fault" cop-out that they are "concerned with the well-being of the children." That is absurd.

          If you place children with a parent who demonstrated a lack of morality, loyalty, honor, dignity or any other worthwhile human virtue, you do a devastating disservice. When courts do this, children see the incompetence and inaction. They also see that the parent who maintained his or her moral compass humiliated and treated unjustly.

          We have to re-establish fault so those deserving of support get it.

          Should a husband who commits adultery have to give the ex-spouse a large portion of his retirement? Hell yes.

          When roles are reversed and she is disloyal and dishonorable, should she benefit from fruits of her husband's labor? Hell no.

          Are there extenuating circumstances that make it necessary to treat these issues case-by-case? Yes.

          Is giving custody to the one who commits immoral acts just? No, but it happens every day.

          We have to go back to establishing fault or we will never be able to use the word "fair" again.

          JOSEPH T. (Tim) RAMSEY
          Major, U.S. Army

          Every time I read complaints about having to share military retirement, I wonder how much was left out of the story?

          My wife of 49 years has gone through every one of the hardships I have during our 17 years together of Army life. She handled double duty when I was gone overseas. She had three children to raise alone for over three of those 17 years and did so without a whimper.

          If I was to be divorced from her, God forbid, I'm more than willing to give her half of my retirement for being such a super lady, wife and mother.

          One of the grateful soldiers,

          RALPH DODDS
          Via e-mail

          Key to the mess Congress cooked up is the term "property." As long as the retiree lives, retirement is property. The second the retiree trips to other side of life, that "property" reverts to retirement "pay" and the ex-spouse gets no further payments.

          Congress could declare military retirement truly property. It won't, however, because property could be willed from one family member to another, forever.

          A term Congress and ex-spouses have forgotten is "spousal support." But spousal support ends upon remarriage of the ex-spouse.

          So, the real issue is not making sure ex-spouses never fall into poverty. The real issue is how to get a piece of retirement you never had to earn -- by taking an oath, serving 20 years, risking life to defend the nation and being subject to military law or recall.

          The USFSPA only will be changed or repealed when Congress feels it is politically expedient to do so. I believe it never will. Lawmakers won't admit to wrongdoing; women groups are too greedy.
          Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


          • #6

            "Military Wife"

            "Marine Sardines"

            "Spouse Training"

            "Stop Loss "

            "Suck Up "
            Last edited by **jdazmum**; 10-01-2005, 12:33 AM.
            Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


            • #7
              We got hit the other day by an IED, and everyone is okay in my Humvee. My 2nd IED...over here...

              Our 1st nite patrol...

              We a vehicle got stuck in a s*** hole over here in some funny news...a Humvee in our patrol got stuck in a S***hole @ nite and we had to get it out, and it was so funny @ the time there was soldiers taking pix and the driver was stuck in the vehicle cause the Hummer was leaning left in the hole and his door was jammed and we finally got it out and then the driver got out and puked and more pix were taken and then we go to a place to plan another quick mission and while we are doing this the driver is scooping out 7 inches of s*** from his Humvee that leaked in the drivers side...a crazy nite in Baghdad...
              R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...


              • #8
                That is funny, real s** too?? That would suck.
                Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


                • #9
                  Yep, the real poop...

                  My platoon can say we were in the Sh*t in Iraq now...literally
                  R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...


                  • #10
                    I can't even imagine how that would smell (shaking my head), but at least you survived. Watch your back and take care. We are all rooting for you, it don't seem that way, but we really are.
                    Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


                    • #11
                      Who's ready to take more anthrax? News to know.

                      U.S. Awards Grants to Develop New Anthrax Vaccine

                      The U.S. National Institutes of Health yesterday awarded a $4.6 million grant to LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals to continue development of a new anthrax vaccine, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Aug. 22).

                      The Montana company plans to use the funding to prepare the vaccine for testing on humans, said Robert Goodwin, LigoCyte chief operating officer and executive vice president.

                      “We've developed the product candidate and the NIH has come on board and said ‘this is something we would like to see get qualified for human trials,’” he said.

                      These trials usually take five to 10 years. “But because this deals with biodefense, there may be ways to shorten that,” Goodwin added.

                      Goodwin said the grant is “fairly large by NIH standards” and shows the government’s interests in improving on existing vaccines.

                      Unlike existing vaccines that must be injected, LigoCyte is working on a dry powder vaccine that would be inhaled and pass through nasal membranes, according to AP.

                      Initial animal tests have shown effectiveness after only one dose, the company said. The vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration requires six shots (Associated Press/Billings Gazette, Oct. 3).

                      Meanwhile, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has awarded Canadian biotech company Cangene a contract worth $400,000 to provide samples of its inhalation anthrax treatment, the Washington Post reported today.

                      The treatment will be tested for possible use in the national stockpile

                      The Cangene contract was in addition to a $1.8 million contract awarded yesterday to Human Genome Sciences for its proposed anthrax drug. Both contracts contain an option to purchase up to 100,000 doses under Project Bioshield, the Post reported (see GSN, Oct. 3; Washington Post, Oct. 4).

                      Elsewhere, Elusys Therapeutics is expected to begin clinical trials of its new anthrax drug in the coming weeks, according to a report on

                      The drug, called Anthim, targets the protective antigen of anthrax, stunting the agent’s ability to form toxins. Early studies have shown that the drug is effective in lower doses than other drugs being developed. A single dose has shown to be 100-percent effective if given before exposure to the agent and increases survival rates if given within two days of exposure.

                      This low dose will allow the drug to be administered intramuscularly, the most effective route in emergencies, according to (Wai Lang Chu,, Oct. 4).


                      Acambis Submits Proposal to Make Smallpox Vaccine

                      The U.S. government has received a plan from British drug maker Acambis for production of a weakened smallpox vaccine, AFX News reported today (see GSN, Aug. 16).

                      The Health and Human Services Department in August began taking bids for the vaccine, which would be produced for the U.S. national stockpile. Acambis, which is developing the vaccine with Baxter Healthcare, is competing with Bavarian Nordic for the $1.9 billion contract, according to AFX.

                      The U.S. government said the contract would likely be awarded in February. The weaker vaccine, known as MVA3000, is being developed for people who cannot take the full-strength shot due to suppressed immune systems or skin diseases such as eczema.

                      The vaccine must be clinically tested up to and including licensure for the treatment, which has not yet received regulatory approval. The United States has an option to purchase another 60 million doses of the vaccine (AFX News/, Oct. 4).


                      U.S. Grants Money for Bio Labs, Tularemia Vaccine

                      The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases yesterday announced $87 million in grants for the construction of Biosafety Level 3 laboratories (see GSN, Sept. 9).

                      The agency has also issued two five-year contracts totaling approximately $60 million for development of a tularemia vaccine, according to a press release.

                      “Devising medical countermeasures against biological threats, whether they arise naturally or are the result of deliberate human action, is a top priority for NIAID,” said Director Anthony Fauci in the release. “These new awards support research needed to better understand and defend against disease-causing microbes and provide funds to construct facilities where such research can be performed safely.”

                      The four laboratories will join nine others in the NIAID-funded Regional Biocontainment Laboratory Program. Grants are being distributed between George Mason University in Virginia, Tufts University in Massachusetts, the University of Louisville in Kentucky and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

                      The tularemia contracts were awarded to the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and DVC, LLC in Frederick, Md. While the bacteria can usually be treated with antibiotics, experts fear that if aerosolized, tularemia could cause widespread illnesses and possibly death, according to the release (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases release, Oct. 3).

                      Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


                      • #12
                        They can keep the anthrax shot away from me...I had one for the 1st Gulf War and it made me very sick I remember. Glad now its a volunteer thing and not mandatory like it used to be.
                        R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...


                        • #13
                          You are lucky, I didn't know it was volunteer now. They tried to give me another shot right before getting out, I got out of it, thank God. So, what's the latest news NSB? I bet you're making the dinero though....that pays off when you get back. Let me know when you get back, I'll be hitting you up before your family does.........ayee. Know that feeling all too well. I've been keeping up with this anthrax stuff. It's crazy. I had people from the east coast, Army base research, try to get me to testify, but all I can do is participate in statisics. Long story.
                          Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


                          • #14
                            News you don't hear about.

                            U.S. Navy Deploys More Helos, Personnel to Help Earthquake Victims in Pakistan
                            Navy News | Cassandra Thompson | October 17, 2005
                            MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- The Desert Hawks of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 26 sent two aircraft and more than half their detachment to Pakistan Oct. 15 and 16 to help deliver medical supplies, water and tents to earthquake victims to support the government of Pakistan’s relief efforts.

                            HSC-26 provides logistic support to naval assets deployed in the North Persian Gulf.

                            In addition to providing support as part of maritime security operations in the region, Lt. Cmdr. Todd Vandegrift, officer in charge of HSC-26, said his squadron would deploy 25 Sailors and two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to help those in need in Pakistan.

                            Pakistan was the epicenter of a massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake Oct. 8 that has left thousands of people dead and millions without homes.

                            “We will be providing flight relief, support, water, food and shelter to distant portions of Pakistan [and] flying to different points most affected by the earthquake,” said Vandegrift.

                            The squadron used U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft to fly the helicopters and personnel to the Disaster Assistance Center in Pakistan. The capabilities of the MH-60 helicopters and the proximity of the squadron to the relief center were factors in them being selected for the mission.

                            “[The MH-60] is the newest helicopter to the fleet,” he said. “It’s an all-weather helicopter with night vision device capability, extensive search and rescue capability and also serves as a logistics platform. Our air asset, the C-17 in this case, allows us to get there quickly to set up our operations.”

                            HSC-26 will work closely with Task Force Griffin, an Army quick reaction force comprised of H-47 Chinook and H-60 Blackhawk helicopters, Vandegrift said. Task Force Griffin deployed from Afghanistan to provide airlift support to the government of Pakistan.

                            “There are two MH-53 helicopters from Bahrain, as well,” said Vandegrift.

                            Vandegrift said the mission was important on both humanitarian and political levels.

                            “This allows the United States and the U.S. Navy to support an important ally and lend support to those in need,” he said. “It’s very uplifting to know that you can do something to help someone else.”

                            He said the Sailors deploying to Pakistan felt privileged to be part to the relief effort.

                            “I think we have great men and women in this detachment, and they were more than willing to do whatever it takes to help someone else,” Vandegrift said.

                            One of those Sailors, Storekeeper 1st Class Jennifer Capili from Houston, agreed that it was an honor to be part of the ongoing relief effort.

                            “These people need help, and it just feels good to be able to help,” she said. “A lot of people are starving there, and [are] without homes.”
                            Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


                            • #15
                              Transport Marines

                              'Motor T' Marine Feels the Heat Early in Corps Career
                              Marine Corps News | Joe Lindsay | October 14, 2005
                              MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - “Our trucks are like fighter jets, our drivers like pilots. We may not be up high in the sky, but we feel like pilots on the ground.”
                              — Lance Cpl. Carlos Johnson, motor transportation operator

                              Many Marines will tell you their “Welcome to the Marine Corps moment” occurred when they took their first perilous steps onto the “yellow footprints” at boot camp in either San Diego or Parris Island, S.C.

                              For one 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment Marine, Lance Cpl. Carlos Johnson, a Motor Transportation operator from Atlanta, that moment occurred a little further down the road — but not much further.

                              “The first day I arrived at K-Bay (Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay), my first duty station, I was checking in with one of my staff sergeants, and he said, ‘I hope you’re ready to see the world Johnson, ‘cause you’re going to Iraq.’ My jaw just kind of dropped,” said Johnson. “That’s when I realized, ‘Yeah, I’m really in the Marine Corps now.’ This is what they were talking about in boot camp, at MCT (marine combat training) and MOS (military occupational specialty) school. This is for real.”

                              Soon, it would get a lot more real.

                              “A little more than a month after graduating from MOS school, I found myself on the USS Juneau in the Gulf, getting ready to debark for Kuwait and then Iraq,” said Johnson. “Coming out on the deck, the heat just hit you like a punch. When I hear the Marines talking about the heat here at Twentynine Palms, I just kind of shake my head to myself, ‘cause I’ve seen real heat. The kind heat that you can fry an egg in — I promise you.”
                              While in Iraq, Johnson was a “green” private first class who learned fast. Then again, he really didn’t have any other choice.

                              “For someone basically straight out of MOS school, he was given a lot of responsibility right off the bat, in Fallujah,” said Sgt. Kevin Hawkins, a 1/3 motor transportation operator from Cleveland who served alongside Johnson during some of the heaviest fighting the war has seen. “It was his job to get supplies — food, water, weapons and ammo — to the Marines on the front lines. He also had to transport Marines back and forth from the combat zone. Myself, as his NCO (noncommissioned officer), his Staff NCOs and the officers over him had the confidence that he could handle the job, or we wouldn’t have put him in that position. He really stepped up to the plate.”

                              For his part, Johnson said his motivating force was taking care of the Marines with whose care he was entrusted.

                              “Whenever Marines are in the back of my truck, I feel so much responsibility, ‘cause if anything happens to them where I could have done something to prevent it, then it’s my fault,” said Johnson. “The main thing I always thought about when I was over there was, ‘It’s my fault if these Marines don’t come back to their families.’ That would be something I don’t think I could live with.”

                              Fortunately, despite numerous rounds and mortars whizzing by and countless roadside improvised explosive devices strategically placed to inflict maximum casualties, Johnson and the Marines in his care made it through his transport runs unscathed.

                              “The Marines of one-three are all about mission accomplishment first — no matter what,” said Johnson. “I am proud being a part of this battalion. I like the pressure. The more responsibility they give me, the better. I just want to do the best job possible for myself, my family, and most importantly, the Marines.”

                              That type of selfless attitude had earned Johnson high praise from his superiors and peers.

                              “As the senior lance corporal in ‘Motor T,’ he is someone we, as fellow lance corporals, can turn to for advice on how to fix a problem or better accomplish the mission,” said Lance Cpl. Jared Neal, a 1/3 administrative clerk and Humvee driver from Tracy, Calif. “He knows his job inside and out and is a motivated Marine. Most importantly, though, he constantly reminds us of the importance of our jobs and keeps us focused on our upcoming deployment to Afghanistan by letting us know that one small mistake from a Motor T operator can cost a lot of Marines their lives. He takes his job seriously and we follow his lead.”

                              According to 2nd Lt. Joseph White, 1/3 Motor Transportation officer and a native of Barstow, Calif., “Lance Corporal Johnson is more than just a hard worker; he is a leader of Marines. A lot of new Motor T Marines just out of MOS school can go down one of two paths — the right one or the wrong one. As an officer, it is important to me that I know I have Marines like Lance Corporal Johnson at that level to help steer them down the right path. He is a positive influence on his peers.”

                              Sgt. Christopher Rivera, a 1/3 logistic vehicle system operator from Hollywood, Fla., said he couldn’t agree more.

                              “As an NCO, it means a lot when we know we can count on a hard-charging lance corporal to take charge at his level and do the right things for the right reasons,” said Rivera, a two-tour Iraq veteran. “If given orders, Lance Corporal Johnson follows them and gets the job done. In the absence of orders, Lance Corporal Johnson makes sound decisions in the aid of mission accomplishment. I have no doubt he will make an outstanding NCO someday.”

                              That may well be true, but for his part, Johnson said he plans on attending college on the Montgomery G.I. Bill when his hitch is up in 2007.

                              “I love the Marine Corps, and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, but I think I’m going to stick to my original plans when I first came in and go to college at the University of Georgia back home when my enlistment is up,” said Johnson. “Part of the reason is that I come from a real tight-knit family, and I want to be closer to them. After I got back from Iraq, they threw me a party and on the cake was written, ‘Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday,’ since I had missed all three occasions that year.

                              “The hardest part about being a Marine is definitely being separated from your family, but to me it was all worth it, because I did my part for my country. My mom and my family are proud of me for my service, and I will be proud of being a Marine until the day I die.”
                              Fall down 7 times, get up 8. MY FAMOUS WORDS.


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