Kind of an interesting (but long) read I got from a friend of mine. Beware of a little foul language if that gets under your skin.
quote: I got this via my USMC network and it is from a retired Marine whose son is back for his second tour there. It is an unvarnished version unfit for sensitive ears about what is going on over there versus what we hear in the "mainstream media."
Also, TODAY (10 November) is the 230th birthday of the Marine Corps. Yes, each Marine gets two standard issue birthdays per year. Happy birthday to me, all other Marines, and those Americans who appreciate our defending the country.
*** *** [Name Removed]
From the Mountain ManÔÇª.this is a great update. Enjoy guys.
"Hello to all my fellow gunners, military buffs, veterans and
interested guys. A couple of weekends ago I got to spend time with my
son Jordan, who was on his first leave since returning from Iraq. He is
well (a little thin), and already bored. He will be returning to Iraq
for a second tour in early 06 and has already re-enlisted early for 4
more years. He loves the Marine Corps and is actually looking forward
to returning to Iraq. Jordan spent 7 months at Camp Blue Diamond in
Ramadi. Aka: Fort Apache. He saw and did a lot and the following is
what he told me about weapons, equipment, tactics and other
miscellaneous info which may be of interest to you. Nothing is by any
means classified. No politics here, just a Marine with a birds eye
1) The M-16 rifle : Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the
talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says
you feel filthy
2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is
more popular because its lighter and shorter, but it has jamming
problems also. They like the ability to mount the various optical
gunsights and weapons lights on the picattiny rails, but the weapon
itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm
(.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinderblock structure common over
there and even torso hits cant be reliably counted on to put the enemy
down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level
of opiate use.
2) The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal. Drum fed light
machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of shit.
Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial disassembly.
(that fun in the middle of a firefight).
3) The M9 Beretta 9mm: Mixed bag. Good gun, performs well in desert
environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns
for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm:
Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.
4) Mossberg 12ga. Military shotgun: Works well, used frequently for
clearing houses to good effect.
5) The M240 Machine Gun: 7.62 Nato (.308) cal. belt fed machine gun,
developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!!).
Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts em down.
Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are
being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round
chews up the structure over there.
6) The M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun: Thumbs way, way up. Ma deuce is
still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight
stopper, puts their dicks in the dirt every time. The most coveted
7) The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol round out there.
Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on
one. With few exceptions, can reliably be expected to put em down with
a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol
work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old
government model .45s are being re-issued en masse.
8) The M-14: Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a
modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight
Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in
the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round.
9) The Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle: Thumbs way up. Spectacular range
and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out
vehicle suicide bombers ( we actually stop a lot of them) and
barricaded enemy. Definitely here to stay.
10) The M24 sniper rifle: Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in 300
win mag. Heavily modified Remington 700s. Great performance. Snipers
have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it that a marine
sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos
Hathcocks record for confirmed kills with OVER 100.
11) The new body armor: Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs.
and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will
stop an AK-47 round. The bad news: Hot as shit to wear, almost
unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also,
the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the bullshit
about the old body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IEDs was a
non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't
make any difference at all in most cases.
12) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment: Thumbs way up. Spectacular
performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very
little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being
whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. Weve all
seen the videos.
13) Lights: Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights
are Surefires, and the troops love em. Invaluable for night urban
operations. Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and
loved it. I cant help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons
and ordnance are 50 or more years old!!!!!!!!! With all our technology,
its the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants!!!! The
infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given
Bad guy weapons:
1) Mostly AK47s . The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in
the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM
belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the
enemy mostly shoots like shit. Undisciplined spray and pray type fire.
However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially
(Iran, again) Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at
marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently
told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and
can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of
toughness. Lets just say they know better now.
2) The RPG: Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys.
Simple, reliable and as common as dogshit. The enemy responded to our
up-armored humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank
range. Still killing a lot of our guys.
3) The IED: The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old
anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in
Jordans area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take 2 or 3 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. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do
over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated shape charges
(Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor. Fact: Most of the
ready made IEDs are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists
(Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics.
Thats why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment
methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges in Styrofoam
containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all
Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb
disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.
4) Mortars and rockets: Very prevalent. The soviet era 122mm rockets
(with an 18km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of Jordans NCOs
lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage inside the wire.
Jordans base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and
rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue
(It did). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy
mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then
haul ass in a matter of seconds.
5) Bad guy technology: Simple yet effective. Most communication is by
cell and satellite phones, and also by email on laptops. They use
handheld GPS units for navigation and Google earth for overhead views
of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent.
Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision
is rare. They are very careless with their equipment and the captured
GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured. Who
are the bad guys?: Most of the carnage is caused by the Zarqawi Al
Qaeda group. They operate mostly in Anbar province (Fallujah and
Ramadi). These are mostly foreigners, non-Iraqi Sunni Arab Jihadists
from all over the Muslim world (and Europe). Most enter Iraq through
Syria (with, of course, the knowledge and complicity of the Syrian
govt.) , and then travel down the at line which is the trail of towns
along the Euphrates River that weve been hitting hard for the last few
months. Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up
as suicide bombers or in sacrifice squads. Most, however, are hard core
terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas
etc.) These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse
and cutting heads off. The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian), are
supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. (they have been
fighting the Russians for years). In the Baghdad area and south, most
of the insurgents are Iranian inspired (and led) Iraqi Shiites. The
Iranian Shiia have been very adept at infiltrating the Iraqi local
govt., the police forces and the Army. The have had a massive spy and
agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80s. Most
of the Saddam loyalists were killed, captured or gave up long ago. Bad
When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses
every time. Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very
common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally
sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming
and firing Aks and RPGs directly at our bases just to probe the
defenses. They get mowed down like grass every time. ( see the M2 and
M240 above). Jordans base was hit like this often. When engaged, they
have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they
think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and thats
the end of that more often than not. These hole-ups are referred to as
Alpha Whiskey Romeos (Allahs Waiting Room). We have the laser guided
ground-air thing down to a science. The fast movers, mostly Marine
F-18s, are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out
in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre gunships cut
them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night.
Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all. Fun fact: The enemy
death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why were
seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED, suicide bomber
shit. The new strategy is simple: attrition.
The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian
non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian
casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and
(especially) Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for
cache weapons and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely
no regard whatsoever for civilian casualties. They will terrorize
locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic
to the Americans or the new Iraqi govt. Kidnapping of family members
(especially children) is common to influence people they are trying to
influence but cant reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics,
tribal leaders, etc.).
The first thing our guys are told is don't get captured. They know
that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet.
Zarqawi openly offers bounties for anyone who brings him a live
American serviceman. This motivates the criminal element who otherwise
don't give a shit about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were
actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to Zarqawi. As such,
for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option.
The Iraqis are a mixed bag. Some fight well, others aren't worth a
shit. Most do okay with American support. Finding leaders is hard, but
they are getting better. It is widely viewed that Zarqawis use of
suicide bombers, en masse, against the civilian population was a
serious tactical mistake. Many Iraqis were galvanized and the caliber
of recruits in the Army and the police forces went up, along with their
motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intel
because the Iraqis are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians.
The Kurds are solidly pro-American and fearless fighters.
According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not
believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They
are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom
they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters
are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate
of 20-1 and then see shit like Are we losing in Iraq on TV and the
print media. For the most part, they are satisfied with their
equipment, food and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say
this, there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through
the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough
troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Iran and Syria. The
Iranians and the Syrians just cant stand the thought of Iraq being an
American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there). Anyway guys,
thats it, hope you found it interesting, I sure did.