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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Friday, October 12, 2007



Perhaps I'm not going back to Iraq after all...

The above article talks about how there may be a move in the near future to have the Marines take over combat operations in Afghanistan, leaving Iraq to the army.

“We are the premier expeditionary force in the world, and operations in Afghanistan would take advantage of what we do best,” Lt. Col. Chris Hughes, chief spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said yesterday.

I agree with what he's saying. We aren't a police force, we're a fighting force. We don't occupy, we invade and destroy. The army, with their differences in training, numbers of troops, and equipment, are much better suited to Iraq. Let them patrol Baghdad in armored Bradleys.

“But in this case, you have two separate forces that have different requirements. As we start to move toward more of a security-and-occupation role in Iraq, that's more an Army type of thing.”

That's just not how we work. Let us go to Afghanistan and take it to Tora Bora. One of the guys in our platoon asked our platoon sergeant today as we were getting off, "Is there a lot of opportunities for Marines in Afghanistan?". He replied, "There's bad guys that need shootin' all over the damn world. They could send me to LA for all I care."


  1. It does make more sense to split theater ops as Marines as a whole are much more capable of handling guerrilla operations than the Army which in essence would have to, and has, deployed specialized units (i.e 10th Mountain, SF operators, and Rangers)

    As has been demonstrated in Anbar and Ziadon, the Corps understands and knows how to fight small wars much more effectively an efficiently than the Army. I am showing my bias here but just look at our history going back to the Barbary Coast, to Mexico, to the Boxer Revolution, to The Banana Wars, to Carlson's Raiders in WWII.

    Either way it's still a tough fight against a motivated enemy in very tough terrain...just the type of fight the Corps was created for.

  2. You might want to check this out:

    The USMC has been doing a crap load of testing on the practical application of a new Distributed Operations doctrine.

    The Distributed Ops Concept link provides a bit of what its about.

    The two links at the bottom of the page go into some detail on the concept testing done so far.

    Afghanistan seems tailor made for the final phase testing and fine tuning of the doctrine SOP.

  3. What the link illustrates is what has always been true. The Corps is a Sergeants service meaning often the most critical battlefield decisions and innovations are made at the squad and often the fire-team level. Often the results of those decisions affect the outcome of the war itself.

    The Army is more of a Colonel's service in that they are equipped and trained to fight larger conflict with greater geo-political consequenses.

    Having defined the two, Afghanistan has always been a Sergeants war whereas Iraq started as a Colonels war then devolved into a Sergeants war with the onset of the foreign fed insurgency and has now returned to a Colonels war as the insurgency is squeezed out and reconciliation begins to take place. I think it no accident that the Corps rose to prominence in helping destroy and pacify the insurgency allowing the Colonels to resume the fight.

    Afghanistan is tailor made for the Corps.

  4. BTW Jake, sorry to turn this into a Marine Corps Gazette tactics and strategy thread. :)

  5. It's Jakes fault this turned into a Marine Corps tactics/doctrine/history thread...he started it.

    But the statement "The Corps is a Sergeants service" is most very true.

    Much of that comes from the history of the Corps and its need to rely on lower ranks in command of garrisons and units spread all over the world in small bits and pieces, either as security for struggling nations or as ship details.

    The USMC build up for WW1 was heavily reflective of this as well. While Army organizations are built from the top down by custom... command staff chosen, then the ranks filled to be trained...

    The USMC version was to recruit Marines and train them as Marines. Then as there were enough Marines to fill a squad, they trained as a squad, then so on and so forth up the chain.
    At each level, the Marines that demonstrated the initiative and judgment to be leaders were taken into leadership training for the levels of command as required.

    So the Corps built from the bottom up, rather than the top down. That tends to still work as part of the Corps culture.

    The Corps never really lost its cultural concept of reliable lower command capability necessary for a detachment oriented task environment.

  6. hi! nice blog! i enjoyed reading it. do keep posting =)

    i'll be dropping by every now and then..

  7. Great stuff Marines. I am enjoying the Corps dialog. We are not and never have been occupiers. We kill bad guys and break their stuff.

  8. Whereever you go, you go with our thanks and our prayers for your safe return.

  9. I know LtCol Chris Hughes. I wouldn't trust a damn thing he says.