Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Where in the world is Husaybah?

My son, U. S. Marine Lance Corporal (Lcpl) Tyler Milke, just returned from his first oversea deployment (are we happy or what?. He signed up for the Marine Corp. while a senior in High School, under the "Delayed Entry Program", knowing full well that he would be sent to war. He wanted to be a "Grunt", an infantryman, specifically a "Rifleman", or in marine speak, an 0311. As a little boy he turned everything into a gun. Sticks, pipes, telephones, pencils, guitars, and every other thing he could lift and point, all became weapons of make believe destruction. He was also very fond of being make believe shot so he could do dramatic deaths. Of his two fondnesses, guns and dying, we are happy he became very good at the former, and left the latter for those not as lucky as he.

As parents of a marine my wife and I also knew he would most likely go to war. We knew he would be well trained and prepared for anything the "insurgents" could throw his way. After Boot Camp and S.O.I (School of Infantry) he was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 7th Marines (1/7), in Twentynine Palms California. Since we live 150 miles from 29, and only 45 miles from Camp Pendleton, we would have prefered he be attatched to the 1/5, or the 3/1, or any other Pendleton based battalion. He left for 29 in July and deployed to Iraq in August, to a remote Firm Base named Camp Gannon in Husaybah, alongside the Euphrates river at the Syrian border. It seemed like a quiet and safe place to be. Little did we know and our ignorance was bliss (I hate it when cliches turn out to be the best words to us...........maybe that's why they are cliches)

Husaybah is a "mini-Fallujah", where terrorist thugs hide behind and amongst innocent civilians as they attack anyone connected with the "occupation" Only the diligent work the marines of 1/7 Baker Company, and the 3/7 before them, has kept Husaybah from turning into the insurgent stronghold Fallujah became in 2004. These dedicated marines learned how to "quiet" the enemies mortars, even as they flew from the Syrian side of the border. They devised ways to detect the deadly IEDs and mines which have been responsible for most of the Marines deaths in Iraq. They captured and killed many insurgents and their leaders.

They came home without the nine marines who died in combat, and with over 50 injured. My wife and are are grateful that our son returned uninjured (physically)

Next time I will write about Operation "Gator Bait"


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