(Too bad "W" doesn't read newspapers. He might get a clue of what these guys had to go through because Saddam tried to kill his daddy.)
By Rich Connell and Robert J. Lopez
The Los Angeles Times
Tuesday 26 August 2003
The Marine unit was supposed to have backup as it entered battle in Iraq. But it was alone, and chaos exploded.
The convoy rumbled north, through the heart of the Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. It was the fourth day of the war, and the men of Charlie Company had orders to capture the Saddam Canal Bridge on the city's northern edge.
The Marines were taking heavy fire. Then there was an ear-splitting blast. A rocket-propelled grenade ripped open one of the amphibious assault vehicles, lifting it off the ground.
A thick, dark cloud filled the vehicle's interior. Some of the Marines donned gas masks, fearing a chemical attack. Screams pierced the smoke:
We got a man down! We got a man down!
The Marines' light armor had been pierced, and with it any illusion that this would be easy. They would take the bridge, but at a cost. Eighteen men from a single company were killed that day and 15 wounded, making it the deadliest battle of the war for U.S. forces.
Public attention, briefly riveted on the fighting in Nasiriyah, has since moved elsewhere. The struggle to rebuild Iraq and contain mounting guerrilla violence now occupies center stage. But the Marines of Charlie Company, now back home, are not ready to put that Sunday in March behind them.
They want to know why commanders sent them into an urban firefight without tanks, without protective plating for their vehicles and with only half the troops planned for the mission.
They want to know why an Air Force fighter strafed their positions as they struggled to hold the bridge, killing at least one Marine and possibly as many as six.
Five months later, the U.S. Central Command is still investigating the "friendly fire" episode. The Marine Corps has conducted its own review of the battle but said it will not release its findings until the other investigation is finished.
Read whole story:
The Iraq War: The Marines' View from the Ground
Field Historians Captured Troops' Impressions Fresh from Combat
Two More Marines Killed Today In Iraq.