Page: http://blog.richardslowry.com/ Richard's Blog
Jan 29th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
The Making of New Dawn – Part 3
Clearing Fallujah                        Photo provided by Bob Bodisch

New Dawn nearly didn’t get published. After working with Berkley Publishing on my last book, Marines in the Garden of Eden, I assumed that they would pick up New Dawn for publication—they didn’t.

Throughout 2008, I conducted interviews nearly every day, scoured the internet, and collected videos, photographs and documents. All the while, I had assumed that my publisher would pick up my Fallujah book. Marines in the Garden of Eden had made me a little money and Berkley Publishing seemed to be pleased with my sales. So, I spent very little time on my book proposal and when I submitted it to my agent, she insisted that I include a sample chapter. At the time, I only had the first chapter written, so I spent a few weeks cleaning it up and then I added it to my proposal. BIG MISTAKE!

New Dawn is a compelling compilation of stories of young American heroes. The stories will touch your soul. At the time, Chapter 1 was little more than an introduction to the bigger story. It wasn’t long before Berkley sent me a letter in which they declined to purchase the option on New Dawn. I was crushed.

Let’s back up for a moment. I found my agent in 2004 and she sold my Marines in the Garden of Eden manuscript shortly thereafter. I thank her for the effort she expended in signing me with one of the largest publishing houses in the world. Unfortunately, she never lifted another finger on my behalf. After Berkley dumped me on my head I told her that I wanted to rework my proposal and wait until I could add a compelling chapter to add, before she had to shop it around.

I set to work writing Jason Arellano’s story and completed that chapter next. After three months of hard work, I re-submitted my proposal to my agent and waited. She was supposed to shop the story around. I continued to wait, and wait, and wait. Finally, I contacted her and she told me that Berkley was going to reconsider my proposal (something they rarely do).

So, I waited some more. I waited for months. I tried contacting my agent and she ignored my repeated emails and telephone messages. Finally, I contacted the editor directly and she informed me that they had declined again.

I immediately fired my agent and asked for a release letter from Berkley.

Dejected, I wrote a post on op-for.com to tell my followers of my misfortune. Within a week, I heard from LtCol Nicholas Vuckovich, whom I had personally interviewed at Quantico. Nick had left the Marine Corps and was now working at the Marine Corps University. He offered condolences on the loss of my publisher and offered to help.

He told me that a friend of his, Gunny Nick Popaditch, had just published a book about his experiences in Fallujah, Once a Marine, and his difficulties in recovering from serious wounds and then returning to civilian life. He offered to put me in touch with “Gunny Pop” in hopes that he could help me get the attention of his publisher.

I contacted Nick and we were talking with each other on the telephone within a couple days. As luck would have it, Nick was about to meet with Ted Savas of Savas Beatie LLC. He told me that if I could get him a copy of my proposal, he would personally hand it to Ted and put in a good word for me to boot.

I signed a contract with Savas Beatie a couple months later and then I was back on track. Now, I could return to devoting all my attention to completing New Dawn. Furthermore, now I had a deadline.

Losing Berkley and finding Nick Popaditch, Ted Savas and Savas Beatie LLC was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had been a tiny fish in the Putnam/Penguin ocean of authors. But now I am a valued member of Savas Beatie’s elite group of authors. We have been working together as a dedicated team toward the common goal of bringing New Dawn
to the marketplace. Today, I am a happy camper.

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Jan 22nd, 2010 by Richard Lowry
The United States Marines Close Another Chapter of Their History
Another Day for the Marines in Iraq

Another Day for the Marines in Iraq

Tomorrow at 1100, Saturday, January 23, 2010 the Second Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) will conduct a transfer of authority ceremony with the First Armored Division and for the first time in six years, there will be no relief-in-place from any incoming Marine Corps unit. United States Forces – West (formally the Multi-National Force – West) will cease to exist. This will mark the successful completion of the Marines mission Iraq. I just received this message from the Sergeant Major of USF-W:
“After 6 years, over 850 Marines and Sailors killed in combat and another 8800 wounded we have completed our mission. At our peak, we had almost 26,000 Marines and Sailors on deck, close to 200 aircraft, over 380,000 pieces of ground equipment, and were averaging close to 2000 significant events a month. We have added a whole new generation of Heroes; and names like An Nasiriyah, Fallujah and Ramadi will be added to our History books.

“Words can’t begin to explain the magnitude of effort and sacrifice our Marines and Sailors have gone through to help the Iraqi people. Each year since the initial invasion, Marines and Sailors from all over the Corps have been a part of the revolving I MEF (fwd) and II MEF (Fwd) Commands. Each year has been different with its own sets of unique challenges and each successive year, the incoming organization has built upon the successes of the outgoing organization.

“This year was no different, we didn’t have anywhere near the level of fighting that previous MEFs have done. However, we did conduct many operations, maintained security, continued to professionalize the Iraqi Security Forces, developed good governance and economics, assisted with the continued establishment of the Rule of Law and oversaw the peaceful transition of the provincial government. We also had one unique mission that we can call our own. That was to finally bring the Marine Corps home.

“Over the past year, we have simultaneously conducted the responsible drawdown of 24,000 Personnel, over 34 Combat Out Posts (COPs) and Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), including Baharia, Rawah, and TQ and sent six years worth of equipment out of theater.

“For those of you who served with me this year, thank you. It was long and difficult at times, with our own set of challenges, but we did it.

“It has been an honor to serve with you.

“For those of you who have left your boot prints over here at least once during the last six years; thanks to you too. You set the stage for us to finish the job. It has been costly, it has been challenging, it has taken a while with quite a few dark days. But, in the end, it was worth it.

“All Marines and Sailors, including those who remained stateside have contributed to the overall success of the Marines and Sailors in Iraq and; all of us have known someone who didn’t make it back alive or has permanent injuries. It is up to us to ensure that those who follow never forgot their sacrifice or what we did here.

“Collectively, we have added another illustrious chapter to the successful story of our Marine Corps. One that all of us can be proud of.”

Semper Fidelis,
K. Carpenter
Sergeant Major
United States Force – West, Iraq
(Previously Multi National Force – West) II Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd)
21 January 2010

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Jan 21st, 2010 by Richard Lowry
The Making of New Dawn and Perfect Valor – Part 2

I thought David Taylor’s project was dead. I put the possibility of a documentary out of my mind and continued my research for my Fallujah book. Then, to my amazement, Mr. Geoffrey Thorpe-Willett sent me an unsolicited email. He had been a free-lance video cameraman with an ABC news crew during Operation Phantom Fury. He asked me if I was interested in seeing the eleven hours of unedited footage he had taken in Fallujah.

BestPictureI told him that I would very much like to see his footage, but there was a problem. Geoff lives in France and his recordings were in PAL format and were not compatible with American television sets. He told me that he only had the originals and offered to mail them to me if I promised to get them back to him. I did and he mailed me his only copies.

I had no way of viewing the European formatted tapes, so I started searching for someone who had the proper equipment. I found a television studio here in Orlando that wanted to charge me $50/tape (there were eleven tapes) to convert them to a format that I could view. However, during the process of getting the quote, I had the opportunity to scan the tapes. They were amazing!

I found a company in Chicago that offered to convert the tapes for about $150. I FedEx’d them the tapes and within two weeks I had them back with additional copies on disc that I could view. Then, David Taylor called.

He had found another source of funding and his documentary project was back on track. I told David about Geoff’s video. He was still intent on telling the story of the battle for Nasiriyah but as we got deeper into the project, we found that there was no High Definition video available from Nasiriyah—there was little or no video at all. Once David viewed Geoff’s video, he decided to redirect the focus of his documentary to Operation Phantom Fury.

He asked me to suggest stories that he could tell. I had already interviewed many participants of the fight in Fallujah, including Sergeant Jason Arellano who was the subject of much of Geoff’s filming. I introduced David to Jason, Lindsey, Jeremiah Workman, Dr. Richard Jadick, Kristine Knight, Todd Desgrosseilliers and LtGen Richard Natonski. Thus, many of the stories in Perfect Valor are pulled directly from the pages of New Dawn.

Lindsey and Jason Arellano, me, and LtCol Todd Desgrosseilliers

Lindsey and Jason Arellano, me, and LtCol Todd Desgrosseilliers

Perfect Valor premiered at the 2009 GI Film Festival and won the best full-length documentary film award for 2009. All the stars were there, LtCol Todd Desgrosseilliers, Lindsey and Jason Arellano, Dr. Richard Jadick and his wife, Kristine Knight, Dan Hodle, and Jeremiah Workman. It was a wonderful night, a night I will never forget.

You were introduced to Jason and Lindsey Arellano, Jeremiah Workman, Dr. Richard Jadick, Kristine Knight and Todd Desgrosseilliers in Perfect Valor. All of their stories are told in full in New Dawn. As an example, Jeremiah Workman fought in a house full of insurgents for about thirty minutes. But, Todd Desgrosseilliers fought with these insurgents for six hours. New Dawn tells the entire story of the enemy’s last stand within the city. Perfect Valor tells the riveting story of Jason Arellano being nearly killed in another insurgent-filled house, but does not tell the story of the most disastrous fight for Arellano’s battalion—for the Marines—in Fallujah. Five Marines were killed in that fight and dozens wounded. New Dawn tells the complete story. New Dawn also introduces you to LtGen Richard Natonski, a true gentleman and fearless Marine commander.

If you enjoyed Perfect Valor, you will want to read New Dawn: the Battles for Fallujah.

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Jan 20th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
The Making of New Dawn and Perfect Valor – Part 1

It has been two and a half years since I first decided to write about the battles for Fallujah. My life has been filled with amazing people and there have been many astounding days since I started this project. I have walked among American heroes and some very special people have touched my life in ways I never imagined.

As the date moves closer to the release of New Dawn, I wanted to share some of these stories with you all. I thought I would start with the story of how it all began.

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Col Mike Shupp and MajGen Richard Natonski

I visited Lieutenant General Richard Natonski in his office in the Pentagon in the summer of 2007. I had gone to visit him to talk about my last book, “Marines in the Garden of Eden.” At the end of our conversation, he said, “You ought to write a book about Fallujah.” I responded that I thought that the story had already been told. “No it hasn’t.” he replied.

I went home to Florida and did some initial research and realized that there was still much to be told about Operation Phantom Fury. I immediately started interviews and the in-depth research needed to tell this amazing story.

I returned to Washington DC in the spring of 2008 to interview Colonel Mike Shupp, General Natonski and other participants of the operation. While in DC, I received an email from the award-winning documentary producer, David Taylor. He had just started a project with a major cable television network. They had obtained several hours of high definition video that the Marine Corps had taken in the lead-up to the invasion in 2002 and during the initial days of the march to Baghdad in 2003. This major television network had commissioned David to produce a documentary film on the invasion of Iraq and they wanted David to use the HD video footage.

David had immediately gone to the bookstore. He picked up several books on the invasion. He leafed through COBRA II, it provided a picture that was too high-level. He then scanned The March Up and decided that this was not what he was looking for. Then, he started Marines in the Garden of Eden. He read it from cover-to-cover and immediately contacted me.

David lives in the Washington, D. C. area. I called him from my hotel in Crystal City and we arranged to meet for lunch. David told me all about his project and enlisted my help. He wanted to tell the story of the battle for Nasiriyah. We worked together for the next several weeks and then the project fell apart. The major network wanted David to do a “war is bad” piece. David resisted, telling them that they couldn’t dictate a conclusion to his documentary. He told the television executives that he would report the truth and if it turned out to be a “war is bad” piece, so be it, but he would not go into the project with a foregone conclusion. The network did not budge in their position and David walked away.

Tune in tomorrow for part II and reserve your personal autographed copy of New Dawn today.

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Jan 16th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
Send in the Marines – Again
U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC)

U.S. Navy Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC)

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit set sail at 0900 on Saturday, January 16th, from Camp Lejeune, NC. The sailors and Marines of 22nd MEU have been working round-the-clock for over 24 hours to prepare for sea. Now, they are steaming at full speed toward Haiti—a thousand-mile journey. By my calculations, they should be on scene by sometime Tuesday morning.

Colonel Gary Brandl and his staff will spend the next few days gathering intelligence and planning for their mission. The Marines will be training in first aid, brushing up on their French and Creole phrases, and cleaning and preparing their equipment.

You will know when the Marines land. They have some uniquely recognizable tools they are bringing to this life-saving operation. The first vehicle you will see will be their Landing Craft, Air Cushioned (LCAC) hovercraft. The LCACs are actually maintained and operated by the U. S. Navy, but the Marines use these vehicles to move their men, vehicles and equipment from ship-to-shore.

The LCACs are huge, capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. They are high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft. LCACs can carry heavy payloads, such as an M-1 tank. Air cushion technology allows this vehicle to reach more than 70 percent of the world’s coastline, while only about 15 percent of that coastline is accessible by conventional landing craft.

These amphibious craft will allow the Marines to quickly bring supplies onto the island. They will be highly visible and when you see one in the next few days, you will know the Marines have landed.

Visit Richard S. Lowry’s website for more information on him and his books. Watch for his latest book, New Dawn, in book stores on May 14th.

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Jan 15th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
HELP IS ON THE WAY

Colonel Gareth Brandl, USMCWithin hours of one of the largest human disasters of the 21st Century, America’s military had begun work to bring aid and assistance to the people of Haiti. Coast Guard cutters in the Caribbean immediately started steaming at flank speed toward Port-au-Prince. Within 24 hours, an Air Force Special Operations team from the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron landed at the airport and the United States Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson CVN-70, was steaming toward Haiti.

The Air Force team landed with radios on their back, ready to communicate with commercial aircraft overhead. They immediately assumed responsibility for air traffic control at the Port au Prince airport, under the direction of the Haitian authorities. Behind the scenes, the team set up emergency landing lights, deployed security teams to protect the airport and sent out other teams to assess the extent of damage to the airport. Other airmen started setting up operations to run the airport and several search and rescue teams headed into the city to start rescues. By noon Thursday, January 14th, they had conducted seven rescues.

As the global response force, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division is on 24/7 standby, ready to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours. A lead element from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 73rd Infantry, left Fort Bragg on Thursday, and the entire battalion, along with a command and control element from the division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, will join them on Friday, January 15th. The lead element of the “Ready-Brigade” arrived Thursday night and by this morning soldiers were preparing to start their support operations.

Meanwhile, the Carl Vinson’s helicopters lifted off as soon as the ship was in range of the Port au Prince airport. Her gray helicopters were on the ground by sunrise Friday morning.

Back in the United States, three ships were steaming from Norfolk to Moorhead City, NC to pick up the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, commanded by Colonel Gareth Brandl. Marines from the 22nd MEU had just returned from a deployment in the Indian Ocean before the holidays. They have all been recalled and are quickly loading up their ships, USS Bataan LHD-5, USS Carter Hall LSD-3 and USS Fort McHenry LSD-43, and will be under way tomorrow morning.

As American military forces converge on the disaster area, hundreds of servicemen and women are working behind the scenes. The Air Force diverted a Global Hawk UAV from its journey to Afghanistan to the Haitian skies. It has been operating over Port au Prince since yesterday, capturing valuable photographic intelligence and providing that data to the world. Logistics experts are working tirelessly to plan the relief effort. They are identifying critical needs, prioritizing flights, assessing the capabilities at the airport and identifying what can be done to improve the flow of air traffic.

The Carl Vinson will relieve some of the stress on the airport. Supplies can now be helicoptered in from the sea and casualties can be treated aboard ship. All day today, the Marines are loading the equipment and supplies they will need to help the people of Haiti. The Marines should arrive, on-scene, by Monday. They have the capability to conduct an amphibious landing. They will probably set up a beachhead to provide another way to get much-needed supplies to the people of Haiti.

The Marines are bringing more heavy-lift helicopters, water purification systems that can produce 60,000 gallons of potable water per day, much needed medical supplies, and a thousand Marines from Battalion Landing Team 3/2, commanded by LtCol Robert Fulford. The USS Bataan has medical facilities only exceeded on the Hospital Ship USNS Comfort, which will also be arriving later next week.

With every hour, the relief effort will improve. Help is on the way.

NOTE: Colonel Gareth Brandl commanded 1st Battalion, 8th Marines during Operation Phantom Fury. Read his story and those of his Marines in the fight to free Fallujah in New Dawn, in bookstores on May 14th.

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Jan 12th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
We are the Good Guys

SEALs TridentIn the face of brutal treatment from a vicious enemy, our American leadership has chosen to undermine our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. Their “Monday morning quarterbacking” impedes our young men and women’s efforts in fighting the war on terror. We MUST remember that we are the “good guys.” We should do everything in our power to act morally and with compassion and conscience. And, I believe we do.

Colonel Michael Shupp told his Marines on the eve of the attack into Fallujah: “Take the fight to the enemy, but fight with firmness, dignity, and respect. You are warriors, not criminals.”[1]

Of course, there will always be a small few who will not act as we would want them to in combat. These people should be dealt with and held responsible for their actions. BUT, there should not be a national “witch hunt,” publicized to the world. Our government and media play into our enemy’s hands when they inflate these few indiscretions.

Take for example, the Abu Ghraib scandal. Stop and compare our actions to Saddam’s henchmen in that same prison. During Saddam’s reign of terror, Abu Ghraib prisoners were hung from meat hooks, dunked in boiling oil and REALLY tortured. Where was the media contempt then? Was the world’s outrage proportional to what American guards did to their victims? Were any really hurt? Were they disfigured? And, were the actions of a few sick people sanctioned by the leadership? No, no, and no. At worst, the prison leadership was guilty of a lack of supervision and control.

Let’s move on. Did the CIA interrogators break bones, draw blood or deliberately kill anyone. Again, no.  They just scared the shit out of one or two murderers. Is what they did right? That is not for me to decide. But, I can tell you that the prisoners that were waterboarded are alive and well today. They get better medical attention than any of us will get under a government medical plan. They are fed and clothed and sheltered. They still have all their fingers and toes and they continue to spit on and bite their guards.

Now, the almighty attorney general, Eric Holder, is investigating our Special Agents and even the previous administration’s legal advisors. Does he not understand that the investigations alone help our enemy? They force good men and women to second guess their future accusers. They force them to back off. Could it be that this caution will let more Dr Hasan’s stay in the system? Could it be that our CIA agents will miss a critical piece of information? Could it be that a young soldier or Marine will hesitate for a split second and die?

Which brings me to the real reason I am writing today; Why, on earth, are we not celebrating and awarding medals to the three young NAVY SEALs, Matthew McCabe, Julio Huertas, and Jonathon Keefe, who recently captured Ahmed Hashim Abed, a notorious al-Qaeda terrorist and mastermind of the Blackwater ambush in April of 2004 (See #20)? Apparently, Mr. Abed claimed that he had been mistreated and now the three young men face a court marshall. Where have we gone wrong? How did the world get turned upside down?

Take a moment and read how our enemies treat their prisoners:

  1. March 2, 1973, Khartoum, Sudan. Cleo A. Noel, Jr., U.S. ambassador to Sudan, and George C. Moore, also a U.S. diplomat, were held hostage and then killed by terrorists at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum. It seems likely that Fatah was responsible for the attack. *
  2. January 1, 1977, Beirut, Lebanon. Frances E. Meloy, U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, and Robert O. Waring, the U.S. economic counselor, were kidnapped by PFLP members as they crossed a militia checkpoint separating the Christian from the Muslim parts of Beirut. They were later shot to death. *
  3. March 16, 1984, Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah kidnapped William Buckley, a political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. His body was never found. *
  4. December 4, 1984, Tehran, Iran. Hezbollah terrorists hijacked a Kuwait Airlines plane en route from Dubai, United Emirates, to Karachi, Pakistan. The terrorists murdered two passengers–American Agency for International Development employees, Charles Hegna and William Stanford. *
  5. June 14, 1985, Between Athens and Rome. Two Hezbollah members hijacked a TWA flight en route to Rome from Athens and forced the pilot to fly to Beirut. The eight crewmembers and 145 passengers were held for 17 days during which one of the hostages, Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, was murdered. *
  6. October 7, 1985, Between Alexandria, Egypt and Haifa, Israel. A four-member PFLP squad took over the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, as it was sailing from Alexandria, Egypt, to Israel. The squad murdered a disabled U.S. citizen, Leon Klinghoffer, by throwing him in the ocean. *
  7. September 5, 1986, Karachi, Pakistan. Abu Nidal members hijacked a Pan Am flight bound for New York with 379 passengers, including 89 Americans. The terrorists killed 22 of the passengers, including two American citizens. *
  8. September 9, 1986, Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah kidnapped Frank Reed, director of the American University in Beirut. They accused him of being “a CIA agent” and held him for 44 months. Then, on September 12, 1986, Hezbollah kidnapped Joseph Cicippio, the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut. Cicippio was released five years later in December 1991. *
  9. February 17, 1988, Ras-Al-Ein Tyre, Lebanon. Colonel William Richard “Rich” Higgins, USMC, the American chief of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (involved in a peace-keeping mission), was abducted, tortured and eventually murdered by Hezbollah. *

10.  January, 1991, Iraq and Kuwait. During the Persian Gulf War, Iraq brutally tortured U.S. prisoners of war. Saddam Hussein’s secret police broke bones; shattered skulls and eardrums; and whipped, burned, shocked, beat, starved and urinated on our POWs. One extraordinary Marine was knocked unconscious so many times he lost count; he returned home with a fractured skull for refusing his captors’ orders to criticize President George H.W. Bush. By John Norton Moore,Wednesday, November 10, 2004; Page A27 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38242-2004Nov9.html. Also, see: Lowry, Richard, The Gulf War Chronicles, iUniverse Star, 2009, www.gwchronicles.com.

11.  October 3-4, 1993, Mogadishu, Somalia. Two American Army Rangers mutilated bodies dragged through the streets.

12.   July 4, 1995, Kashmir, India. Terrorists took six tourists hostage, including two U.S. citizens. One of the U.S. citizens escaped on July 8, but all the rest were killed, On August 13 the decapitated body of the Norwegian hostage was found. *

13.  May 9, 2001, Tekoa, West Bank. Kobi Mandell, 13, of Silver Spring, MD, an American-Israeli, was found stoned to death along with a friend in a cave near the Jewish settlement of Tekoa. Two organizations, the Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah-Palestine, claimed responsibility for the attack. *

14.  January 15, 2002, Bethlehem, West Bank. Avraham Boaz, 71, of New York, a dual Israeli-American citizen, was kidnapped at a security checkpoint in Beit Jala and murdered. *

15.  March 23, 2003, Nasiriyah, Iraq. Sergeant Donald Walters was executed by Saddam Fedayeen after being captured in Nasiriyah.

16.  March 23, 2003, Nasiriyah, Iraq. PFC Jessica Lynch was brutally raped after being captured south of Nasiriyah.

17.  March 23, 2003, Nasiriyah, Iraq. SPC Lori Peistewa died in captivity after being denied medical treatment for two hours. See Lowry, Richard,Marines in the Garden of Eden, Berkley, 2006. www.marinesinthegardenofeden.com.

18.  March 23, 2003, Az Zubayr, Iraq. A British Army engineering unit made a wrong turn. The unit was ambushed. Sapper Luke Allsopp and Staff Sergeant Simon Cullingworth became separated from the rest. Both were captured and executed by Iraqi forces.

19.  March 28, 2003, Ash Shatrah, Iraq. Marine Sergeant Fernando Padilla-Ramirez was reported missing from his supply unit after an ambush north of Nasiriyah on March 28. His body was later dragged through the streets of Ash Shatrah and hung in the town square.

20.  March 31, 2004, Fallujah Iraq. Four Blackwater security guards were ambushed and murdered. Their bodies were burned and mutilated and two were hung from Fallujah’s old footbridge.

21.  May 7, 2004, Fallujah, Iraq. Nicholas Berg, an American businessman, beheaded on camera by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a safe-house inside Fallujah.

22.  April 9, 2004, Fallujah, Iraq. PFC Matt Maupin’s fuel convoy attacked west of Baghdad. Matt was captured, tortured and beheaded. His body was not found for four years. **

23. May 16, 2007, Al Taqa, Iraq. Tenth Mountain Division unit attacked south of Baghdad. Four American soldiers were taken prisoner and dragged away. Months later, all four bodies were found. ***

* Compiled by Caroline Taillandier, a research assistant at the GLORIA center and student at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Mitchell Bard, and Alden Oreck, Avi Hein, and Elihai Braun, research assistants at the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, and Paul Teller, Deputy Director, House Republican Study Committee. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Terrorism/usvictims.html

** http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1726517,00.html#ixzz0cQEGuNb0

***http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ajz17mKm_sBA&refer=home


[1] Col Mike Shupp, We Were One, p. 61.

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Jan 4th, 2010 by Richard Lowry
U.S.S. INDEPENDENCE (LCS-2)

USS Independence (LCS-2)Somali pirates beware; the United States Navy’s newest ship is nearly operational. The U.S.S. Independence (LCS-2) is designed to operate in the littorals (the shallow waters along the world’s coastlines). It is small and stealthy; fast and agile. This relatively small, high-speed combatant will complement the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Fleet, DDG 1000 and CG(X) by operating in environments where it is less desirable to employ larger, multi-mission ships.

In today’s world, and in the foreseeable future, America will be involved in conflicts worldwide against third-world antagonists. Seldom, will the U.S. Navy have to fight the ‘deep-water’ fight. More often than not, our navy will need to operate in shallow waters around the world, dealing with cruise missile sites along the Iranian coast, chasing pirates off the lawless Somali coastline and weaving their way through the island nations of Indonesia and The Philippines. Independence and her sister ships will be there at the tip of America’s spear.

The Independence is packed full of advanced technology sensors and communications systems, manned and unmanned vehicles and weapons systems that don’t miss. She is a 417 foot long trimaran which has a draft of less than 15 feet. She has a top speed of more than 45 knots, faster than any surface ship in today’s Navy, and can easily be configured to handle a multitude of assignments from anti-submarine warfare to hunting down pirates. She is a triple-hulled, weapons-laden monster.

The U.S. Navy officially accepted delivery of the future USS Independence on December 18, 2009 from General Dynamics at the Austal shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. The ship will be commissioned on January 16 and is expected to be ready to sail by February 2010.

090712-N-0000G-

Visit Richard S. Lowry’s website to learn more about his books and order your own copies.

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