From the CO’s Desk...
Dear Members of the America’s Battalion Family, As you all well know, much has transpired since our last Newsletter.
The first half of [month] was filled with final pre-deployment preparations as the last elements of “America’s Battalion” departed Kaneohe Bay en route to our area of operations in Iraq. We said our final goodbyes on the [date] and from that point until now, we have been fighting the good fight.
Upon relieving 3d Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1), the newly formed “Task Force 3/3” took control of the battle space on 25 March, and nearly doubled in size while attaching Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Civilians from the [specific] Unit, Engineers, Tanks, Assault Amphibians, an [Coalition] Army Company, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment 4, Civil Affairs and Tactical Psychological Operations units and numerous smaller attachments and individuals with select support expertise. These units transferred to us from 3/1, and several of them have since conducted their own reliefs in place. Less than twenty-four hours after the transition of authority with 3/1, our battlespace increased significantly as we added the [area] region to our area of responsibility and reorganized Weapons Company to move into that area.
Wasting no time, your men immediately hit the streets throughout our area of responsibility and made their presence known and felt by the insurgents. The past six weeks have led to the detention of several insurgent cell leaders and operatives that have coordinated attacks against Coalition Forces, the Iraqi Army and the population in our area of responsibility. In the process, we have located and reduced a number of arms caches.
Fighting a counter-insurgency is difficult, as the enemy seeks to intimidate and blend in with the population and he rarely shows his hand by challenging Coalition Forces outright. To win this fight, you have to win the support of the local population, gain information on the identity and location of the insurgent, and then seek to remove him.
The Marines, Sailors and Soldiers of the Task Force clearly recognize that the key to success here is in fielding and increasing the proficiency of the Iraqi Security Forces. This is our foremost responsibility, and our operations against the insurgents are conducted in support of it. Working in concert with the Iraqi Army and, in [city], the fledgling Iraqi Police, we have conducted numerous combined patrols, searches and detention operations. We have leveraged their understanding of the language and culture. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Army is demonstrating that they are increasingly capable of independent operations. Every day we see an increase in the ability of these indigenous forces that will one day assume the independent responsibility for maintaining stability in this region and preventing it from being a terrorist refuge or extremist state. Our daily work is geared at speeding the day where that becomes possible.
Our contribution to the global war on terrorism has not been without loss and sacrifice. Our heartfelt prayers go out to the families of Staff Sergeant Ramseyer, Staff Sergeant Davis, Sergeant Mills and Corporals Aguilar, Hardy and Lueken. These men were tremendous Americans that would not – and simply could not – sit by and watch as others fought the battle against the greatest evil of our age. They answered the call to defend the freedom of both Americans and Iraqis, and both owe these Marines and their families a debt of gratitude. As for “America’s Battalion” and the Marine Corps, their families are, and always will be, our family. We also recognize the sacrifices of our wounded Marines and their families. Know that our prayers are with you for a rapid recovery.
You have every reason to be incredibly proud of your service member. Since our deployment to this war torn land, the Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Civilians of Task Force 3/3 have contributed significantly to the stability of Iraq. More importantly, they have prevented this country from being a safe haven for those who would attack – and have attacked – our own great Nation. In the process, your husbands, sons and fathers have conducted them themselves with the utmost of professionalism and dignity. It is both an honor and a privilege to be associated with this extraordinary group of American fighting men.
Thank you for your continued support to your loved one and, in many cases, the fellow members of his unit. The countless care packages, cards and letters always help to bolster morale. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We look forward to joining you when our work here is complete.
N. L. Cooling
United States Marine Corps
3d Battalion 3d Marines
Commanding Officer - LtCol. N. L. Cooling
Executive Officer - Maj P. A. Beckett
Sergeant Major - SgtMaj. W. T. Stables
3/3 Remain Behind Element - GySgt J. Jerome
This newsletter is published with appropriated government funds to provide information of interest to service members, families of service members, Key Volunteers, and Family Readiness Officers and in no way shall be considered directive in nature. The contents of this newsletter are not necessarily the official view of, or endorsed by, the United States Government or the Department of Defense. Any mention of commercial activity in this publication does not constitute endorsement by DoD for the product or services.
H & S Company
Families and friends of Headquarters and Service Company, It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of losses our company sustained in April. The following men paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country:
Staff Sergeant Jason C. Ramseyer Jump Platoon
Staff Sergeant Edward G. Davis Amphibious Assault Platoon
Sergeant Lea R. Mills Amphibious Assault Platoon
Corporal Brandon M. Hardy Amphibious Assault Platoon
Corporal Andres Aguilar Jr. Communications Platoon
Corporal Eric R. Lueken Communications Platoon (Att WPNS Company)
They are heroes because of the way they led their lives. We mourn their loss and will miss them. We will honor them by continuing our mission in a steadfast manner. Their families are in our thoughts and prayers, and I am certain they are in yours as well. In honor of them, we have added their photographs to this month’s newsletter.
Our H&S Company family gained another unit in April, First Platoon, Charlie Company, Third Tracks (Assault Amphibious Battalion). The motivated men from our Assault Amphibious Platoon, led by Second Lieutenant Rajesh Mistry, have been performing a multitude of missions with a great deal of energy. Our company is grateful to have them.
Our men are continuing to work hard to support the battalion. The battalion has had many successes. Many insurgents are being captured and taken off the streets. Iraqis of all ages are informing us about locations of Improvised Explosive Devices and as a result, are saving lives. We have been training and working with the Iraqi Army and continue to see improvements.
During these challenging times, I see our men coming together as a band of brothers. We continue to sense the support from home that is helping us focus on our mission.
Congratulations are due to the following Marines who were promoted in April: Corporals Harris and Salazar; and Lance Corporals Fletcher, Moody, Ortiz, and Pittman.
Capt Nick Nuzzo
H&S Company, 3/3
Greetings to all members of the India Company family from Iraq.
Hopefully this message finds all of you well and in good spirits. These monthly updates are as much a forum to pass information to the many concerned spouses, family members, and friends of India Company Marines as it is an opportunity for us here in country to take stock of the past four weeks. The pace here is such that each day tends to blend into the many before it, and the chance to take a few moments to reflect on just how much we are making a difference here, and pass that information along to all of you, is very uplifting for all of us.
As with any counter-insurgency operation, success is measured in inches. Over time, each drop of sweat expended on patrol, each sleepless night spent in an observation post, and each wave to an Iraqi child adds up to a safer environment for Iraqis to live their lives and the mission that much closer to being accomplished. When 200 plus Marines are pulling on the same rope and putting forth maximum effort, the effect of that collective exertion is visible, quantifiable, and tangible. When we first arrived in country, each Marine vowed to work harder, faster, and smarter than our enemy. Each Marine vowed to adhere to the warrior code of protecting the innocent, even though our enemy does not. Each Marine vowed not to be out-hustled by our enemy. Each Marine has lived up to these vows, and the results of that commitment are impressive. India has captured numerous insurgents. We have saturated the city with patrols on a daily basis to the point that some of the locals have commented that it is difficult for them to move around the city, because around each corner is a combined Marine and Iraqi Army squad providing security. I welcome these comments, because our enemy cannot operate effectively when the entire city is under the watchful eyes of an India Company Marine and Iraqi Army Soldier.
The relentless vigilance of our Marines has caused more than one local citizen to ask if we are machines rather than ordinary men. When I see the selfless effort put forth by the Marines of India Company on a daily basis, I sometimes wonder the same thing.
The Marines are able to sustain this pace through their commitment to the mission and to one another. They have worked together to improve not only the conditions in the city of ***** but also the living conditions insidethe firm base. In addition to countless other projects, Marines in the company have created showers with running water, built bunk beds in their billeting quarters, constructed a chow hall and recreation room (complete with a big-screen cable TV and play-station), and re-furbished the gym. These amenities provide a much-needed break and place to unwind after the long hours on patrol. In addition, each platoon received three days off over the course of the past month. Each platoon spent these three days catching up on sleep, doing laundry, and sharing lessons learned from the 75 plus combat patrols each squad has executed since arriving in country.
The Marines also got a chance during this period to go to the Battalion HQ at ****** and visit the PX and phone/internet center. The break was much-needed and a great way to re-charge everyone’s batteries.
The Marines of India Company are eternally grateful for the support, letters, care packages, words of encouragement, and prayers received from all of you back in the States. I cannot over-emphasize how important these little pieces of home are to each and every Marine in the company. The amount of mail we have received is staggering. The number of people back home who have personally informed me that they are praying for the Marines of India Company is humbling. Our prayer we offer here is one of thanksgiving for the support you provide us and gratefulness for the opportunity we have been given to provide peace and hope in a region plagued by terrorism and fear. We also ask for strength that we may be found worthy of the many prayers offered on our behalf and that we may live up to the responsibilities we have been entrusted with. At times, the days ahead seem interminable and filled with doubt and uncertainty. But know that one thing is certain: In the city of Haditha, India stands proud and strong, faithful and vigilant, one hand on our rifles and the other hand saluting the Marines and families, both past and present, who have sacrificed for the cause of freedom.
India Company would like to congratulate the following Marines on recent promotions:
April 1st: Lance Corporal Jacob D. Turner (Meritorious Promotion); Lance Corporal’s Cory J. Carter, Christopher G. DePalma, Cailen J. Dixon, Charlie H. Jones, and Abraham E. Marsh; Private First Class Joshua W. Varner May 1st: Corporal Jacob D. Erdmanis (Combat Meritorious Promotion);Lance Corporal Joshua A. Foshie (Combat Meritorious Promotion); Sgt’s Kenny J. Dunlow and Michael B. Dunn; Cpl Timothy A. Haddock; LCpl’s Lucas C. Andrews, William E. Barnett, Detric D. Causey, Samuel B. Dicks, Keith E. Echelbarger, David L. Hanes, Caleb L. Keenan, David R. Miller, and Virgil W. Riley
Capt Andy Lynch
India Company, 3/3
Dear Families and Friends,
Greetings from Al Anbar Province, Iraq. The Marines, Soldiers and Sailors of Kilo Company continue to pursue our nation’s interests while conducting combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the recent weeks, we have continued company level operations with our Iraqi Army counterparts. We have begun to seek volunteers who will accept positions in a local police force here in ******. These volunteers will be sent to an Academy were they will receive training in Police duties. Kilo Company Marines continue to reach out to the local community to foster a relationship of security and trust. As operations continue to progress, we are thankful that our training has prepared us for the challenging duties we are now facing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our fellow Marines and their families who are recovering from wounds received during operations; please keep them in your thoughts. We would like to wish all Mothers in our Kilo Company Family a happy Mother’s Day.
We would like to offer our congratulations to the Kilo Marines listed below.
Promotions for April:
Cpl Naraine (Combat) meritoriously
Promotions for May:
LCpl Cass, LCpl Conroy, LCpl Hooks Jr., LCpl Pavka, LCpl Thomas, LCpl Grahl,
LCpl Kelley, LCpl Vaughn, LCpl Velazquez, Jr, LCpl Vestal, and LCpl Worley
Despite our busy schedule, we will continue to make every effort to keep our families informed of our progress throughout our deployment. We would like to thank all of our extended families, friends, sponsors, and supporters for their continued efforts to help us accomplish our mission and maintain that focus. We would also encourage all of our family members to visit our company website. We are able to update this site monthly, and it also provides a means that you can communicate with us. We are receiving mail, however, our connectivity for email and phones at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) is moderate. Given our current configuration, you should expect to hear from your Marine or Sailor at least once every two weeks. We are constantly working to improve our connectivity. Our Company Key Volunteer is always looking for some assistance with the Key Volunteer program. If you are interested in providing assistance, please contact 1stSgt Santiago through our company website. Mahalo! Semper Fidelis!
Capt Brad Kroll
1stSgt Vincent Santiago
Kilo Company 3/3 Company First Sergeant
Dear Family and Friends of Lima Company,
During April, your Marines of Lima Company 3/3 continued their deployment to ***** Iraq, in support of Regimental Combat Team-7. The first few weeks have been extremely busy doing counterinsurgency operations, civil affairs improvement projects, interacting with the local populace, and providing security for the local area. All of this is being done in a coordinated partnership with our Iraqi Army counterparts. The months of intense training prior to deployment have paid huge dividends for all of the Marines. The leadership of our young Marines and Non-Commissioned Officers has been particularly impressive. As we look to the future, we will continue to focus on developing the operational tactics of the Iraqi Army and helping to further the solid foundation of officer and NCO leadership within their ranks. The Iraqi soldiers have made great strides and are very enthusiastic about the training they have received.
In addition to operations with the Iraqi Army, Lima Company has undertaken several civil affairs improvement projects within the local area to improve the infrastructure of the city and to provide comforts to the local populace.
The Marines of Force Lima continue to stay motivated, dedicated, and to act as true professionals in all endeavors. Along with our Iraqi brethren, we are making a significant contribution to the peace, security, and future success of the region.
Thank you for your continued love and support.
Capt Mike Hudson
Lima Company, 3/3
Family and Friends,
Aloha from western Iraq. Regretfully, Weapons Company must send its condolences to the Ramseyer and Lueken families. These Marines were killed in action during actions in our battalion’s area of operations. Both SSgt “Ram” and Corporal Lueken, who was also known as “Radio” by his brothers in the company, will be sorely missed. We ask that you please keep both families in your thoughts and prayers.
We wish a speedy recovery to Sgt McCree and Lance Corporals Roebuck, Kozak and Torres; all are currently recuperating stateside.
April has been a busy month for your Marines and Sailors. The month began with Weapons Company moving out of our previous home ****** and assuming responsibility for our own battle space in Trinity South. Your Marines’ days were long and arduous; they had the duel tasks of familiarizing themselves to the new area and building a company firm base from the ground up. Weapons Company is the first unit that will provide a permanent presence in an area that has long since been known as a safe haven for insurgents. As a result, we have reconfigured the company to support the mission. We would like to welcome the newest members to the Weapons Company Family: 2nd Platoon, Lima Company, and members of the Iraqi Army.
The first month consisted mainly of mounted/dismounted urban patrols with the Iraqi Army and [City] Police in the outlying urban areas, counter-IED patrols along the Main Supply Routes (MSRs), and firm base construction.
Weapons Company built the firm base in a pre-existing structure, a previous bath house and movie theatre for Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard. Much work needed to be done in order to provide adequate force protection and living quarters for your Marines and Sailors. Priorities of work for the Combat Engineers were construction of the outer wall, guard posts, a vehicle check point, and an entry control point for the firm base. On 17 April, the Marine Wing Service Support Engineers and Seabees arrived with additional supplies and assets to help facilitate in the construction. They also installed field showers, lights and electricity outlets throughout the building, and a fuel bladder. By 20 April, most of the priorities for firm base construction had been met. Towards the end of the month, the Marines received some recreational gear and Easter care packages from the key volunteers.
Though the primary mission for the Marines in Iraq is to train the Iraqi Army, the Marines continue to conduct counter-insurgency operations in zone, leveraging the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army to regain the local populace’s confidence in their government’s ability to provide security in the area. The Marines have trained the Iraqi Army in areas ranging from mounted and dismounted operations to vehicle maintenance and snap vehicle checkpoints.
Throughout the month, the Marines worked closely with the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army and engaged the local populace in order to undermine the insurgent’s negative propaganda campaign against the Iraqi Government.
The following Marines were promoted on 1 April:
LCpl Hobens III, LCpl Harvey (Lima), LCpl Lowe (Lima), LCpl Sonnier (Lima), and LCpl Trumbell (Lima).
Happy Anniversary to the following: Major and Mrs. Kelly, Staff Sergeant and Mrs. Arsnoe, Staff Sergeant and Mrs. Gonzalez, and Sergeant and Mrs. Kladitis.
Happy Birthday to the following: Pvt Walden, LCpl Bennett, LCpl Green, LCpl Edwards, LCpl Johnson J., LCpl Rowell, LCpl Russell, Cpl Flory, Cpl Loughnane, Sergeant Lazzari, Sergeant Chinana, HM2 Buckingham, and SSgt Veach.
To the family and friends of Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, thank you for the overwhelming support. We miss and want each of you to know that we could not do this without your support. Our focus remains on the mission at hand, but our prayers and thoughts are never far from our loved ones.
On behalf of the Marines and Sailors of Weapons Company, I would like to express a special Mahalo.
Major Eric Kelly
Weapons Company, 3/3
Family Readiness Officer
1stLt C. K. Huckaby
To the friends and families of “America’s Battalion”, If you should have any family readiness questions or issues while we are deployed, please direct them to the Assistant Family Readiness Officer, GySgt Jerome with the Remain Behind Element at: (-) Otherwise, please enjoy the photo collage.
CHECK OUT THE 3/3 WEBSITE
CLICK ON THE “PHOTO GALLERY” LINK FOR UPDATED PHOTOS
From the Battalion KVC
Aloha to the families of “America’s Battalion”!
As you are reading this, we are approaching the 2 month mark of this deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hopefully by this point, you have been contacted by your Key Volunteer from 3d Battalion, 3d Marines. If you have not, please contact your Lead KV for your company or myself.
As stated in earlier newsletters, 3/3’s Key Volunteer Network has organized monthly activities for ALL spouses to attend, with or without children, to help pass time a little bit faster. Kudos and a big Mahalo to all of our KV’s from H&S Company, who organized the Easter Egg Hunt at the L.I.N.K.S. House on Saturday April 8th. It was a wonderful turnout with many Easter eggs, cookies and smiles! In May, we will celebrate the military spouse, with a “Military Spouse Appreciation Potluck Luncheon” hosted by the KV’s of Weapons Company on Saturday, May 13th, from 11am – 2pm at the BOQ Conference Room. June will be celebrated with a Pool Party on Saturday, June 10th, from 6pm – 8pm at the Base Pool, sponsored by the KV’s of Lima Company. July will mark the [%] point of the deployment and we will celebrate this important marker with a Battalion-sponsored Potluck Party on Saturday, [date] from 11am – 4pm at the Super Park on MCB Hawaii. Please mark these dates down, as we would love for all the spouses to attend. In our next newsletter, we will give the dates and times for the final 2 months of the deployment’s monthly activities, so please stay tuned!
Finally, if you are expecting or have recently delivered one of the newest upcoming members of “America’s Battalion,” please notify your Key Volunteer. We would like to commemorate your arrival with a little token from the Battalion’s Key Volunteers. If you have any concerns, questions or ideas, please feel free to contact your KV, Company Lead KV or myself. We look forward to meeting many of you at our upcoming activities. Until next time, stay safe and many blessings! Semper Fi.
3/3 Key Volunteer Coordinator
Battalion Key Volunteer
“Time Well Spent”
Greetings to the families and friends of “America’s Battalion”, April has come and gone and the Marines and Sailors of 3/3 continue to work hard everyday; you can be very proud of them.
The past month has been bittersweet. We paid our respects to six of our own and yet, through these difficult losses, have gained a deeper sense of appreciation for family and loved ones. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of our fallen Marines. In difficult times, I receive encouragement and perspective from the Old Testament figure Job . After being informed of tremendous personal losses, Job exclaimed, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job understood that God is sovereign and that some things were outside of his control. There are some events that we simply have to leave in God’s hands. Yet, this one thing I know for certain, the service that the Marines and Sailors of 3/3 offer to this world is time well spent. These men are making a difference and I thank God for selfless servants that volunteer to give of their time to defend our freedoms and help to establish the freedoms of others.
On a separate note, RP2 Shields has returned to Hawaii in preparation for his next assignment. If you should see him on the island, please extend your appreciation to him for his efforts with 3/3. And RPSR Van Horn was promoted to RPSA on 16 April, congratulations to him on this achievement.
Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Until next time, Godspeed and please make good use of your time.
Chaplain Paul Tremblay