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May 10

Scraps

Ages and ages ago, my exposure to blogs were those in the LiveJournal community. I still keep track of some of them, in particular, Drood, where’s my car?. He writes a delightfuly, domestic life has never been portrayed online in a more poetic, calm, yet insightful manner.

A recent entry discusses an old column the writer used to pen, and an offer by a radio station to turn his column into a syndicated show. It didn’t quite get off the ground, but he’s posted what the show might have been like in Drood, where’s my car?.

The column itself is immortalized online in From the Library of Sir Charles The aforementioned Sir Charles is a persona, of course, created by the author. Some of the most enjoyable columns (think Miss Manners) involve sacrastic, vaguely pompous literary creations. Another favorite of mine is Poor Mojo’s Squid.

I envy writers who methodically keep notes, and have bulging notebooks filled with scraps of information useful to their work. I try to do the same, but rely all too often on my memory, or jot things down on old receipts, delivery menus, or pads that get misplaced. Sometimes I keep notes on the computer, and only discover them much, much later:

A fellow in NY state: he cannot wear wristwatches because somehow the batteries never work; he has to wear pocketwatches. He’s 19. That’s one random note.

Sometimes I squirrel away information, hoping to do a column on it, such as a citation from a US military officer, with an accompanying note. The citation is for bravery in the face of Abu Sayaf attacks conducted in the Philippines about two or three years ago, in Mindanao.

The below summary of action and award citation is written for two marines that were attached to my company (who are now sergeants and currently instructors at the Scout Sniper Course I am the Officer in Charge for and thus have the pleasure of pinning these on them next week.) while we were in the Philippines during Operation Enduring Freedom Philippines….I think the summary of action and citation speak for themselves….(this is not classified but i have —ed portions that I consider sensitive)

TAKE NOTES

Summary Action: The Combat Distinguishing Device is Authorized.

While conducting security operations in support of the Naval Construction Task Group (NCTG) on Basilan Island, Philippines during Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, Corporal S———— distinguished himself with valor in a fire-fight with an element of the Abu Sayyaf Guerrilla (ASG) terrorist organization. Service member is receiving Imminent Danger Pay.
On June 17th, 2002, the Marine Security Element (MSE) platoon “—–” was conducting force protection operations on the Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) team — access road near the village of Maligue, Basilan Island, Philippines. The scout sniper team of Corporal S———– and Corporal J———- and an Armed Forces of the Philippines Soldier of the –th IB were tasked with establishing over-watch positions on a Seabee worksite along the road. Specifically tasked with observing trails and roads that may serve as key avenues of approach for enemy forces trying to ambush the construction site, the team moved to occupy the dominating high ground overlooking the worksite to the south. While moving along a trail to their position, they noticed fresh footprints made by rubber boots heading east towards the work site. Upon this discovery, the three-man team decided to move back to the worksite. Approximately 150 meters down the trail, Corporal S——–, the point man, heard human voices and gave the hand and arm signal to freeze. Corporal S——– observed two unidentified men, later determined to be an ASG patrol, walking up the trail in his direction, both armed with M-16 assault rifles. Corporal S——- hastily moved the team off to the side of the trail. The unidentified men moved within ten feet of Corporal S———-, at which time they observed the three-man scout team. Upon observing Corporal S——- off the trail, the unidentified men raised their weapons and began to fire at the automatic rate at the scout team. With rounds cutting through the jungle all around him, Corporal S——— raised his weapon and returned fire into the two enemy combatants. At the same time, approximately ten to fifteen enemy soldiers further down the trail then opened fire in the direction of the scout team. In disregard for his own safety and in an attempt to cover his team member, Corporal J——– immediately moved into a shooting position along the trail and began firing into the ranks of the enemy force. Corporal S—— instructed the team to initiate their “break-contact” drill. With the covering fire of his team member, Corporal S——– was able to break-contact and move back ten meters before he began firing again to cover the movement of the rest of his team. Corporal J——– continued to fire and drop enemy soldiers until Corporal S——- pushed back ten meters and established covering fire. While Cpl S——– provided covering fire for his team, a medium machine gun then began to fire from within the ranks of the enemy squad at the scout team.
The three-man team continued their break-contact drill for approximately another thirty meters before conducting their movement to an unimproved road two kilometers to the west of their position, as per an established escape and evasion plan (E-E). Stopping 500 to 1,000 meters from the engagement site, the scout team established a hasty defensive position and informed their platoon commander that there was an enemy force between them and the worksite and not to send the established Quick Reaction Force toward their position. With the enemy force between them and the construction site the two Marines and one AFP soldier had no choice but to move west of their position and continue with their E-E plan. JTF aerial assets were immediately dispatched to assist the scout team. The Scout team moved to the camp of ——- Co, –th IB AFP (2 Km away from the engagement site), at which time they were recovered by JTF HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.
The action of the scout team deterred a possible ambush of the construction site, protecting the lives of up to thirty Marines, Seabees, and Filipino personnel. ASG forces were moving between the scout team’s position and the active worksite. Throughout the voluminous close-in enemy fire, Corporal S——– mantained an unbelievable presence of mind and, to ensure the safety of his team, completely disregarded his own safety. The individual actions of both Corporal S——- and Corporal J——- throughout the fire-fight were heroic and reflected credit upon them and were keeping with the tradition of the Marine Corps and United States Naval Services.

Recommended Citation:

(WITH COMBAT DISTINGUISHING DEVICE)

CORPORAL ——— -. ————-
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

HEROIC ACHIEVEMENT WHILE SERVING AS SCOUT SNIPER, MARINE SECURITY ELEMENT, JOINT TASK FORCE —, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM-PHILIPPINES, III MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE, U.S. MARINE FORCES, PACIFIC, ON 17 JUNE 2002. WHILE CONDUCTING FORCE PROTECTION OPERATIONS ON BASILAN ISLAND, CORPORAL ——– DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF WITH VALOR AND A STRONG PRESENCE OF MIND WHILE UNDER FIRE FROM A SUPERIOR ENEMY FORCE. CORPORAL ——– AND THE OTHER MEMBERS OF A THREE-MAN SNIPER TEAM WERE MAKING THEIR WAY ALONG AN UNMARKED HILL TRAIL IN DENSE JUNGLE UNDERGROWTH WHEN THEY ENCOUNTERED A HEAVILY ARMED ABU SAYYAF GUERRILLA PATROL. IN RESPONSE TO AN INITIAL BURST OF AUTOMATIC GUNFIRE FROM THE ENEMY, CORPORAL ——— IMMEDIATELY RETURNED FIRE INTO THEIR LEAD ELEMENT. WHEN ENGAGED FROM AN ENEMY MACHINEGUN, HE PROVIDED COVERING FIRE WHILE HIS TEAM MANEUVERED THROUGH THE FIRE SWEPT SLOPE AND OUT OF ENEMY CONTACT. HIS DILIGENT EFFORTS CONTRIBUTED SIGNIFICANTLY TO THE SECURITY OF AMERICAN LIVES AND PROPERTY. CORPORAL ———‘S INITIATIVE, COURAGE, AND TOTAL DEDICATION TO DUTY REFLECTED CREDIT UPON HIM AND WERE IN KEEPING WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE MARINE CORPS AND THE UNITED STATES NAVAL SERVICE.

2 comments

1 ping

  1. AnP

    “all too often on my memory, or jot things down on old receipts, delivery menus, or pads that get misplaced”

    judging by the number of columns you write, you must have a pretty good memory!

  2. mlq3

    Not as good as I used to be, vut it’s my savibg gace so far!@

    m.

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