To the Families and Friends of Task Force Wolfpack:
As always, I hope this note finds you all in good spirits and health.
I must keep this note to the point and brief. I am at a camp just west of the city of Ramadi with a little over half of Headquarters and Service Company and Company C. We also have a unit from one of our fellow infantry battalions under our tactical control. I expect we will stay here through the elections on 30 January 2005. Ramadi is the capital of the Al Anbar Province, so it is critical we keep the security situation stable for the elections. The city of Ramadi is a dangerous place, but it is not at all like Fallujah was before it was taken back in November. We are primarily operating in the rural areas outside of the city. The living conditions aboard this camp are the best we’ve had in Iraq from the excellent billeting to the great chow hall to the Post Exchange.
Speaking of Fallujah, the Battalion performed superbly in accomplishing our mission of isolating the city from the west on the peninsula. We went in a day before the major assault began to secure the bridges across the Euphrates and the main hospital. We had casualties, to include one Marine killed in action. The enemy was a bit more persistent in attacking us once they figured out we were there to stay. We turned the enemy’s persistence on him, however, and killed quite a few when he tried to take us on. The Marines’, Sailors’, and soldiers’ (yes, we had some Army units under our control) morale has never been higher than after this fight. We came off of the peninsula on Thanksgiving Day and enjoyed a fine meal in the chow hall after 18 days in the field. We also mourned our loss at a very heartfelt memorial service. A bunch of mail was waiting for us, as was a small ration of beer and rum courtesy of the Commanding General of the I Marine Expeditionary Force and Budweiser. There was no drinking age observed.
The remainder of Headquarters and Service Company, and Company A are still at Korean Village essentially continuing our former mission out there, but at a higher tempo since the rest of us are not there. The artillery battery that worked for us at the border crossing points recently had two of their Marines killed, and our hearts and prayers are with them. Company D is also still in the west working for one of our fellow infantry battalions near the city of Hit (pronounced “Heat”). The Commanding General’s Jump Command Post crew is still doing what it does. They are right across the river from us near Ramadi.
Except for handful of our folks, the mailing addresses have not changed. However, since we’ve been moving around a bit, the mail catches up to us in big batches. Since I expect to be here in Ramadi for a bit, mail should be more consistent.
. . .
As I write this note, I have seen or heard nothing to indicate that the
Battalion will be extended here in Iraq. . . .
Once back, we will have a 96-hour pass, and then wait a week or two before sending everyone out on leave. I encourage all the families to come see their warrior return home. Be advised, however, that flight schedules are notoriously flexible, so when the time comes for us to fly, you may only get a three-day window for our exact return. We will have a system to publish the time changes as they become known.
This Nation is in a global war and deployments can always be modified to meet wartime requirements.
For anyone interested in reading about what combat veterans face upon
returning home, I highly recommend the book Odysseus in America, by
Jonathan Shay, M.D., PH.D. While the book is based on Dr. Shay’s work with Vietnam veterans with acute psychological combat trauma injuries, it offers a timeless view on combat veterans and their emotions as they return to the civilized world.
Have a Happy Holiday season and prosperous New Year. God Bless the soul and family of Lance Corporal Justin D. Reppuhn, Marine, killed in action against the enemy on the night of 10-11 November 2004, west of Fallujah. A son of Michigan, his father’s boy and mother’s baby, he shall be missed by all. His name is forever woven into the Battalion’s Battle Colors and legacy.
Lieutenant Colonel, Marines