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The Untold Stories Of Marine Special Ops 'Getting Some' Against ISIS
U.S. Marine Special Operators on the ground in Iraq and Syria in the coalition's anti-ISIS fight have been getting into plenty of direct combat going back to at least January 2016, according to award citations obtained by Task & Purpose.
Although President Barack Obama and Pentagon leaders often explained that the battle against ISIS was being waged "by and through" regional partners, with U.S. troops usually staying in the background safely behind the lines, documents from Marine Corps Special Operations Command show that "getting some" — in infantry parlance — wasn't just reserved for their partners.
I previously reported on three award citations for a Marine Special Operations team (also known as "Marine Raiders") that covered January 2016 to July 2016, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Now I can reveal another set of slightly-redacted awards, this time covering July 2016 to January 2017.
For actions during that period in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, a special ops element leader (typically a Staff Sgt. or above) and assistant element leader (typically a sergeant) received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Award (with combat distinguishing device) for their actions in fighting ISIS, which at times were firing at them with accurate machine-gun fire, recoilless rifles, and mortars.
For example, while working with the Peshmerga to isolate the then-ISIS held city of Mosul, the element leader's position came under heavy fire from 82mm mortars and recoilless rifles, his award citation said. Exposed to the fire and disregarding his own safety, however, he fired a total of 88 mortar rounds back at the enemy, resulting in 24 killed.
And during two operations with partner forces, his teammate exposed himself to "withering fire" and suppressed the enemy as they fired a "heavy volume of accurate" machine-gun fire toward his position. Later, during another large operation, the assistant element leader executed a successful mission with mortars to take out an ISIS sniper, all while he was being bracketed by their own guns.
The third citation is for a Navy Corpsman, who served in the same company as the two previously mentioned Marines, but on a different team, from July 2016 to January 2017, a spokesman for Marine SOC confirmed.
According to the citation, the special operations independent duty corpsman (a specialized and more rigorously-trained version of the Navy "Doc") came under heavy fire from concealed enemy positions roughly 500 meters away during an operation on Aug. 27, 2016. As his teammates sought cover behind vehicles, the doc threw smoke to obscure their position and grabbed a MK13 sniper rifle and suppressed the enemy positions "until all were silenced."
Then in Oct. 20, 2016, the corpsman "exposed himself" to withering enemy fire as he conducted remedial action on a vehicle-mounted machine gun so he could return fire during an ISIS counterattack.
Although Marine Corps Special Operations Command redacted the operators' names, ranks, and units, at least now we can peel back the onion on some of their stories. The full citations are below:
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.