Wednesday, March 17, 2004


(Via Milinet)

First Marine Division Returns to Iraq

Letter to All Hands,

We are going back in to the brawl. We will be relieving the magnificent
Soldiers fighting under the 82nd Airborne Division, whose hard won
successes in the Sunni Triangle have opened opportunities for us to
exploit. For the last year, the 82nd Airborne has been operating against
the heart of the enemy's resistance. It's appropriate that we relieve
them: When it's time to move a piano, Marines don't pick up the piano
bench - we move the piano. So this is the right place for Marines in this
fight, where we can carry on the legacy of Chesty Puller in the Banana
Wars in the same sort of complex environment that he knew in his early
years. Shoulder to shoulder with our comrades in the Army, Coalition
Forces and maturing Iraqi Security Forces, we are going to destroy the
enemy with precise firepower while diminishing the conditions that create
adversarial relationships between us and the Iraqi people.

This is going to be hard, dangerous work. It is going to require patient,
persistent presence. Using our individual initiative, courage, moral
judgment and battle skills, we will build on the 82nd Airborne's
victories. Our country is counting on us even as our enemies watch and
calculate, hoping that America does not have warriors strong enough to
withstand discomfort and danger. You, my fine young men, are going to
prove the enemy wrong - dead wrong. You will demonstrate the same
uncompromising spirit that has always caused the enemy to fear America's

The enemy will try to manipulate you into hating all Iraqis. Do not allow
the enemy that victory. With strong discipline, solid faith, unwavering
alertness, and undiminished chivalry to the innocent, we will carry out
this mission. Remember, I have added, "First, do no harm" to our passwords
of "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy." Keep your honor clean as we gain
information about the enemy from the Iraqi people. Then, armed with that
information and working in conjunction with fledgling Iraqi Security
Forces, we will move precisely against the enemy elements and crush them
without harming the innocent.

This is our test-our Guadalcanal, our Chosin Reservoir, our Hue City.
Fight with a happy heart and keep faith in your comrades and your unit. We
must be under no illusions about the nature of the enemy and the dangers
that lie ahead. Stay alert, take it all in stride, remain sturdy, and
share your courage with each other and the world. You are going to write
history, my fine young Sailors and Marines, so write it well.

Semper Fidelis,

J.N. Mattis
Major General, U. S. Marines
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By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
Semper Fidelis
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