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With the 1st Marine Division in Iraq, 2003: No Greater Friend, No Worse Enemy


With the 1st Marine Division in Iraq, 2003: No Greater Friend, No Worse Enemy (Occasional Paper)

The Forward – With the 1st Marine Division in Iraq, 2003, is a unit history written by the participants in the same vein as its predecessors—The Old Breed—written at the end of World War II and— The New Breed—authored during Korea. It is a narrative describing the actions of Marines in combat during the liberation of Iraq. Portions of the story have been told by embedded journalists—but this full account is told by those who made it happen. The 1st Marine Division, in concert with the U.S. Army’s 3d Infantry Division, captured Baghdad and toppled Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. The division’s 28-day “march up” from Kuwait to Baghdad, a distance of 250 road miles, was a remarkable achievement. It represented a validation of the Corps’ maneuver warfare strategy, particularly the seamless integration of air into the ground scheme of maneuver and the Marine logistics command’s innovative support. “Blue Diamond,” the 1st Division’s Operation Iraqi Freedom nom de guerre, consisted of some 20,000 Marines and sailors and 8,000 vehicles organized into three regimental combat teams. Designed to be light and self-sufficient, the regiments “conducted the longest sequence of coordinated overland attacks in the history of the Corps,” according to Lieutenant General Wallace C. Gregson, then commander of Marine Forces Pacific. The authors of this account were somewhat more colloquial, preferring to state that it “focuses on the collective action of Marines who served as part of the ‘Blue Diamond.’ It is not a story of each of them, but the story of all of them.” Their story is an authentic documentation of the feel, concerns, triumphs and tragedy of the campaign in Iraq. From the Preface – In the final analysis, Saddam’s regime and its threat could not be defeated except by fighting it. Yet, in the history of war, the two U.S. divisions that carried the brunt of the fighting, the 3d Infantry Division and the 1st Marine Division are not impressive in numbers. History has seen much larger forces. But on the shoulders was placed the burden of liberating the Iraqi people, and planting the seeds of freedom in the Middle East. In the chaos, confusion, and uncertainty of an ever-shifting and always dangerous battlefield, the young men and women who faced this enemy distinguished themselves for their presence of mind, their steadfast commitment to each other, and their willingness to pay the price for our freedom and the freedom of the Iraqi people, a people they barely knew. The events chronicled here capture the story of the Marines of the “Blue Diamond” as they prepared for war, conquered and army, and liberated a nation. From across America and beyond, they chose the demanding path, to become Marines. These Marines marched in the ranks of this national treasure that we call the 1st Marine Division. And, at a time when timid souls or cynical pundits grew loudest, these men shouldered their weapons and moved without hesitation against the enemy. Our victory was not inevitable. It was the courage, unselfishness, and skill of the young men of Blue Diamond to whom we owe our victory. Unit histories such as this cannot capture what we will remember of those men we lost. The young smiling faces of these men will carry more inside us than our words can ever convey. For young as they were, they proved themselves to be the very best of warriors. We record history so that others may share our story. We record history so that others may learn from it. We record history to remind us of what happened on these battlefields when we grow old. Most of all, we record history as a monument to our men and their families’ sacrifice. We will always remember those we lost. Someday we will smile and laugh when we recall them amongst us, of how we were happy besides them, or even exasperated with them, but how we trusted them always with our dreams and with our very lives.

426 pages

Categories: All Books, Iraq


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