“Even before first light — U.S. Marines, soldiers and Iraqi National Guard troops swarmed into Falluja. Tanks and heavily armored Bradley Fighting used their main guns to blow up cars and buses parked down side streets — just in case they might be booby-trapped — packed with explosives…”
“This is a frigging ghost town,” says Corporal Steven Wolf, a squad leader for the vehicle the CAAT (Combined Anti Armor Team) Platoon. The streets are deserted. But there are some exceptions. The dead.
Kevin Sites Blog – Provides an graphic description of the fighting in the streets of Falluja. He also reports on heavy fighting and the fact that this initiative was not a cake walk by any stretch of the imagination.
Despite the constant weapons fire and explosion that have accompanied our advance — this one is different — it’s directed at the Marines. As a squad from India Company passes by a way with a spray painted rocket propelled grenade launcher — a real RPG round explodes against it. One Marines’ face is burned by the powder and hot gas — another has caught shrapnel in the leg, a third has been shot in the finger by the small arms fire that followed. The Marines are outraged.
…Almost to a man — the 3.1 Marines I’m embedded with have all lost friends in this protracted war of attrition. They are eager “to get some,” to pay “haji” back for the car bombs and IED’s”…
They turn their M-16’s on the building to the west where they believe the shooter is hiding. But that’s just an appetizer.
They are extremely likeable — these young Marines — full of bravado and easygoing about the danger that surrounds them. Some thumb through Maxim Magazine, others the Bible while the wait patiently to reign down death and destruction on their enemies. Almost to a man — the 3.1 Marines I’m embedded with have all lost friends in this protracted war of attrition. They are eager “to get some,” to pay “haji” back for the car bombs and IED’s (improvised explosive devices) that have killed or maimed so many of their brother “Devil Dogs.”
“The gun battle continues late into the night — eventually an AC-130 gunship is called in and strafes Elizabeth Street with its mini guns. With eight of their men wounded–it is a bloody and disappointing start for the Marines — and a reminder that to win the battle for Falluja — they will likely have to fight as they did today block by block, street by street.”
Kevin is an embedded reporter who has been blogging from within his assigned Marine unit. Stay safe Kevin, and thank you for the courage and the coverage. — zzb