...,1st Draft

Preface07 Dec

Preface

We set out to create a book with certain similarities and contrasts to two books — Stephen Ambrose, Band of Brothers; and David Morris, Storm on the Horizon.

Like Band of Brothers, we planned to follow one rifle company through multiple operations over a multi year period. Band of Brothers followed one rifle company from the 101st Airborne from training in July 1942 through the Normandy landings and multiple operations to the end of World War II in July 1945. Our book would follow one rifle company from the 1st Marine Division from training in the Fall of 2002 through the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 through multiple operations in 2007. But, Band of Brothers portrayed mainly one type of warfare — 2nd Generation, State v. State warfare, for which the initial training which the paratroopers received in 1942 was appropriate. By contrast, our book would portray four, 7-month deployments over which the type of of warfare itself changed — from 3d Generation, State v. State, Manuever warfare, for which the initial training which the Marines received in 2002 was appropriate; to 4th Generation, State v. Non-State, Idea-based warfare, for which the training which the Marines received between deployments adapted and became progressively more appropriate. Band of Brothers portrayed Easy Company as an organic, adaptive weapon system driven by the personalities of its strongest leaders, like Carwood Lipton, Dick Winters, and Ronald Speir. In the same way, Lima Company is an organic, adaptive weapon system driven by the personalities of its strongest leaders, like Peter Milinkovic, Kurt Bellmont, Jose Mejia, Dominique Neal, Brad Watson, and Rory Quinn.

Like Storm on the Horizon, we planned to detail certain tactical engagements and to try to draw broader, strategic and doctrinal lessons from those episodes. Storm on the Horizon details the battles which a Marine RECON platoon, a LIGHT ARMORED RECON company, and AIR NAVAL GUNFIRE LIAISON COMPANY (ANGLICO) detachments fought on the Saudi-Kuwait border just before Desert Storm. The book makes the case that these battles illustrated the effectiveness of new battlefield technologies which had never been as fully tested in combat like cluster bombs, air to ground precision missiles, and precision guided bombs, all coordinated by small teams of boots-on-the-ground, eyes-on RECON and ANGLICO Marines. Our book would detail battles fought by the same Marine Rifle Company, Lima 3/7, both in a 3d Generation War in March/ April 2003; and then in a 4th Generation War from May 2003 to 2007 and for the foreseeable future. Our book would make the case that the battles Lima fought from 2003 to 2007 illustrated the importance of new doctrines of 3d Generation and 4th Generation Warfare which had only been introduced into the Marine lexicon in October 1989.

We set out with certain biases that are contrary to the prevailing trends in the media. First, we were looking for evidence that the Marines used force in accordance with the rules of engagement (ROE), and that the ROE that the chain of command handed down was appropriate for the situation. Much media coverage has focused on the Haditha and other incidents where Marines may have violated the ROE. However, as former Marines, our experience is that most Marines are extremely disciplined and follow the ROE. Moreover, Marine leaders are not only informed but truly scholar-warriors who study their craft. Generally, we were looking for indications that the Marine chain of command reflected long years of professional training, education, and sound judgment.

Second, we were looking for evidence that the Marine Corps, writ large, went into Iraq in 2003 with the right training and doctrine — both for “Big Wars” and for “Small Wars.” Generally, we left the Marine Corps in the mid 1990s with a positive impression of the Corps’ approach towards training and education. Not only did the Lima Company of the mid-1990s conduct month-long combined arms training which would prepare the company for operations like “The March Up” in March 2003, but the Marine Corps also issued and discussed a little red book, The Small Wars Manual, which contained the essential elements of doctrine for Small Wars. It did not take years for Marine Infantry to begin using the Small Wars Manual after the Fall of Bagdahd. Rather, Marines started applying the institutional lessons learned in Small Wars operations almost right away.

Finally, we were looking for the best Marines — the Marines who stayed with Lima Company and 3/7 from beginning to end. Kurt Bellmont and Jose Mejia served with Lima Company from its training for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002 through four deployments, up to and including its last deployment in Ramadi in 2007. Gunner Carpenter served with 3/7 for two deployments in Lima Company in 2002 – 2004, then with Weapons Company, 3/7 in 2005-2006, and with the 3/7 Battalion staff as the Battalion “Gunner” or Weapons Expert in 2007. There are hundreds of other Marines we will encounter as we tell the story of this Rifle Company. But, these humble men, who shun attention, endured far beyond what even most average Marines endured during four 7-month tours in Kuwait and Iraq.

The title for the book — “From Desert Mech to Ramadi SWAT” — was coined by Capt Bradley Watson, who served as a platoon commander during its deployments in Husaybah in 2004 and company executive officer with Lima Company in Ramadi during 2005-06. An earlier generation of Marines was lead by Marines like Lewis Puller and Merritt Edson who had served from Nicaraguan jungles to Tarawa jungles — from Small Wars to Big Wars in the space of 15 years. This remarkable generation of Marines served in operational environments from Big Wars to Small Wars — from Desert Mech to Ramadi SWAT — in the space of less than 4 years. Dozens of Marines served with Lima Company for 3 tours, and hundreds served with the company for 2 tours. Their service was characterized not just by competence in one type of operation, but rather in flexibility across the spectrum of conflict. As Staff Sergeant Peter Milinkovic put it in describing a night infiltration where an entire platoon infiltrated and surprised an insurgent mortar team in Summer 2004, “Everyone thinks Marine Infantry is big and clunky, but Marine infantry is really a jack of all trades.”

The subtitle of our book — “The Transformation of Marine Rifle Company Lima 3/7 from 3d to 4th Generation Warfare” — is intended to challenge the normal use of the term, transformation, in the defense community. The normal use of “transformation” over the last 20 years has been in association with some advance in technology which is transformational. Our focus, instead, is on the inherent flexibility of well-trained infantry units. Also, ”3d and 4th Generation Warfare” are not accepted Department of Defense terminology. Manuever Warfare is the accepted doctrine of the Marine Corps. Some marginalized theorists classify manuever warfare under 3d Generation Warfare, and they outline a 4th Generation. In their Small Wars experience in Iraq, Lima Company — along with dozens of other Marine Rifle Companies — ran straight into the 4th Generation of warfare envisioned by theorists. Our goal in writing this book is also to contribute to the literature on this evolving and important topic in military affairs.

[Word count: 1160]

2 Responses to “Preface”

  1. Wayne Bier

    Wow, I’ve been waiting for such a clean and coherent account, the scope of which is no less than I would expect from Marine scholars.

    I am Wayne Bier, I never served but my sons both joined the Marines. (Cpl Joe Bier 3/7 Lima kia 12-7-2005 in Ramadi).

    Of the many snapshot accounts I’ve heard from various friends and commanders I have learned from some little, and from others, much. I am anxious to see and learn more. I have spent a few hours with Rory Quinn and see his gift of relating events will be utilized here. Oorah.

  2. Administrator

    Wayne,
    Thanks for your comment. I have changed the website format so it is more functional. I am getting organized for a second draft of this book.
    Respectfully, Janar Wasito

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This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.

About

This is a website for writing a book about Lima Company, 3/7, during 4 deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2007.