By U.S. Marine Sgt Smith
(Picture of Sgt Smith on a mission)
Some information for everybody about myself. I write here (on Pat Dollards website) as SGT SMITH, talk in the chat room during the BTR Jihadikiller hour shows as Smitty. I’ve made a couple appearances on the show calling in. This is to let you know who I am, a little bit of what I’ve done; and why I choose to do what I do.
When I was a Junior in high school, I watched as our country came under attack from cowards. I remember that day as everybody does. My deciding point for joining the military came later that day. My father is a firefighter and that evening, there was a memorial service for all of those emergency responders who had lost their lives earlier that day. I sat in a pew next to my mother as I watched the line of firefighters; who I had grown up with being my big brothers, walk down the aisle with their black mourning bands on their badges. I watched as every one of them lost their composure and started to cry. It was at that exact moment that I was young enough to do something, and that I needed to. October of 2002 I found myself at MEPS in Kansas City volunteering for the Marine Corps.
(My family and I)
I graduated high school in May of 2003 and a little over a month later I was on my way to boot camp, turning 18 only a week earlier. Through 13 weeks of torment and stress I finally earned the title of United States Marine. When I was home on leave I never thought that I would go to Iraq, due to all major operations in Iraq being done. One December 12, 2003 I joined my first fleet unit, 3/7 in 29 Palms, Ca; and learned that I in fact would be making that trip. On Valentine’s Day 2004, I boarded a bus to take me to Iraq. Before my 19th birthday had been baptized by fire, earning my Combat Action Ribbon. Along the way I lost many of my friends, to include Brandon Clinton Smith, my rack-mate through boot camp and best friend in the fleet. After seven months of the “Wild Wild West” in Al Qaim, Iraq, I flew home into the arms of my crying mother.
(Picture of me in Al Qaim after I was told my hair was eccentric, so I fixed it by making it blend in better)
The time between my first and second deployments, I had a very hard time re-adapting trying to find answers to questions that can’t be found in the bottom of bottles. This eventually led to my arrest at Lake Havasu, AZ with initial charges of nine felonies and seven misdemeanors. I had tried to be above the law, under the influence and underage. That never works out well. Thanks to a mishap on the police’s side and my service, I was given a plea bargain. Being convicted of only two misdemeanors with a hefty fine and some other requirements I was sent back to my unit. There I received an NJP, losing my rank of Lance Corporal and was put on restriction. We started our next work-up for another deployment to Iraq. This time I would find myself in Ramadi.
(At Fontana in between deployments)
Ramadi was something out of a movie. War-torn buildings, gunfire every night, not ever knowing what was going to happen next. One night about a month into the deployment, my platoon and I were setting into an ambush position, jumping from one rooftop to the next, when I landed wrong. Pain shot up and down my leg, I wanted to scream but could only whisper to keep our position covert. I was eventually medevac’d to a higher echelon of care where it was determined that I had sheered off a piece of my ankle, cracked my ankle, and had a stress fracture up my shin. I was told that I wouldn’t be off crutches for 6-8 weeks with 4-6 weeks of physical therapy following that. Two weeks later, I lost yet another friend, Jonathan Ross Spears. J.R. was killed by an enemy sniper on a rooftop when he exposed his self to tell one of his Marines to get down. At that point I knew that I would be out on the streets very soon. A week and a half later I participated in Operation Machete, an 18 hour foot mobile cache sweep, one of the largest finds in Ramadi history. I was eventually returned to my old platoon India-4 who were attached to Kilo company operating out and around the government center. Daily gun battles to keep the political strong point safe were nothing out of the normal. We operated non-stop, only a few days a month being spent in the rear in order to wash our balls and cammies. Before another one of our large operations, we sat in the briefing room and were told that we would have the “Hollywood movie producer” attached to our platoon. Thinking the worse, that we had some liberal retard attached tried to get skewed views of the war, nobody was very inviting to Pat. Eventually we started asking him questions and got to know exactly what he was doing. After Pat hanging out of doorways to get demo breaches on film and being out there with us never bitching or being a hassle, he became one of the guys. December 10-12 of 2005 the platoon and Pat was at our newest and most tested OP’s in Ramadi. Pat had came and talked to me right at dusk of the 10th. Pat needed a cigarette so he went downstairs. As soon as he turned off his camera, an RPG slammed into the bottom of my post. Happening during the perfect 5 minutes when it’s too bright to see with NVG’s but too dark to see with the naked eye, as Pat ran up trying to find out what happened I was launching illum rounds out of my 203 to try to find the f***-head that just tried to wax my ass. The next day Pat once again visited my post talking about how crazy the shit from the day prior had been. Then, Pat had to shit. He went down to the wag-bag shitters and popped a squat as mortars dropped all around us. Once, a coincidence, twice- shit starts to get real. Pat came up on the third and final day of us being at the OP, talking shit about how he missed great footage and what-not. Pat left to go talk with somebody else, as a sniper shot punched through my post. I was peppered with small splinters of wood in my upper thighs, a small piece of metal below my nose and another in my left shoulder. The deployment continued on as did the gun battles. Our platoon set oil tankers on fire with our bullets, and killed any insurgent retarded enough to test us. Something more important than all of that is we started to show the people of Ramadi, that Americans truly were there to help, driving a wedge between the civilians and insurgents. Holding elections that finally had voters, and being discriminate and prejudice killers, taking out the bad guys next to civilians, not harming the civilians, as much as possible. The deployment came to an end and we made our way back home again.
(J.R. Spears a few days before the city behind him would take his life)
(Me and some of the guys from India-4)
At this point it was a very critical time in my life with some big issues ahead of me. Do I get out and go to college? Fuck no, I’d wind up killing some liberal fuck-tard professor. Do I get out and be a contractor? The money’s good, get all kinds of high speed gear, good training. Do I stay in? I love the bond between Marines, being a leader. Training Marines and watching them become men, unafraid and courageous. About halfway through my debate, I received a phone call from Troy, one of my best friends since being young kids running around causing all kinds of troubles; his twin who also happened to be my other best friend had been hurt. Trey was a reservist mortarman, on his second deployment. Trey’s vehicle was struck by an IED and he had 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 20% of his body and his lower arm was connected to his upper arm by a quarter-inch piece of skin. They couldn’t stabilize him in Iraq due to his burns and needed to get him to Germany, but the flight would kill him. Trey was stabilized and shipped to Germany but not before I had put my re-enlistment package together, getting me to a unit deploying soon and on the east coast. Trey is currently medically retired out of the Marine Corps and a successful manager for a nationwide store. They were able to save his arm, and he wears a brace to help his prosthetic elbow.
(Troy and Trey)
On December 13th 2006, I checked in with 2d Marine Division Anti-Terrorism Battalion. I would be deploying to Diayla Province. I was looking for a fresh start, without the “Havasu Smith” incident shadowing over me, and that is exactly what I got. Three months into this new unit I was put on a meritorious Corporal board and won. I deployed to Ashraf in April, providing security for the PMOI or MEK, you can look them up on the Department of State website. During this deployment, enemy was all around us but due to being under an Army command, they deemed us going and doing our jobs, killing bad guys and protecting the innocent; and I quote “Too Dangerous”. I no bullshit – laughed out loud when I was first told because I thought it was a joke. The only way to win hearts and minds I decided was to treat people who came into the ECP. The Army was against this because it wasn’t an American job to treat Iraqi’s. I personally treated and never lost under my care 13 life-threatening casualties. Everything from gunshot wounds to the head, to serious burns. I set up an SOP for the base to treat mass-casualties after a bad day for innocent Iraqi’s caught in a crossfire. During that deployment, my platoon was only in one fire fight, and the company was only in a handful total. Even with so little going on, it all came at a price. Our company lost two Marines to an IED, and had more than a dozen wounded. We were back stateside another seven months later, November of 2007.
(An Iraqi and I)
(Betancourt and I)
After coming back, our unit had transformed for ATBN to 2d Battalion 9th Marines, Hell in a Helmet. I fell into “Echo” company. In February I was sent to a formal school “Corporal’s Course” and graduated with the Gung Ho (motivator award) award, class First Sergeant (in charge of the students in absence of instructors), and the fourth highest GPA in the class, I didn’t get third by only .02%. After coming back we went to VA for a month long training evolution. When we returned, I was nominated for a meritorious sergeant board. I won that board as well and was promoted to Sergeant in May of 2008. Throughout this span, I realized that deployments had taken their toll on me, that I might need some help dealing with things that I didn’t know how to. Rather than drinking to not think, or acting out; I talked it out and it seemed to help.
I am currently deployed once again, we left CONUS 22Sept2008. My battalion’s AO is massive. My platoon’s AO is 1/3 of the battalion’s. We still piss in tubes and use burn shitters. Life is good though. I am down here with my section of Marines, running missions. All though there isn’t any kinetic warfare going on here, the non-kinetics are almost harder to deal with. Being an adviser to political figures within towns, training supervisors for police stations, and trying to root out corruption and insurgents is a thinking man’s game. Don’t get me wrong, combat patrols are some of the most taxing events somebody could experience, but this is difficult. I think because I never thought I would do something like this, that I would always be “hunting muj” and what-not. It’s a tough transition to make, but one that means so much. All of my buddies that have given their lives, even those who I never knew; did it for a reason. I never once in a firefight, debated on the reasons of our presence in Iraq. I never thought “Well this will surely drop gas prices”. I never did it for Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Democrats or anybody but the people beside me. I didn’t reenlist because I thought that I would somehow fix our country’s problems. I did it because the country needs people to fight for it. I did it because I will not, ever, let those who have gone before me be forgotten or go in vain. I started out being a Marine for the challenge, to be the best of the best. I do it now because I love it, every second, every cold morning wake up, not getting enough chow or cold water. I love to watch Marines mature and bond. I do this so my nieces and nephew, and my future children will never have to know who Saddam Hussein was other than what they learn about him in school.
(Abigail, Ethan, and I)
(My platoon commander and I) me with long ass hair and clear lenses