Valuable first-hand info

I want to thank the 3/2 vets have been corresponding with me on Facebook. You’ve been providing valuable insights and first-hand info.  Several of my questions have been answered, and other issues have been clarified.  In the case of 3/2’s history, there are many subjects where eye witness accounts are the only possible source.  So it’s pretty cool to be able to chat and talk with these guys.

Here are some of the things they’ve helped me learn over the past few days…

Regarding the attack on Gannon, despite the several written accounts and the famous YouTube video, it’s been hard for me to understand just how the attack unfolded.  But thanks to Aaron Cook, an India Co. Marine who was there that day, now I have this Google map, showing the route the three SVBIEDs took, and where they detonated. That’s a big help, as I work on a detailed page, or series of pages, on the 11 April complex attack.  BTW, if anyone wants to clarify this further, let me know.

Update (18feb17): I now have a draft chapter/section on the Gannon Attack, incorporating a lot of input from India Co. Marines who were there.  That includes a more accurate map. See this link

Update (19jan17): Thanks to a couple of other sources, I now have a much more detailed understanding of where the VBIDs hit, and what else happened.  I’ll be posting that soon.

Camp Gannon perimeter in green.  Two entry control points (ECPs) as red circles. Little yellow bursts show estimated locations of the truck bomb detonations.  Red arrows show path of the three truck bombs.  Syrian border (with berm) is directly north of Camp Gannon.  City of Husaybah is in lower right/southwest corner. (used with permission)
Click to enlarge…

Jeff Maniscalco, from Kilo, 3rd Platoon, gave me two good bits of info. First, he confirmed that “Quell the storm… Ride the Thunder” was in fact the BN motto under LtCol Mundy in 2005.  I’ve been trying to nail that down.  He even shared this photo, of a carrying handle on his custom-built AR-15.

And second, Jeff helped me narrow down the location of the 3/25 AAV that was tragically hit and destroyed by triple-stacked mines on 11 May 2005, during Operation Matador.

Click to enlarge…

I have been trying to figure out that location by correlating photos and video, and written descriptions.  A while back I came up with an educated guess.  But it was good to get a semi-confirmation from someone who was onsite.  He was pretty sure I’d pegged the location accurately.

Another Kilo Marine, Ian Norris, gave me good feedback on a previous blog post about a grunt-level video of Operation Spear.  I wasn’t sure what the platoon/squad was.  Was thinking it was either 3/2 Kilo, or maybe Marines from the 3/25 that came up from Haditha to support the operation.

What I found out was that 3/2’s Lima Co (which I thought was stuck at Al-Asad pulling base security for the whole deployment) sent some elements to be in Operation Spear. Ian knows the guys at the start of the video.  So, I learned a new dimension there.  Will try to connect with those guys and find out more about what 3/2 Lima did.

Anyway, there are already dozens of other examples where first-hand accounts from 3/2 Marines have really deepened my understanding.  I don’t think I could really tell the story without these guys sharing their experiences and insights.


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