May 22, 2006

IF IT WERE, IMAGINE HOW HAPPY WE'D ALL BE?:

Iraq's Band of Brothers (and their mothers) (Michael Fumento, May 22, 2006, Enter Stage Right)

Since returning from my embed in the wild west Iraqi city of Ramadi at the end of April, I've gotten some wonderful e-mails from relatives of the troops. I'd like to share a few of them.

First some background. Despite the constant flow of news out of Baghdad, which to many reporters is where Iraq begins and ends, terrorist-infested Ramadi is probably block-for-block the meanest place in country. Asked where in the city I wanted to be embedded, I told the military "The redder, the better." ("Red" means hostile.) So they packed me off to Camp Corregidor with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division – the "Band of Brothers" made famous by author Stephen Ambrose and HBO.

Four minarets stand within sniping distance of the camp and the gentlemen in these erstwhile places of worship regularly shoot at the observation posts and often into the camp itself. Huge 122-millimeter mortars explode in Corregidor on average every other day. I photographed a crater where two men were blown up just before reaching shelter.

Because of the constant attacks, body armor is required whenever outside a protected building – something I've seen nowhere else in Iraq. I went on two day patrols and we were attacked in force both times. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) pop up like mushrooms.

One chilling statistic: Charlie Company arrived in January with 132 men. By late April it was down to about 100 from deaths, wounds and injuries.

I described and photographed these horrors for my blogs from the camp, which many family members read. I discovered from their letters that ignorance is not always bliss.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 22, 2006 3:27 PM
Comments

Thanks for the mention. I also had a cover story on my return visit to Fallujah in the Weekly Standard at: http://www.fumento.com/military/fallujah2006.html

and I just posted the photos from my trip at:
http://www.fumento.com/iraq06/slide.html

I was also IN an AP photo that ran today (middle guy). The purple smoke is because we were making a Prince music video....
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/22/AR2006052201510.html

Posted by: Michael Fumento at May 23, 2006 2:24 PM
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