06 April 2017

13 Years since We lost these 2/4 Warriors

Guest post by Sean Schickel of 2/4 Marines. Re-posted by permission from Facebook.

Words can't express the sacrifice these men made (most on April 6th 2004). We will not forget!

Lcpl Andrew S. Dang 3/22/2004
Lcpl William J. Wiscowiche 3/30/2004
Pfc Geoffery S. Morris 4/3/2004
2Lt John T. Wroblewski 4/6/2004
Ssgt Allan K. Walker 4/6/2004
Hm3 Fernando Mendez-Aceves 4/6/2004
Lcpl Benjamin R Carman 4/6/2004
Lcpl Marcus M. Cherry 4/6/2004
Lcpl Travis J. Layfield 4/6/2004
Lcpl Anthony P Roberts 4/6/2004
Pfc Christopher R. Cobb 4/6/2004
Lcpl Kyle D Crowley 4/6/2004
Pfc Ryan M. Jerabek 4/6/2004
Pfc Deryk L. Hallal 4/6/2004
Pfc Moises A. Langhorst 4/6/2004
Pfc Christopher D. Mabry 4/6/2004
Pfc Eric A. Ayon 4/9/2004
Lcpl John T. Sims 4/10/2004
Cpl Jeffery G. Green 5/3/2004
Cpl Dustin H. Schrage 5/3/2004
Lcpl Jeremiah E. Savage 5/12/2004
Lcpl Benjamin R. Gonzales 5/29/2004
Lcpl Rafael Reynosasuarez 5/29/2004
Pfc Cody S. Calavan 5/29/2004
Cpl Bum R. Lee 6/2/2004
Lcpl Todd J. Bolding 6/3/2004
Cpl Tommy L. Parker 6/21/2004
Lcpl Pedro Contreras 6/21/2004
Lcpl Juan Lopez 6/21/2004
Lcpl Deshon E. Otey 6/21/2004
Sgt Kenneth Conde Jr. 7/1/2004
Lcpl Jonathan W. Collins 8/8/2004
Lcpl Caleb J. Powers 8/17/2004
Lcpl Nick N. Aldrich 8/27/2004

The perfect storm of enemy being allowed to leave a cordon in Fallujah which led them directly to Ramadi, combined with the capture of a High Value Target early that morning was likely what set off the Battle for Ramadi April 6-10 2004. We took a lot of losses overall but this is the day we typically remember them as 13 Marines alone were lost on this day. During this time we typically drink a beer or two and give respect to the fallen. I will likely do that tonight.
I rarely talk about my experiences in Iraq because of what Marines have to become and do to make it home to their families just isn't normal talk. For some reason today I am not focused (yet) on those that we lost. I'm not sure why, but today I am very tuned-in to those enemy that we killed and the violence needed to do what we did. The reports of enemy KIA are somewhat conflicting during the battle 6-10 April. I know most say we killed around 300-400 but there are high level reports saying 800. All I know, is that there were dead enemy bodies lying all over the place because the morgues were full, and coffins that were stacked on top of each other lined the sides of the main street full of enemy dead. We did not discriminate in who was killed as long as they were an enemy combatant.
What really bothers me today probably more than anything is how our veterans are treated when they come home. It's just hard to be a normal person after you do what you have to do to get home. Many have severe PTSD and several have committed suicide. We have had a few commit crimes and have gone to prison. Many can't find a job or keep a family together. There's a lot of drug and alcohol abuse.. but they have all been basically left behind by a country that says it cares by saying things like "thank you for your service" and by giving discounts at Wal-Mart or wherever, but fails to correct the VA to provide the medical and mental health care that many vets need in order to adjust to life and its challenges. Frankly, it's not much better on active duty for those with PTSD. It's sickening actually. What's worse is that this isn't a new problem. This is story as old as since the day war first started. It's still happening to our Vietnam Vets. Are we as a country ever going to learn?