Sunday, June 05, 2005

One Marine's introspection

(c) Roger Leo

"The interesting thing is - well, a lot of us grew up with the shade of Vietnam hanging over our parents' heads right? ... We joined the military because we WANT to go and fight and see if we are as worthy under fire as the previous generation. It's part of our mentality and culture. The average Marine here really could care less about global politics - he wants to know what he'll do when the bullets hit. The rest of the stuff floating around his head about patriotism and duty - it's not as solidified an ideal as the rest of it."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dispatch from Afghanistan

(c) Roger Leo

Two Marines were killed in the Alishang Valley on Mother's Day. Their unit engaged several armed groups working for local drug lords affiliated with terrorist groups in a three-hour firefight and 10-hour withdrawal over 20 kilometers of mountainous terrain. More than 23 enemy were killed over the 13 hours the Marines were in contact. Lying in his firing position on a ridge at about 4,500 feet in the Alishang Valley as night fell, one Marine asked, "Have people back home forgotten us? It feels like it." No, people at home had not forgotten -- but sometimes it seems Iraq pushes Afghanistan out of our minds. Our boys are still here.

Bedding down

(c) Roger Leo

From left, Lance Cpl. Eric J. Darby, 20, of Lafayette, La.; Lance Cpl. Gino J. LaRocca, 21, of Sayreville, N.J.; and Lance Cpl. Matthew T. Kallback, 21, of Pompton Plains, N.J. -- the 60mm Mortar Section of 2nd Platoon, 3-3 Marines -- get ready to bed down for the night at a patrol base high in the Alishang Valley of Afghanistan.