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May 02, 2005
One day in Fallujah.
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, War on Terror

I have had a few emails and other written requests for an account of what went down inside Fallujah. Below is one day, my last, of fighting insurgents. I haven't held anything back.

After fighting in the city for a little over a week, it was again that time of day to start the push forward into uncharted territory. Every day so far had been a fight for every house, block by block. Every house in the city has a large front metal gate that is locked from the inside. There is no quite way to breach the gates so the enemy inside is fully aware of our movement and is ready to fire the second we come in. Once inside the front gates there is a small yard with an outhouse - always an insurgent in the outhouse. First things first: put two rounds through the outhouse door. Next we move to the house itself, there are always two doors to choose from, one leads to the kitchen the other into a large sitting room. I prefer the kitchen entry better, not as many places for the insurgents to hide. Also we have a present we can give the insurgents that can be made in the kitchen. It's called, the house guest. We take the propane tanks from under the stove and mount a half block of C-4 to the spout and throw it down the halway, then evacuate the house.

Thats right, put the ladies and children to bed, we're in this for keeps. You never know how precious your life is untill you have to willingly give it. The number one rule in the city is never expose soft flesh to the enemy when you don't have to. What would be the point of throwing Marines into a house with known insurgents inside? Instead bring in the M1 Abrams main gun or better yet a D-9 armored bulldozer and level the house - insurgents and all. We use attack helicopters and artillery to prep the city blocks we are getting ready to move into. There are NO civilians inside the city limits. All have fled to the outskirting cities for refuge.

Moving to the next house, same routine. Gates go down we pile into the yard, shoot the outhouse and immediately get massive fire coming from the sitting room windows. Shoot and move...get the hell away from the bullets...find cover! Nothing! No cover in the yard, we are pushed back outside the gates and use the wall as refuge. All is not lost though, we have a foothold to work from. Its time to go to work, we start preparing the courtyard with grenades. It is answered by gunfire from the house. A round comes through the fence and strikes a Marine, he goes down falling into the line of fire! The first man behind him fearlessly runs into the open - shooting into the building trying to make it to the fallen Marine. He to falls into the dirt motionless, only he is dressed differently from the surrounding Marines, he is a local, part of the Iraqi Special Forces. And you read it right, he gave his life for a Marine. As a matter of fact the covering fire he set down gave others time to rescue the downed Marine. It actually took me a second to get over the fact that the ISF soldier had done what he did, no fear.

Grenade after grenade go into the house - everytime they are answered with AK-47 fire. These guys refuse to die. New plan, move to higher ground and snipe them. After the three are dead we clear the house and find needles every were. Then we find the adrenaline ampule that they were using to load the needles with. Enough of this stuff and you're almost indestructable.

In the last room of the house my heart stops completely and I can feel death looking right at my soul and I know I'm as good as dead. The walls of the room are lined with 155mm artillary shells, hundreds of them, and I felt the trip wire break as I kicked the door open. But I'm not dead and time marches on. My first thought after I realized I wasn't vaporized was, "I wonder what idiot wired this room up, what a putz." Then slowly I backed out of the house and we all evacuated back to were we started that morning so the house could be control detonated. The bad thing about going back is that now we have to reclear all the houses we just cleared.

We come into a house that all the windows have been taped up, so its dark. We break into smaller teams so we can flood the house. I hear one of my younger guys screaming jibberish. My partner and I run to his aid and find he has two insurgents cornered in the same room he is in and everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs. Insurgent number one meets the butt of my rifle with his face while my partner pins him to the floor. Insurgent number two has a flashlight two inches from his face, attached to the flash light is a loaded M-16. Both were cuffed and dragged outside to await pick up. Inside the house was a small weapons cache. My young Marine was lucky he was in between the insurgents and their weapons. The two can be seen along with myself and the young Marine running down the street on the Heroes of India Company video.

Two houses down India Company takes more casualties, this is Smith and Polock. Polock is shot all over and it's bad. He has to go right away. Smith is fading fast and doesn't make it out. I can't explain the coldness that took hold of my heart, I made sure I was the number one man into the next house. Retribution will be mine.

I kicked the kitchen door open and rushed into the house. The kitchen was empty so I moved to the next room, noting that the house smelled of dead something aweful. First room I kicked the door in and rushed in. I was face to face with a man at least six foot three, and like everyone else he's screaming at the top of his lungs, but I can understand him, its english. He claims to be a doctor. And as I look around the room I know he is not lying. There has to be at least twenty severly injured insurgents layed up in the room. Now I'm outnumbered and nervous. So I tell the doc the first man that moves dies. And I start screaming for reinforcements.

All the insurgent wounded are loaded into the back of military trucks and carted away. As soon as the last truck pulls around the corner the house across the street opens fire on us. No less than ten insurgents are firing down on us from the roof top. We run into the house we cleared and pulled the injured out of and headed for the roof so we could fight on the same level. As I come out on to the second story deck I shot the first insurgent moving across the other roof through his right eye and he goes down. Then I start to lay down covering fire so the rest of the team can make it into a cover postion on top of the roof. Then they start firing at "targets of opportunity" on the rooftop across from us. As we engage the rooftop an assault element moves to the bottom of the house so they can clear up. They take a casualty and are shortly halted. Right about this time the taller three story house to the left of us, that hasn't been cleared yet, opens fire on the rooftop we are on. We have just become pinned down. Fire from across the street picks up and now grenades are landing on the rooftop we are pinned on. My partner starts to supress the house to our left and I - using my 4 power scope - start picking off targets on the roof of the house across the street when I see that one of the guys still running and fighting is the first guy I shot. He is missing the right side of his head, but still throwing grenades at the Marines below. Something needs to happen fast or we will start to stack casualties. The India Company executive officer has made his way to the rooftop and makes the plan of attack to get us the hell out off the roof. It goes a little something like this.

1. Send a team with a nasty rocket across the street.   

2. Fire the rocket into the building to our left. 

3. Myself and my partner will then run across the roof and climb to the third story of the building the insurgents are in. 

4. After the two of us secure the roof the rest of the Marines on the original roof will spill over and take the house.

So the rocket rips through the air, slamming right on target into the house. My partner and I run across the roof and climb up to the third story - throw a grenade and secure the roof. The first marine comes over the second story wall, it's time to take the house down. Only I hear AK fire and then screams from the roof. I look over and see Shane on the ground screaming, he is trapped. The amount of gunfire from inside the house picks up and I yell to my partner that I'm going down to get Shane. One way down: jump. Gear and all I must weigh over 200lbs, body weight of 165. So no matrix moves. I sit down on my ass to slide off and right as I go I feel my right leg go numb from the hip down. Then the left leg feels like some one smashed it with a 30lb hammer. And then it hits me, so this is what it feels like to be shot. But it isn't slowing down - I take another round into each calf. This guy is going to kill me, I have to get away from him and there is only one option, fall. Fall to the lower roof of the building next to me. Before I can shove off another ournd rips into my left foot. Push off!! I start to fall and the wind gets knocked out of me, then it feels like a donkey has kicked me in the groin. I land on a pile of bricks and dislocate my right shoulder.

Now people that have met me or read the story published in the Marine Corps times will ask what was the first thought you had, was it of death? Or maybe your wife? Parents, family, what? The first thing I thought was he is going to follow me over the edge and finish the job. I picked up my rifle, which was also damaged by rounds, and pointed it up to the top of the wall while my youngest marine placed the tourniquets around my legs to stop the bleeding. Blood is everywere. I don't know if the rounds that hit my left lower torso went through the vest or not, as well as the rounds into my groin. To be continued...

Thank you for taking the time to read a day in the life of Fallujah. If the spelling or grammar is wrong it is because once I start I don't stop to fix anything and my fingers often slip on the small keyboard.



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TrackPulled on May 3, 2005 11:15:43 PM

People Pulling

God Bless...

Semper Fi


VFW post 9949

Posted by: Ben Bauman at May 4, 2005 7:17:02 AM

You ARE a superman!

God Bless you and the USA.

Semper Fi and Gung Ho.

Blood
Retired US Veteran

Posted by: Blood at May 4, 2005 11:12:41 AM

James,

I don't know how you do it. No clear lines of demarcation, no recognizable uniforms and a bunch of anti American Reporters waiting for one video moment they can use to destroy a good Marine/Soldier and get their pulitzer. You have to be well trained and disciplined to work in that environment. And you are! This country is lucky to have you and your comrades doing this vital work for us. Thank You, Sir!

Posted by: Ron LaCanne at May 4, 2005 6:52:04 PM

Hey Doc Pell-
Quit scaring people with all these war stories. Fallujah wasn't that bad! (Just kidding, man.)

To all those who have read this: This story was told just as it happened. No exaggerations.

I was attached to India Co. for the whole operation. I pulled Smith into the ambulance while we were still taking fire. These stories are completely true, and corpsman like Doc Pell are an invaluable asset to the Marine Corps. Semper Fi.

Michael - thank you sir for your incredible service to this country as well. I know James will appreciate reading your kind words also.

Posted by: Cpl. Michael Mahoney at May 17, 2005 1:07:35 PM

From a marine mom with a son buiding sandcastles again; thank you for sharing and thank you for serving. My son was with Alpha in Fallujah and has lots of stories, some I get to hear and some will never be told.
So, again..thank you from this grateful mom..to each and every one that has ever served! I appreciate my freedom! Beth, Comanche Oklahoma

Posted by: Beth Harper at Aug 1, 2005 9:31:08 PM

Hey Pell, Mahoney,
I remember you guys, I was an amtracker attached to India, great story bro. definetly how it happened except you forgot to mention the AMTRACKS and how we opened most of the doors for you guys and prepped the windows and doors with our 40 and 50's Daaahhhhhh, I still get a hard on thinking about doing that shit man. . .that was a crazy 7 months huh?

Posted by: huffstutler at Aug 3, 2005 8:52:47 PM

Great to see old friends finding their way to this great website. Tons of props to the trackers. All truth be told we would have sustained many more casualties if the buildings had not been prepped by you guys. I owe you one myself. The medivac ambulance was gone with casualties when myself and Shane were shot. An amtrack was a block away and came to take us out. I wouldn't have lived if I would have had to wait for the medivac to return. Let others know about this website. This is a place to come and share stories with the rest of the curious public. This is were the can get the truth the media doesn't destroy. Thank you again.

Posted by: HM2 Pell at Aug 4, 2005 7:36:09 PM

Thanks for everything guys - you are the heroes. The country is counting on you to keep us safe and I know you will. I hope our leftist "elitists" in politics and the media haven't undercut morale, it hasn't been for lack of trying. I have 2 daughters and they are told how you'all are the protectors of our liberties, not some pinko/leftist judge who's never worked an honest day in their life. Thanks again !

Posted by: John at Aug 8, 2005 4:45:03 AM

UH--UH GUYS- REALLY- I LOVE WHAT YOU ARE DOING HERE- ALL TRUTHS MUST BE TOLD IF THE WORLD IS TO SURVIVE- IT SHOUD BE REQUIRED READING FOR ALL SENIOR OFFICERS/UPPER LEVEL GOV'T OFFICIALS- HOWEVER- I GOT TO TELL YOU WHAT PERSONAL INVOLVMENT WILL DO TO EVEN MORE ENHANCE A MORE PERSONAL CARE FOR WHAT HAPPENS IN THE REAL WORLD- MY SON HAS BEEN IN FALLUJAH ABOUT ONE WEEK- OH YEAH I CARE I REALLY CARE- EACH OF THE PREVIOUS CLASS OF OFFICIALS SHOULD HAVE TO ADOPT/IF THEY DONT'T HAVE THERE OWN FAMILY IN HARMS WAY/A REAL LIVING MARINE/SOLDIER/SAILOR WHO IS GOING INTO A COMBAT AREA- OH YEAH- CONFRONT TERRIBLE SHIT HEAD ON MIGHT CHANGE MANY POLICIES- TERRIBLE THINGS HAPPEN IN WAR- YOU GUYS OBVIOUSLY DO TERRIBLE THINGS QUITE WELL- THANK GOD- SORRY YOU HAVE TO- I PERSONALLY BELIEVE IF EVERY DECISION MAKE HAD A LOVED ONE IN HARMS WAY- MOST OF WHAT YOU GUYS ARE DOING WOULD CHANGE OR STOP IMMEDIATLEY- OH THAT MEANS TOWNS WOULD SIMPLY BE FLATTENED WAY BEFORE YOU ALL GO IN- SORRY BUT THIS IS WAR-BUT IN WAR BAD SHIT HAPPENS- IF YOU DON'T LEAVE WHEN TOLD- EVEN THAT IS JUST STUPID IN THEN END BUT I GUESS YOU NEED TO GIVE THE CIVILLIANS SOME CHANCE OF ESCAPE- IF YOU DON'T LEAVE WELL WAR IS BAD- SORRY BUT OUR CAPABILITIES ARE SUCH AND EVERYBODY KNOWS WE CAN DO THIS- I SAY - COMPLETE DECIMATION FROM ABOVE- CONVENTIONAL ONLY MIND YOU- BUT JUST MASSIVE- THE REAL SHOCK AND AWE- THEN SINCE THE WHOLE POINT OF WAR- KILL THEM- WE THEN SEND OUR MARINES/SOLDIERS/SAILORS INTO TO SEARCH FOR SURVIVORS- HELL WE CAN REBUILDING ANYTHING- PROMOTES THE ECONOMY HERE AND THERE WORLDWIDE.SO I SALUTE YOU GUYS- MY HEROS- FOR DOING IT THIS WAY-YOUR WAY- FOR NOW- BUT THE TIME WILL COME SOME DAY- THAT WHEN THE PAIN YOU ALL BEEN THROUGH- PASSES FAR UP THROUGH THE HEIRARCHY OF ALL WORLD- ONLY THEN WILL WAR BE WAR- IT WILL BE HELLISH ATTACKS FROM ABOVE- SOUNDS KINDA SICK I KNOW- BUT WAR IS SICK- NEVER PUT YOUR FINEST IN HARMS WAY UNLESS NEEDED- FACE IT- IF WE WAGE WAR THE WAY WE ARE CAPABLE- REALLY NOT SO MANY OF YOU EVER NEEDS TO BE THERE. CHECKING FOR SURVIVORS- THAT SHOULD BE ABOUT IT- ANYWAY- LOVE THE MARINES- IF ANYBODY MEETS A MARINE NAMED "G" YEAH THATS MY BOY- HE'S A PEOPLE PERSON YOU KNOW- HE WILL BE FAMOUS FOR SOMETHING IN WHATEVER CORNER OF THE WORLD HE HAPPENS TO BE IN-I LOVE HIM - MISS HIM- PRAY FOR ALL YOU GUYS A SAFE RETURN AND A DECENT LIFE AFTER THIS BIT OF HELL ON EARTH. FROM A MARINE DAD/FORMER US ARMY SGT/MIL POLICE

Posted by: bart a carr at Sep 21, 2005 12:50:03 AM

Well its going to happen. The word came down three days ago, I heading back to the sand box for a full twleve month run. The craziest thing is that I'm leaving the same day I was shot in Fallujah last year. I went out and bought a grip of life insurance so that my wife is set fat if I don't make it back this time. I am going to take a video camera and a camera or two so that I can document our work over the next twelve months. What we are going over to do has never been done before so who knows what will come out of the video tape. Thank you to all for your support and I will leave my wife with the web site address so that incase something happens she can spread the news. I will try and find the time to sit down and compose some final thoughts before I leave.

EMCEE: GO get 'em James!

Posted by: The happiest man on earth. at Sep 29, 2005 6:19:42 PM

Alright boots on deck as of the 15th of November. The crazy thing about the date is I arived back in Iraq exactly one year after being shot multiple times. So let the new story begin. We are here to imbed into Iraqi units and teach them how to fend for themselves. We live eat and sleep with our units. So far we haven't met up with the unit we will be embedding into but it should happen within the next couple of days. We had little to no warning about this deployment, no more than about a months notice so everything was rushed. Our teams are not "Teams" yet no one knows anyone and it seems to be a power struggle between the upper management. It sure feels good to be back though. When things actually get moving I should be able to drop a detailed update on a monthly basis.

Posted by: HM2 JamesPell at Nov 18, 2005 10:52:09 PM

Still breathing.
I love living in Iraq, it brings a true reality check. We as Americans take so much for granted. I think most Americans have a basic idea of what we have that other countries don't, but unless you actually take the time to live and learn the culture you can never truly understand.
Our "Special Police" control the infamous Dora Market area in southern Bagdad. Since we have arrived we have had more than 20 SP killed in action and double that injured. We brought with us four more Marine teams to train and live with other SP teams. We have had four Marine Casualties to include one KIA.
Currently our area is under curfiew. No vehicles on the road until after four pm. All person inside before eight pm. The words civil war have been throw around in the media from time to time. I don't think Iraq is at that point yet, but standing on the endge of the cliff it is.
Shite vs Sunni...In the market area every day there are broad daylight murders. One religious group killing another. Every night our base is shook with the explosions of car bombs destroying the mosques. And in the middle the americans get blamed for not protesting both sides religious rights. Not guarding the buildings themselves.
The Police fight with the local Iraq Army, believing that the Army is corrupt. Leaving the US standing in the middle trying to break up the fight without injuring our own. Our area is anonamous for IEDs. Planted in broud day light on the side of the road. New technology that the insurgents use has produced a explosive charge that will destroy anything, to include a abrams battle tank.
We train our SP's daily on how to wear their gear properly and how to hit what the are shooting at. How to properly search vehicles and conduct immediate action while under contact. We patrol everywere they patrol beside of them through the market and sometimes places they wont go. We are there on every raid they conduct and help process every prisoner they take in. They bring their wounded and sick to us daily because the Iraqi medical system is lacking to say the least.
Some of our soldiers are outstanding some are malitia insurgents that you have to watch your back with non stop.
Thanks for all the support from back home. Id like to say thanks to Albuquerque Police department for donating five siren systems to us.

Posted by: HM2 James Pell at Mar 3, 2006 10:01:30 PM

I just want to say God Bless You and all the other Marines, Army and Sailors. My son in law spent two years in Iraq. He was a newlywed at the time!! I spent two years worried sick to the point where I couldnt think or function properly. But I want to say this. It was worth every second. I am so proud of you guys, and of him of course for allowing me freedom. For walking the frontlines while I slept at night. It sounds like you have been through hell and come back stronger than ever. You are yet another one of my heros! Again, God Bless You, and Thank You for my freedom.

Posted by: Toni M. David at May 24, 2007 4:44:00 AM

COCK SMELL, I MEAN, DOC PELL! WHATS UP! YOU PROPBABLY DONT CHECK THIS SITE ANYMORE. IM BORED AT THE PD STATION ON USMC'S 232 B-DAY AND I JUST HAPPENED TO FIND THIS ARTICLE BY ACCIDENT. I HAVENT HEARD FROM U SINCE YOU WERE ABOUT TO SHIP OFF FOR YOUR THIRD TOUR. I HEARD U MADE IT BACK SAFE. THANK GOD. IF U HAPPEN TO READ THIS, GET IN TOUCH THROUGH MUCCA (GUEVARA) OR FAMOUS FAY. GOOD LUCK TO YOU. IF U DECIDE TO EAS, PD COULD USE SOME COCK STRONG GUYS LIKE U.

Posted by: J. PINEDA at Nov 10, 2007 2:24:20 PM

I was awarded the Combat Medic of the year award this last March. It was a DOD wide award givin to one service member. I thought I would share the write up....

Petty Officer Pell served his first Iraq combat deployment as the Scout Sniper Platoon Corpsman, H&S Company, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. During this period Petty Officer Pell participated in 20 Scout Sniper Missions. He excelled during this deployment becoming a valuable member of the platoon contributing to the tactical mission and prepared to provide the platoon life saving treatment if necessary. His ability to provide quality care under fire resulted in the successful emergent treatment of active duty, enemy combatants and Iraqi civilians. When Petty Office Pell returned from this first Iraq deployment he was tireless in developing his combat casualty care skills in preparation for future deployments. As soon as the opportunity presented itself he volunteered for a second deployment.

While serving on his second Iraq deployment as the Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon Corpsman,(Scout Sniper), attached to Company I, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines on 15 November 2004 during combat operations in support of Operation Phantom Fury, Al Fallujah, Iraq. Early in the morning, Petty Officer Pell assisted with capture of several suspected enemy insurgents. Upon inspection of the building, Petty Officer Pell realized that it contained not less than fifteen injured insurgents, and had been serving as an improvised “aid station.” Once the building was secure, Petty Officer Pell began providing medical assistance to the wounded, regardless of their status as enemy combatants. As a result, all of the fifteen were properly stabilized and later transported to higher headquarters. Ten of the fifteen wounded were considered expectent, due to Petty Officer Pell all survived.

Later in the day, India Company received contact from several hardened enemy positions. Unable to effectively engage the enemy with direct fires, Petty Officer Pell risked his life by braving withering small arms fire, (AK-47), and relocating to an adjacent rooftop in order to employ hand grenades, allowing India Company’s Marines to secure a foothold.

Petty Officer Pell then laid down suppressive fire on a second enemy position, freeing his sniper section to move. He then relocated to a higher position in order to provide suppressive fire in support of an assault that into an adjacent building. Another bout of intense small arms fire was directed at him while he moved. From his new position Petty Officer Pell was engaging hardened insurgents at distances of less than ten meters. As the assault progressed, Petty Officer Pell observed one of his Corporals suffer a severe gunshot wound to the head. Petty Officer Pell immediately moved into the enemy’s cone of fire in an attempt to reach the wounded Marine and provide first aid. Petty Officer Pell moved without hesitation or regard for his own safety. He was hit eleven times by enemy fire and seriously wounded. Petty Officer Pell maintained his composure and presence of mind, administering first aid to himself and continuing to provide suppressive fires as additional Marines arrived to evacuate the wounded Marine. When the day’s fighting was over there were a total of 28 dead insurgents scattered through four mutually supporting buildings. None of the fighters had accepted when given the chance to surrender; they had fortified their positions and held on to the end. Petty Officer Pell’s actions were crucial to 1st Platoon’s seizing of an initial foothold and his subsequent fires surely prevented several more injuries. At the time when Petty Officer Pell was wounded, 1st Platoon and elements of the Company Headquarters had been fighting room to room and roof to roof for more than six hours. His composure and good spirits while being treated played a large part in keeping the Marines’ morale from suffering.

He has distinguished himself during his third combat tour by demonstrating remarkable proficiency, skill, and leadership in stressful combat situations. From 12 November 2005 to 11 November 2006 Petty Officer Pell performed his duties in the most exemplary manner as an advisor to 1st BN, 8th Bde, 2nd Iraqi National Police (INP), He was responsible for mentoring, and advising the INP in the execution of their duties, to include conducting combat operations and under these conditions.

On 28 February 2006, while the team was conducting training at the 1-4 Public Order Battalion (POB) compound, medium machine gun and small arms fire was heard near the location where 1-4 POB was conducting a siege operation with the rest of the 4th PO Brigade and the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment. A couple minutes after hearing the gunfire it was passed over the tactical control net that one of their units participating in the siege was engaged with enemy forces. As the closest coalition unit in the area, the team mounted up and moved to the location of the firefight. Upon arrival to the scene members of the 2/506th along with the Iraqi Special Police (ISP) from the 1st and 3rd Battalions 4th Public Order Bde were engaged in a firefight with the members of the 16th Strategic Infrastructure Battalion (SIB). While getting an update from the senior ISP on scene it was pointed out that one of the ISP had been shot near the SIB’s secondary gate and may still be alive. Petty Officer Pell immediately directed his team to move and use the M1114 as protection to reach the causality. He grabbed the patient and dragged him to a safe position to assess and treat the injuries, but unfortunately the patient died due to the extent of his injuries.

Once back to safety the team leader and Petty Officer Pell were gathering information from the 3-4 POB OIC who was the senior man on scene he received a gunshot wound to the leg. Petty Officer grabbed a tourniquet from his med bag and applied it. It was clear that the round had severed his Femoral Artery Petty Officer Pell worked to control the hemorrhage and prevent shock. If not for Petty Officer Pell’s quick actions the causality would have bled out. Upon completion of the MedEvac the team devised a plan to get the SIB personnel to lay down their weapons. The team leader was able to accomplish this and directed them to bring out their wounded to Petty Officer Pell. He worked on two casualties that had received head wounds. Petty Officer Pell worked feverishly to stabilize the casualties. Upon stabilization of the men he called for and directed the movement of all injured for MedEvac operations. Throughout the event Petty Officer Pell kept calm and reacted as trained. His mastery of battlefield first aid saved the lives of three people that day, and his ability to make quick decisions under fire helped the team to get the insurgents to lay their arms down preventing further blood shed.

On 13 June 2006, Petty Officer Pell was designated as the National Police Transition Team Patrol Leader for a combined patrol that included a platoon of Iraqi National Police from 1st Battalion, 8th Brigade, and a squad from Alpha Company, 2-506th, and a squad of Iraqi Policemen. While conducting –the patrol in Muhalla 822, in Al Doura, the combined patrol was engaged by Anti-Iraqi forces at extremely close range. Three insurgent gunmen came around a corner approximately 40 yards away and opened fire at the patrol with AK-47 assault rifles and one PKC medium machinegun. Petty Officer Pell acted immediately, directing the Iraqi element to drop, seek cover, and return fire. He intentionally exposed himself while moving from each position to position ensuring the Iraqi element maintained proper cover and fire discipline. At the same time he was directing the actions of the Iraqi forces, Petty Officer Pell passed via radio a situational report to the Army squad who had not yet turned the corner. This action alone prevented soldiers from unnecessary exposing themselves to injury from Anti-Iraqi forces. He quickly devised a plan that the Iraqis would pursue as able and try and pin the Anti-Iraqi forces in place while the Army squad 3 would try and flank around to the west of the Anti-Iraqi forces. His plan was immediately effective and started pushing the Anti-Iraqi forces out of their position.

Petty Officer Pell also called the 1st Iraqi National Police Battalion’s Quick Reaction Force out. This Quick Reaction Force also included the remainder of the National Police Transition Team. Being the man in charge on the ground, he ensured that as the Quick Reaction Forces came into the firefight that he deconflicted their arrival with actions of the Iraqi patrol members and the US Army squad. This prevented the potential of friendly fire incidents. HM2 Pell was able to send a SPOT Report up to the Local Coalition Battle Space Owner, 2-506th. They responded by sending all available patrols in the area to the firefight. As the situation developed the Anti-Iraqi forces started to retreat. HM2 Pell quickly redirected the Quick Reaction force to impede their retreat. Unfortunately they were able to flee the scene.

Throughout this event Petty Officer maintained and displayed the finest discipline and leadership. If not for his quick actions and thinking, the Iraqi forces would have not reacted as a cohesive unit. His ability to focus their fire and actions took great tactical knowledge and exposed him to dangers greater than those experienced had he been with a U.S. pure unit.

Petty Officer Pell’s administrative and organizational have also been highlighted during this deployment. Due to the relative detached nature of the National Police Transition Team (NPTT) and its mission, He almost single-handedly developed the Iraqi battalion medical program. Far before deploying to Iraq, Petty Officer Pell anticipated the needs of the Iraqi battalion to include all medical supplies, training aids and manuals. He was instrumental in the acquisition of a site for the BAS, the associated construction and cleansing, storage of supplies, and the day-to-day

operations. He supervised and treated approximately (25) Iraqi personnel on daily basis to include medical issues ranging from E-Coli to shrapnel and bullet wounds. He researched and acquired the necessary allocations to send Iraqi National Police to a national level medical class in Baghdad.

Over his three Iraq combat deployments Petty Officer Pell has been combat meritoriously promoted twice and has earned the Bronze Star with Combat ‘V’, Purple Heart Medal , Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat ‘V’, Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat ‘V’, Combat Action and numerous other campaign awards.

Time and time again Petty Officer Pell has proven himself to be the very best Combat Corpsmen. He possesses all the finest qualities of the Combat Corpsmen and truly understands the sacred duty of caring for his Marines and Sailors under the most extreme combat conditions and at any personal cost to himself. Petty Officer Pell epitomizes the spirit of our sacred mission and his selection for this award will be a great honor in memory of HM2 Luke Milam and the bond they share as Combat Corpsmen who will and have given all.

Posted by: HM1 Pell at Jun 18, 2008 10:09:13 AM

I was awarded the Combat Medic of the year award this last March. It was a DOD wide award givin to one service member. I thought I would share the write up....

Petty Officer Pell served his first Iraq combat deployment as the Scout Sniper Platoon Corpsman, H&S Company, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines. During this period Petty Officer Pell participated in 20 Scout Sniper Missions. He excelled during this deployment becoming a valuable member of the platoon contributing to the tactical mission and prepared to provide the platoon life saving treatment if necessary. His ability to provide quality care under fire resulted in the successful emergent treatment of active duty, enemy combatants and Iraqi civilians. When Petty Office Pell returned from this first Iraq deployment he was tireless in developing his combat casualty care skills in preparation for future deployments. As soon as the opportunity presented itself he volunteered for a second deployment.

While serving on his second Iraq deployment as the Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon Corpsman,(Scout Sniper), attached to Company I, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines on 15 November 2004 during combat operations in support of Operation Phantom Fury, Al Fallujah, Iraq. Early in the morning, Petty Officer Pell assisted with capture of several suspected enemy insurgents. Upon inspection of the building, Petty Officer Pell realized that it contained not less than fifteen injured insurgents, and had been serving as an improvised “aid station.” Once the building was secure, Petty Officer Pell began providing medical assistance to the wounded, regardless of their status as enemy combatants. As a result, all of the fifteen were properly stabilized and later transported to higher headquarters. Ten of the fifteen wounded were considered expectent, due to Petty Officer Pell all survived.

Later in the day, India Company received contact from several hardened enemy positions. Unable to effectively engage the enemy with direct fires, Petty Officer Pell risked his life by braving withering small arms fire, (AK-47), and relocating to an adjacent rooftop in order to employ hand grenades, allowing India Company’s Marines to secure a foothold.

Petty Officer Pell then laid down suppressive fire on a second enemy position, freeing his sniper section to move. He then relocated to a higher position in order to provide suppressive fire in support of an assault that into an adjacent building. Another bout of intense small arms fire was directed at him while he moved. From his new position Petty Officer Pell was engaging hardened insurgents at distances of less than ten meters. As the assault progressed, Petty Officer Pell observed one of his Corporals suffer a severe gunshot wound to the head. Petty Officer Pell immediately moved into the enemy’s cone of fire in an attempt to reach the wounded Marine and provide first aid. Petty Officer Pell moved without hesitation or regard for his own safety. He was hit eleven times by enemy fire and seriously wounded. Petty Officer Pell maintained his composure and presence of mind, administering first aid to himself and continuing to provide suppressive fires as additional Marines arrived to evacuate the wounded Marine. When the day’s fighting was over there were a total of 28 dead insurgents scattered through four mutually supporting buildings. None of the fighters had accepted when given the chance to surrender; they had fortified their positions and held on to the end. Petty Officer Pell’s actions were crucial to 1st Platoon’s seizing of an initial foothold and his subsequent fires surely prevented several more injuries. At the time when Petty Officer Pell was wounded, 1st Platoon and elements of the Company Headquarters had been fighting room to room and roof to roof for more than six hours. His composure and good spirits while being treated played a large part in keeping the Marines’ morale from suffering.

He has distinguished himself during his third combat tour by demonstrating remarkable proficiency, skill, and leadership in stressful combat situations. From 12 November 2005 to 11 November 2006 Petty Officer Pell performed his duties in the most exemplary manner as an advisor to 1st BN, 8th Bde, 2nd Iraqi National Police (INP), He was responsible for mentoring, and advising the INP in the execution of their duties, to include conducting combat operations and under these conditions.

On 28 February 2006, while the team was conducting training at the 1-4 Public Order Battalion (POB) compound, medium machine gun and small arms fire was heard near the location where 1-4 POB was conducting a siege operation with the rest of the 4th PO Brigade and the US Army’s 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment. A couple minutes after hearing the gunfire it was passed over the tactical control net that one of their units participating in the siege was engaged with enemy forces. As the closest coalition unit in the area, the team mounted up and moved to the location of the firefight. Upon arrival to the scene members of the 2/506th along with the Iraqi Special Police (ISP) from the 1st and 3rd Battalions 4th Public Order Bde were engaged in a firefight with the members of the 16th Strategic Infrastructure Battalion (SIB). While getting an update from the senior ISP on scene it was pointed out that one of the ISP had been shot near the SIB’s secondary gate and may still be alive. Petty Officer Pell immediately directed his team to move and use the M1114 as protection to reach the causality. He grabbed the patient and dragged him to a safe position to assess and treat the injuries, but unfortunately the patient died due to the extent of his injuries.

Once back to safety the team leader and Petty Officer Pell were gathering information from the 3-4 POB OIC who was the senior man on scene he received a gunshot wound to the leg. Petty Officer grabbed a tourniquet from his med bag and applied it. It was clear that the round had severed his Femoral Artery Petty Officer Pell worked to control the hemorrhage and prevent shock. If not for Petty Officer Pell’s quick actions the causality would have bled out. Upon completion of the MedEvac the team devised a plan to get the SIB personnel to lay down their weapons. The team leader was able to accomplish this and directed them to bring out their wounded to Petty Officer Pell. He worked on two casualties that had received head wounds. Petty Officer Pell worked feverishly to stabilize the casualties. Upon stabilization of the men he called for and directed the movement of all injured for MedEvac operations. Throughout the event Petty Officer Pell kept calm and reacted as trained. His mastery of battlefield first aid saved the lives of three people that day, and his ability to make quick decisions under fire helped the team to get the insurgents to lay their arms down preventing further blood shed.

On 13 June 2006, Petty Officer Pell was designated as the National Police Transition Team Patrol Leader for a combined patrol that included a platoon of Iraqi National Police from 1st Battalion, 8th Brigade, and a squad from Alpha Company, 2-506th, and a squad of Iraqi Policemen. While conducting –the patrol in Muhalla 822, in Al Doura, the combined patrol was engaged by Anti-Iraqi forces at extremely close range. Three insurgent gunmen came around a corner approximately 40 yards away and opened fire at the patrol with AK-47 assault rifles and one PKC medium machinegun. Petty Officer Pell acted immediately, directing the Iraqi element to drop, seek cover, and return fire. He intentionally exposed himself while moving from each position to position ensuring the Iraqi element maintained proper cover and fire discipline. At the same time he was directing the actions of the Iraqi forces, Petty Officer Pell passed via radio a situational report to the Army squad who had not yet turned the corner. This action alone prevented soldiers from unnecessary exposing themselves to injury from Anti-Iraqi forces. He quickly devised a plan that the Iraqis would pursue as able and try and pin the Anti-Iraqi forces in place while the Army squad 3 would try and flank around to the west of the Anti-Iraqi forces. His plan was immediately effective and started pushing the Anti-Iraqi forces out of their position.

Petty Officer Pell also called the 1st Iraqi National Police Battalion’s Quick Reaction Force out. This Quick Reaction Force also included the remainder of the National Police Transition Team. Being the man in charge on the ground, he ensured that as the Quick Reaction Forces came into the firefight that he deconflicted their arrival with actions of the Iraqi patrol members and the US Army squad. This prevented the potential of friendly fire incidents. HM2 Pell was able to send a SPOT Report up to the Local Coalition Battle Space Owner, 2-506th. They responded by sending all available patrols in the area to the firefight. As the situation developed the Anti-Iraqi forces started to retreat. HM2 Pell quickly redirected the Quick Reaction force to impede their retreat. Unfortunately they were able to flee the scene.

Throughout this event Petty Officer maintained and displayed the finest discipline and leadership. If not for his quick actions and thinking, the Iraqi forces would have not reacted as a cohesive unit. His ability to focus their fire and actions took great tactical knowledge and exposed him to dangers greater than those experienced had he been with a U.S. pure unit.

Petty Officer Pell’s administrative and organizational have also been highlighted during this deployment. Due to the relative detached nature of the National Police Transition Team (NPTT) and its mission, He almost single-handedly developed the Iraqi battalion medical program. Far before deploying to Iraq, Petty Officer Pell anticipated the needs of the Iraqi battalion to include all medical supplies, training aids and manuals. He was instrumental in the acquisition of a site for the BAS, the associated construction and cleansing, storage of supplies, and the day-to-day

operations. He supervised and treated approximately (25) Iraqi personnel on daily basis to include medical issues ranging from E-Coli to shrapnel and bullet wounds. He researched and acquired the necessary allocations to send Iraqi National Police to a national level medical class in Baghdad.

Over his three Iraq combat deployments Petty Officer Pell has been combat meritoriously promoted twice and has earned the Bronze Star with Combat ‘V’, Purple Heart Medal , Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat ‘V’, Army Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat ‘V’, Combat Action and numerous other campaign awards.

Time and time again Petty Officer Pell has proven himself to be the very best Combat Corpsmen. He possesses all the finest qualities of the Combat Corpsmen and truly understands the sacred duty of caring for his Marines and Sailors under the most extreme combat conditions and at any personal cost to himself. Petty Officer Pell epitomizes the spirit of our sacred mission and his selection for this award will be a great honor in memory of HM2 Luke Milam and the bond they share as Combat Corpsmen who will and have given all.

Posted by: HM1 Pell at Jun 18, 2008 10:09:51 AM

Doc Pell,

Congrats on the award, wish I could have been there to see it. It is well deserved, as were the previous. Reading this post reminds me of all the things we did (and didn't) accomplish with our National Police. I hope all is well and hope we can get in touch soon.

Capt Welch

Posted by: Capt Welch at Jun 25, 2008 12:20:53 PM

Doc Pell,
Well deserved! You've heard this a thousand times already:
You're a true hero, and a trooper, God bless.
~OS1 A.C.Castro

Posted by: Chason at Jul 4, 2008 3:00:38 PM

Hey Doc Pell,

Been awhile haven't talked to you since I left 3/5 in 05 but anyways congrats with the award you were the best corpsman I have ever served with...

Posted by: Justin Taylor at Oct 19, 2009 4:59:31 PM

This is one of the most intriguing posts I have ever heard. Your presentation is engrossing. Keep writing!!

This is Joshua from Israeli Uncensored News

Posted by: Joshua at Mar 10, 2010 11:31:28 PM

To see video of FOX NEWS SPECIAL the COMPANY OF HEROES

Google Fox News Specials Company of heroes

In November 2004 Fallujah 4 fallen marines and families at home. The hidden heroes at home

Posted by: Deborah Smith at Mar 29, 2011 1:16:01 PM

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Ron L - Wisconsin election watchdog and hilariously fun grandpa.

James Pell - Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class - American hero with stories to tell about Iraq, Kosovo, and Bosnia.

Emcee - "Don't encourage him!" Jeff Goldstein



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