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December 13, 2006
Intrepid James Tells It...
Filed in: Politics, War on Terror

This just in from HM2 James Pell:

(ROE = Rules of Engagement)

I wrote this in response to a post on Blackfives' blog (Ed: . And I actually have more to say, I just ran out of time....I started off wondering how I could write this blog without offending anyone, then realized I couldn't. Before I get discredited as a random fanatic I'd like to tell you where I'm coming from. Like most others I've been in theatre three times. First was for the invasion, second was for Fallujah, and third and last was as an embedded trainer living, eating and breathing with 500 Iraqis for twelve months. I've whitnessed the changes of R.O.E. from day one. I've had the chance to work with Spanish SF, Brits and Aussi soldiers.

This last year we were 11 Marines in a all Army AO. We operated in southern Bagdad in the infamous Dora Market. We moved to Sadr City and then again to a neighborhood known as Jihad. As the only medical provider for 500 Iraqis while in Dora Market I averaged 25 Iraqi W.I.A. and 15 Iraqi K.I.A. a month for the first seven months of the deployment.

I wanted to put it sraight, I'm not frightened or scared to be in Iraq. My morale is high and I love the USMC. I serve next to the bravest and most diligent men in the world. And when myself and my Marines are in trouble and I kill someone in the right I don't sweat sitting infront of a JAG jerkoff to tell him why I killed a man firing a weapon at me. Never once have I worried about the fallout of my actions during contact. The war is constantly changing in Iraq gentleman. In OIF 1 I had a green light to kill anyone on a cell phone. Now every person in Iraq has two. The lines of friend and foe, civilian and combatant are blurred. The ROE changes from day to day and place to place. And it's something that both Soldiers and Marines have to adapt to. Unfortunatly the stricter ROE are a direct reflection of actions of coaltion forces inside Iraq. A taxi with a mother, two daughters and two sons were blasted for coming too close to parked coaltion vehicles and the next day we were using pen flares instead of bullets to warn cars to stay back. It's cause and effect.

Every one of us is ready to fight every day - that doesn't mean it would make anyting any better for anyone over there. To have done it the right way would have meant a slow methodical sweep from the border in OIF 1 instead of the "Race to Bagdad". It would have meant taking and maintaining the countrie's countless ammunition supply points instead of letting insurgents strip them bare. It would have meant having the foresight to see Iran and Syria were going to be major contributors in both insurgents and weapons and having a better plan to control Iraqs borders from the beginning. But to think that simply turning coaltion forces loose for the fight would solve anything is insane. It would in all reality make matters worse. The Sunni and Shiite are for the majority caught up in their own little civil war for the time. To attack them would unite them as well as the rest of the Arabic world. This is the reason Ramadi still stands the way it is. It's why Sadr City and the JAM are still intact.

So here is the bottom line Gents. Buck up. Put your game faces on and look at the big picture. We are making headway on being able to come home. Stay motivated and tough. And if you ever think once you've got it bad or you've lost to many friends or brothers take a minute and sit down with a WWII veteran or someone who fought in Vietnam. God bless the military.

(Ed: God bless you James and all who serve this great land. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!)

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People Pulling

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Posted by: J. Mark English at Jan 13, 2007 6:44:24 PM

Wow, it's humbling to know there are men like James in our military willing to put so much on the line to protect America. Thank you, James, for your service.

Posted by: Tomas Rees at Feb 4, 2007 3:47:52 PM

What it's all come down to.

Once again i just need to get this off my chest. What has it all been for? Were is it going? I'm home again. I'm a alien here. I don't know were I belong. I'm now divorced. She didn't want to wait for me. But it's not just me. Everyones familys are hurting or non exsistent anymore. You can't keep people seperated for fifteen months again and again.
I am being forced into a desk job because of the permanent damage done from my wounds and two tramatic brain injurys. I stuter and am so slow in the head i feel absolutly retarded. My dream has always to be Specail Operations some were. With my nerve damage in my legs I can't run more than a mile and half.

I sit here alone at 29 no wife no kids and broken. Mentally insane after three tours to Iraq. Hooked on pain killers and depressed. Friends dead haunt me daily. Enemy the same. And inocent dead fill my dreams. I only know hate and discontent. What was it all for?

Posted by: HM2 James Pell at May 5, 2007 5:29:54 PM

Oh, dearest brother James.

You have sacrificed all for your country. We cannot repay your faithfulness. Please just know that we believe in you and pray for you every day.

You still inspire so many... Look at these comments from the last couple of weeks on the Fallujah post and the Heroes of India Company post:

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.

From Tony M. David

Remember the brave are only us never tested. Our brothers were tested and they passed. Brotherhood will live on and this BN will too. No mission will ever stop the natural brotherhood, determination and all out aggressive nature of the United States Marine Infantryman. We can not be stopped and neither will the thoughts of our brothers 3/5 get some. Leader One out.

From Worthy.

James, you remain my hero every day. I pray for your strength and healing. God Bless You!!!

Posted by: MC at May 31, 2007 8:16:37 AM

To HM2 James Pell. You are my Brother.
I too have felt that the world has gone and I am left behind.
But I force my self forward.
I belong to the Marine Corps leauge and I have met Marines that survived Chosin Resivor, Guadal anal, Okinawa,Da Nang and the more current Gulf Wars. I see these men in the later days of life and I resect and love each one of them so much. Just to hear the stories they tell and the interest that they show in mine. And the resect that they show me.
These men withstood attacks by the Germans, the Japanese at places we can only vist and read about.
I know that we have to carry this weight for now on. This is our lot in life. Knowledge of war. What war is and how it can change a man. We as humans all bear our own cross. We war vets, you and I have to move forward.
Our new duty is to pass on our knowledge and support of and for the military to the rest of our beloved country. There are thoughs who would erase everything our brothers and us have acomplished and throw us in prison for speaking of our "atrocities". We have to search out others like us. To form clubs and commities. To make sure our voice and opinion is heard by all. We are the ones who raised our hand. We ran into fire under The Stars and Strips. Now our voice, our opinon will be heard.
James Pell I met you in 2002. Then I belived we would be like brothers. And now I know we are.

Posted by: Woody at Jun 13, 2007 11:50:12 PM

I've been asked to write a book about being the first team into iraq to work with the iraqis. I am five pages into it and its flowing!!! Mac send me email address again so you can take a look.

Posted by: pell at Jul 7, 2007 12:27:33 PM

Hello, stranger. What's the word on James' book?

Posted by: Diana at Jan 10, 2008 9:08:39 PM

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