Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Kilo 3/7

A Marine's Marine - Captain Phillip Ash, Kilo Company CO, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, Ramadi, Iraq. December 31, 2005

An Iraqi jundee (soldier), practices fireteam tactics in Ramadi, Demember, 2005

Former enemies, future allies - Iraqi Officers and staff posed for a photo, Ramadi, Iraq. December 31, 2005

December 31, 2005

This afternoon, I left Hurricane Point and traveled via up-armored HMMWV (UAH) to Camp Phoenix, the training ground for two Iraqi Army (IA) Battalions operating in Ramadi. Camp Phoenix is a training ground for the IA Battalions, and both receive mentoring and training from USMC mobile training teams, or MTT’s. MTT Marines live among the Iraqis and develop solid working relationships with the IA throughout their deployment.

Today’s journey to Camp Phoenix was by invitation of 3/7’s Kilo Company Commander, Captain Phillip Ash. Captain Ash, a former enlisted sailor who later wised up and quit the Navy to join the Corps, is one of those “poster” infantry Officers – a square jawed, outspoken, confident individual who eats, sleeps and breathes infantry in the offense. Following his interview this morning, the Captain asked if I’d accompany him to Camp Phoenix to receive a briefing from the IA regarding an upcoming mission they would be conducting in the city of Ramadi. This will be the first mission commanded entirely by an IA Battalion with the Marine Corps acting strictly in a supporting role.

Our arrival at Camp Phoenix was watched closely by a number of Iraqi soldiers and Officers preparing to brief their Colonel. A crude sand table was constructed on the ground with blocks of wood representing buildings and police tape simulating roadways and MSR’s. The briefing was conducted primarily by the IA officers through the use of an interpreter and went smoothly. A joint practical exercise was conducted for the next hour and it was quite amazing to see the IA actually practicing fire team and squad tactics without the strict oversight of Marine MTT’s. I was seing firsthand the postive results of our presence in Iraq.

Just as the practical exercise wrapped up, the screech of a rocket passing over our heads took us by surprise, immediately prompting us to find the closest cover. The rocket failed to detonate and soundlessly plowed into the dirt, a portion of its tail fin exposed. Turns out it was a 57 mm rocket, probably Chinese or Russian. We couldn’t quite figure it was launched from, but it had been aimed pretty well, as it sailed rather closely over our heads. We were lucky it was a dud, as the large number of IA and Marines present would have inevitably invited casualties. We did not wait around to see if any more rounds would be fired our way and buttoned up inside the HMMWV’s, hitting the road for the Camp Ramadi chowhall.

After chow, we geared up, chambered our weapons and drove back to Hurricane Point. Throughout the trip, I was as “useless as teats on a boar-hog.” Lacking my set of night vision goggles (NVG’s), nothing was visible outside my Hummer window. Had a “Muj” aimed an RPG my way, I’d have missed it completely, ignorant of the impending danger. Thankfully, all 4 of the Kilo Marines in my vehicle were wearing their NVG’s and were carefully scanning the route for bad guys. Another lesson learned - always assume you'll be gone longer than expected.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe "no comments" I was thrilled to find another site about my son's Iraq/Obviously the Marine Parent Site isn't aware of you/my 20 yr old son is marine infantry/at Hurricaine Point/currently serving 2nd deployment in Iraq/due to come home early April! Thank you for being there with them and reporting! These are AMAZING young men!

Anonymous said...

My husband is there with 3/7.It was great to hear a story about what they are doing in every day life over there. Keep up the good work. We miss them all here at home. With our guys being gone during 3 major Holidays it's bring them closes to read about just doing any thing.

Aus10-1stSgt-USMC-Ret said...

I was 1stSgt of K 3/7 before I elected to retire in 1995. We had a fine Rifle Company of warriors then, as I am sure you do now.

I put a link to this Blog on a web site I am constructing:


If you object to this link, please advise and I will remove it.

Kilo 3/7 members and their families are welcome to visit USMC-Warrior.Com and post in our Forum, to include the posting of pictures, if deemed appropriate.

Pictures posted in the forum must first be hosted by a web site that is available 24/7. Many people use a free service called PHOTOBUCKET.COM to host these photographs, and subsequently post them in Forums and Blogs.

If you are not familiar with this technobabble, I would be happy to post appropriate pictures and their captions for you. Just send the photograph, captions, and instructions to:


Send the highest resolution photo you can, I have the proper photo programs to optimize the photos for web use.

Kilo! Semper Fi,

Dave Austin
1stSgt, USMC (Ret)

Anonymous said...

I loved your article. I just happened to find it today. My son was a corpsman at that time with 3/7 Kilo while you were there. All the things you said about Capt. Ash, he has said. He really admired him as a leader and as someone to lookup to. My son was only 20 at that time. Being redeployed again.

Proud Mom of a Corpsman

Anonymous said...

I met Major Ash today at a golf tournament called Teeing up for our Troops. This was a fund raiser to help those servicemen/servicewomen with financial difficulties. Major Ash is an impressive Marine. We should all sleep well at night knowing that men and women of fine character are making the world safe for all of us. Many thanks to all who serve. God Bless!