Monthly Archives: September, 2013

Modern Day Marine exposition kicks off at Quantico

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The Marine Corps’ annual exposition of gear, weapons and vehicles kicks off today at Quantico, Va. It is expected to draw thousands of Marines and civilians from across the country, with a special emphasis on what industry is producing for the Corps. Marine Corps Times prepared for the expo by producing its annual State of the Marine Corps issue. Out on newsstands this week, it leverages insight from 15 general officers to paint a picture of where life stands in the Corps. If you’re on base and looking, you’ll find it available at the expo. Highlights of the event include…

Congressman launches social media campaign for former Marine imprisoned in Iran

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As world leaders gather in New York this week at the U.N. headquarters, a Michigan congressman is inviting Americans to join a social media campaign designed to draw attention to a former Marine sergeant who has been held prisoner in Iran for two years. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Michigan, is working to boost global awareness of the imprisonment of one of his constituents. Former Marine Amir Hekmati has been held prisoner in Iran for two years. Kildee is encouraging members of Congress to have their photos taken with a sign that says “#FreeAmir” and share them on social…

Exclusive videos: Cpl. Rob Richards, Marine scout sniper, speaks on ‘urination video,’ getting wounded in Afghanistan

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Marine Corps Times posted online last night my long-form profile of Cpl. Rob Richards, one of the Marine scout snipers who appeared in a video urinating on dead Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. The video created an international uproar after it first appeared on the Internet in January 2012. My story is posted in its entirety here. However, I also wanted to point out the work of staff videographer Mike Morones, who traveled me with for the interview to Jacksonville, N.C. With Richards’ permission, we recorded the interview and Morones edited together two video packages. First, here’s Richards speaking on how…

Dakota Meyer’s interpreter, once scared in Afghanistan, now safe at U.S. Wal-Mart

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In recent weeks, Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer has forcefully advocated for the U.S. to allow his former Afghan interpreter into the U.S., saying the man feared for his life after getting death threats from the Taliban. Fayez, shown at right with Meyer, is now in the U.S. The Marine posted the photograph on Twitter on Friday, adding a note that showed relief. “Back together finally,” Meyer said. “Fazel is in America.” Fazel — known in a lot of previous media coverage as Hafez to protect his identify — was in the Ganjgal Valley in eastern Afghanistan on Sept.…

Gritty war-zone video emerges of Capt. Will Swenson, next Medal of Honor recipient

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The White House announced on Monday that former Army Capt. Will Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor on Oct. 15, four years after he braved enemy fire repeatedly while leading U.S. forces through a horrific ambush that erupted in eastern Afghanistan. The Battle of Ganjgal on Sept. 8, 2009, is especially well known because Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer already received the nation’s top award for valor that day. Until tonight, however, few had seen a gritty war-zone video of Swenson on the battlefield during it. A sergeant in the Army National Guard recorded it while working that day on…

From the Persian Gulf to the Coral Sea: Your Marines around the globe this week

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This week, Marines around the world are battling drug trafficking in Guatemala, training with Dutch, British and Spanish counterparts in western Africa, and providing embassy security in Libya, along with a host of other forward-deployed missions. Here are the latest available status of forces totals: Active duty: 195, 231 Selected Marine Corps Reserve: 39, 984 –Reservists on active duty: 2,266 [HTML1] As always, if you don’t see your unit on the map, shoot us an email at hseck@marinecorpstimes.com.

2nd Tanks Battalion has its first female field-grade officer

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Navy Lt. Shannon Stout made history for 2nd Tank Battalion this month when she pinned on the rank of lieutenant commander, making her the unit’s first field grade officer, according to Marine Corps reports. A battalion surgeon, Stout joined the unit in 2012, according to the report. The promotion is significant because the Marine Corps only recently opened a limited selection of billets in ground combat elements, including tank units, to female Marines. Beginning in May 2012, women have been able to serve in 371 new billets within combat units. The change opened more than 14,000 new positions to women.…

Watch: Former Marine challenges McCain on Syria intervention

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On the viral YouTube video beat, check out this showdown between a former Marine grunt and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) In the video, Bryan Bates, who identified himself as a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who also worked as a private security contractor with the Army Corps of Engineers, stands up at a Sept. 5 town hall in Tucson, Ariz., to ask McCain a tough question about military involvement in Syria. ” I am no stranger to Al Qaeda, their affiliates and the people of the region near Syria. I am here to tell you that I completely oppose any military…

Could Marines be called in to train Syrian rebels?

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According to reports, the president is weighing a plan that would engage U.S. troops to train Syrian rebels, enhancing their military skills and capabilities. The big question remains: would Marines be tapped to conduct such training? According to Lolita Baldor of the Associated Press, “any training would take place outside Syria, and one possible location would be Jordan.” If approved, this training would expand on work being done to train small groups of rebels in Jordan in the use of communications equipment and certain weapons systems, according to her report. “The new discussions center on whether the U.S. military should…

Last U.S. Marine tank unit heading home from Afghanistan

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The Marine Corps made national headlines in fall 2010 when it sent tanks to northern Helmand province to bolster firepower there. It was a first for the U.S. in the war, which was nine years old at the time. Nearly three years later, the tanks are coming home. Delta Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune, N.C., will redeploy to the U.S. soon, and will not be replaced by a similar unit, said 1st Lt. Philip Kulczewski, a Marine spokesman in Afghanistan. It’s one of the most tangible indications recently that that the U.S. drawdown in forces in Afghanistan…

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