Browsing: Iraq

Smoke the donkey, beloved Marine mascot and wounded warrior therapy animal passed away last night of natural causes, according to his Facebook page. After a harrowing, years-long journey that took him from the desert of Iraq to Nebraska via Kurdistan, Turkey, Germany and the glitz and glamor of New York, Smoke the Donkey has moved on to greener pastures. He was first adopted by the Marines of 1st Combat Logistics Battalion out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., in 2008 as a moral booster after they found him wandering injured at Camp Taqaddum near Fallujah, Iraq. A sergeant caught him roaming the…

Last week, I reported for Marine Corps Times that Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer acknowledges in his new book that he attempted to kill himself in 2010, one year after surviving the battle that led to him receiving the nation’s top valor award. The story generated a wide range of reaction from readers. Some blasted me for writing a story specifically about Meyer’s struggles, even though he chose to speak about it freely in an interview and disclosed the suicide attempt in his forthcoming book, “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War.” Others praised…

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer’s new book is scheduled to be released in September, three years after the devastating battle that led to his heroic actions. “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War” will be available Sept. 25, according to its listing on Amazon.com. The 272-page book is written by Meyer and Bing West, a Marine veteran who has authored several best-selling works. It will be published by Random House, which also has it listed on its website. The cover image of the book shows Meyer in Afghanistan in 2009, wearing…

Sgt. Rafael Peralta’s case for the Medal of Honor has shifted again, according to a congressman who has pressed the Pentagon to review new evidence that he says shows the Marine chose to smother a grenade to save his buddies in Iraq. Peralta, 25, died Nov. 15, 2004, in Fallujah. He was awarded the Navy Cross in 2008 for disregarding his own personal safety while already mortally wounded, pulling the grenade to his body, “absorbing the brunt of the blast and shielding fellow Marines only feet away,” according to his award citation. Despite the extraordinary heroism, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates…

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter continues to feverishly pursue the Medal of Honor for fallen Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who scooped a grenade under his body to save other Marines in Fallujah, Iraq on Nov. 15, 2004, according to Marines who saw him do it. He was awarded the Navy Cross – even though the Marine Corps recommended him for the Medal of Honor – after the Defense Department convened its own panel which concluded the evidence for the nation’s highest award for combat valor was not sufficient. Peralta’s family rejected the Navy Cross. Hunter has doggedly pursued the higher…

Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer has had a busy year since receiving the nation’s highest valor award in a ceremony at the White House in September. Mostly, his work has focused on public speaking appearances and raising money for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. However, he’s also become perhaps the first Medal of Honor recipient to actively engage the public on social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter. On top of that, he’s now added a blog outlining some of his work. “Actions Not Words” was launched March 16, and has been used since to highlight tornado relief work…

Last night, UFC Ultimate Insider on Fuel TV profiled Marine Captain turned pro fighter Brian Stann. For those of you who missed it, UFC.com should post the entire episode online later this week. Check back for a link. In the meantime, watch the trailer. In it Stann talks not just about his UFC career, but about his time in Iraq where he was awarded the Silver Star for a pitched six day battle in 2005. He and his unit — 2nd Mobile Assault Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines — held a critical bridge after being ambushed by insurgents from all…

It’s rare indeed that Marine Corps Times will publish back-to-back cover stories on the same subject. Lance Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter’s story is exceptional, though. As I reported last week, the Marine Corps is investigating what happened in the moments before he and Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio were hit with grenade explosion in a guard post near Marjah, Afghanistan, on Nov. 21, 2010. Carpenter took the brunt of the blast, and the service is researching whether he deliberately attempted to protect Eufrazio. The story prompted a strong response from our readers — and for several of Carpenter’s fellow Marines present…

Above, you see the destroyer Jason Dunham. It’s named after Cpl. Jason Dunham, who covered a grenade with his helmet on April 14, 2004, in an attempt to shield the blast from fellow Marines. He died eight days later, and received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroism on Jan. 11, 2007. No human being in their right mind would question the naming of the ship. It’s a logical, sensible case in which a class of ship frequently used to honor war heroes memorialized one of the greatest heroes of the Iraq war. It’s no secret that the Navy…

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