Memorial Day 2016

For Marines Advising Iraqi Forces, Ramadi Gains Mark Emotional Victory

“May 14, 2016 | by Hope Hodge Seck

As Iraqi security forces waged their successful assault on Islamic State militants in Ramadi late last year, Marines stationed at the nearby Al Taqqadum base were close enough to hear the air assaults and major explosions.

While still not considered “boots on the ground,” these Marines, attached to the Corps’ crisis response force in the Middle East, supported Iraqi forces behind the scenes in the fight, task force commander Col. Bill McCollough told reporters this week at the Pentagon.

For McCollough’s unit, Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Crisis Response-Central Command, the December reclamation of Ramadi represented an emotional high point for the six-month deployment rotation, which wrapped up in April…”

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“May 16, 2016 | by Hope Hodge Seck

The Marine Corps is projected to remain a force of 182,000 in coming years, but the four-star assistant commandant of the Marine Corps said new threats may require an increase of 5,000 troops or more.

Gen. John Paxton on Monday told reporters at the Sea Air Space convention near Washington, D.C., that while a force structure review four years ago found the Marine Corps wanted a force of 186,800 to properly execute its role, new threats and tensions may make the “floor” number even higher now.

“That was before Ukraine, before Syria, before South China Sea, before Wikileaks,” Paxton said. “To us, 186,800 is about the floor. So the number may [now] be north of there.”..”

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“May 10, 2016 | by Hope Hodge Seck

The U.S. Marine Corps is getting its first female rifleman and machine gunner later this year, service officials confirmed this week.

The two female enlisted Marines who have made lateral move requests to infantry jobs have been approved, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Philip Kulczewski told The news was first reported by Marine Corps Times.

The Marine who applied to be an 0311 rifleman was a lance corporal, an official confirmed. The rank of the Marine approved to be an 0331 machine gunner is not clear. Kulczewski said the Corps is now in the process of meeting staffing requirements at the units that will receive the Marines…”

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Marine Artillery Unit Sent from Ship Will Remain in Iraq


The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit is sailing home to North Carolina, but a small contingent ofMarines the MEU sent into Iraq to man an artillery base will remain there.

A 200-man artillery detachment from the MEU’s Battalion Landing Team 2/6, Echo Battery, arrived at a small artillery outpost near Makhmour in northern Iraq in March. Called Fire Base Bell, the position is the first new U.S. base to be created and manned in Iraq since American troops were sent back into the country to support the fight against Islamic State militants in 2014.

Shortly after the Marines arrived, 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin was killed in a rocket attack that also wounded four other troops. Since then, the outpost has weathered multiple enemy attacks…”

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