Friday, August 12, 2005

Crowley Chronicles, 5th Edition! (UPDATED)

UPDATE: the long-awaited fifth installment is here; he promises number 6 soon. he also says this one is, "an easier-to-read version-- less violence." THE HAIR-FIRE PHOTO IS IN.


The 5th Edition is dedicated to all the members of 3rd Battalion 25th Marines and their families. Over the course of the past two weeks 3/25, a reserve unit based out of Ohio, lost 22 Marines in combat. With previous losses suffered this brings their number of KIA close to fifty. During this two week period I spent a week with Kilo Company 3/25 in the city of Hit. Those stories will be covered in the 6th Edition.

I originally planned to produce the Chronicles once a week but that thought lasted exactly one second after arriving in Iraq. Now I’m happy if I can put my thoughts down on paper once or twice a month. I had promised to provide an edition of the Chronicles full of all the positive changes that are taking place in Iraq and in the following pages you will read items from the big picture. I have also added a section at the end of this edition with comments from readers of the Chronicles. Please provide feedback or this section will not continue (and I need some fast since number six is already being typed –

13 JUL – Finished the 4th Edition of the Chronicles (and here I am again).

14 JUL – Had a slow day taking it easy to recover from my travels and late night work. Received several care packages and walked around outside to a number of guard posts and provided the Marines with some snacks and hygiene items. It was great when a Marine wanted soap and I asked him what kind he liked - he requested Irish Spring soap and I had some in the bag to throw up to his position in the watch tower. That’s what I call service. Thanks to everyone who has sent items.

15 JUL – Realized that somehow I have been off on the date by one day – not sure when it happened. I went to the base pool and took a bike ride today.

16 JUL – Suffered through multiple computer problems and was without email capabilities.

17 JUL – Computer problems continued and all the work I had done the previous day was not saved. Continued working on interview summaries.

18 JUL – Travel day once again. My partner LtCol Benhoff is scheduled to leave the country within the week and I had to meet with him. I believe he is actually fleeing the country prior to getting kicked out but that’s a different story (and no fault of his own). Ran into delays with my helicopter flight and did not arrive at Camp Fallujah until the middle of the night.

19 JUL – The sacrifices I make for my public. I had scheduled a return trip to the Turkish Barbershop and had two photographers lined up, one to take photographs and the other to shoot video of the ear burning torture. Unfortunately, I learned that my return flight was scheduled for the next morning instead of the next night. I was forced to move up my haircut and was only accompanied by one photographer who didn’t have a good track record. Major Mooney had previously attempted to take photographs of LtCol Benhoff facing the demon barber and the pictures did not come out very well. I believe it is due to Major Mooney not having the stomach to handle the sight of burning ears. Anyway, I set my camera on the sports program that takes seven pictures each time you push the button and Major Mooney took photographs like a professional. The barber did burn my ears extra long to make sure he captured the full effects on film.

20 JUL – Scheduled for a morning VIP helicopter ride. I was not the VIP and this fact was made perfectly clear later in the trip. My ride to the airfield did not show up and it took an additional thirty minutes to get there. As I pulled up four helicopters took off – I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. The Marines at the LZ assured me the helos would return. They did return, in fact while I sat there they came and went a number of times. Hours later I was told to board the helo and went to Camp TQ. They had to deliver parts for a different helo. After dropping off passengers they taxied over to refuel and to drop off the parts. We must have taxied for close to half an hour around the base. Finally took off again and I enjoyed my first daylight helicopter ride. Really wasn’t very much to see – lots of desert! Once we arrived at Al Asad we pulled up to the VIP “terminal”. It is actually a parking lot with a sign that says VIP LZ. I was planning on asking the VIPs for a ride when we reached Al Asad but never got a chance. You can not exactly hold a conversation on military helicopters due to the noise. The crew would not let me get off at the VIP terminal and I had to taxi back to the regular LZ and hunt down a ride.

21 JUL – Followed up with the Civil Affairs Group from Camp Habbaniyah and learned that the power transformer, that had been destroyed by the tank, was replaced and the neighborhood’s power was restored. Major Kelly also relayed a story about how they had to swoop in during the middle of the night to snatch a family and fly them to Baghdad to see their child who was still in the hospital. Even though the Marines had told the family they would be coming, the family still believed they were possibly being taken to prison or to be executed – that’s what the old regime did. They were greatly relieved when they were flown to the Baghdad Hospital and saw their son. The Marines won the hearts and minds of this family through all the extra effort they put forth to arrange the trip. I received some great photographs of the family in the hospital room but was asked not to share them, if insurgents were to see them we are sure the family would be killed. This is the enemy we fight.

22 JUL – 25 JUL - Normal work routine at Al Asad entering interview summaries into historical database. Had my first flat tire on my bicycle and was able to fix it by putting a green slime in the tire. Purchased lights to mount on the bike as well.

26 JUL – Every time I go to the weightroom they are playing horrible music. I finally asked the other day if they would ever play country music. I was told by an employee that on Sunday night they play country music starting at 2100. I headed for the gym and ended up running behind schedule due to bike light problems. I finally reached the gym at 2230 and the same lousy music was playing – so I guessed I had arrived too late. After working out I was headed out the door when I heard country music coming from down the hall. After a little investigating I located the source of the music – in the multi purpose room they had country dancing. Now if I can only get them to play that music in the weightroom.

27 JUL – Scheduled an interview with General Milstead the 2nd Marine Wing Group (Forward) Commanding General. He was also my company commander at The Basic School. Our company physical fitness shirts that we wore on runs at TBS were bright orange Hawaiian shirts. I had my wife Carolyn mail mine to me in preparation for the interview. As I walked down the hall to his office in my Hawaiian shirt all the other staff officers wondered what I had been smoking. Luckily for me the General remembered the shirt and loved it. He is going to have his sent and another member of his staff from TBS will be here in the next few weeks and is supposed to bring his shirt. We had a great interview and the photographs were a little more colorful then most of my interview photographs.


I can remember seeing an email last year with a large list of all the improvements taking place in Iraq. I have never seen or heard these items in the news. I would guess that is true for many of you so I have included a similar list. Please let me know if the media is covering such topics back in the states. Here is what I was able to gather from the USMC. The following is an example of all the great things taking place in Iraq thanks to the presence of the United States Military:

1. Restoring Essential Infrastructure
Objective - Rebuild and rehabilitate the vital components of Iraq's infrastructureogram Areas
Key Accomplishments
· Generated 4,518 MW on October 6, surpassing the pre-war level of 4,400 MW.
· USAID is working to add 827 MW of capacity through new generation and rehabilitation projects.
· Conducting water and sanitation projects worth $183 million that will benefit 14.5 million people.
· Rehabilitating three key bridges (Khazir, Tikrit, and Al Mat) critical to the flow of passengers and goods throughout Iraq. Al Mat Bridge was the first to be completed and reopened March 3.
· Reopened Umm Qasr seaport on June 17. Approximately 40 ships offload cargo per month.
· Completed emergency work to prepare Baghdad and Basrah airports for operations. More than 5,000 flights have arrived and departed Baghdad International Airport since July, which now averages more than 20 non-military movements per day.
· Restored international calling service and activated more than 140,000 subscriber lines in Baghdad.

2. Supporting Essential Health and Education Services
Objectives - Ensure basic health care needs of population are met; improve access to and quality of education.ogram Areas
Key Accomplishments
· Vaccinated 3 million children through monthly national immunization days.
· Equipping 600 facilities in seven target governorates to provide essential primary healthcare services.
· Trained 750 people who are training more than 2,000 primary healthcare providers in maternal and child health services.
· Distributed high-protein biscuits to more than 240,000 children and pregnant and nursing mothers.
· Renovated 2,356 schools nationwide.
· Distributed 1.5 million secondary school student kits, 808,000 primary school student kits, and 81,735 primary school teacher kits.
· Printed and distributed 8.7 million revised math and science textbooks to governorates throughout Iraq.
· Trained 860 secondary school master trainers, who trained 31,772 secondary school educators nationwide.
· Awarded five grants worth $20.7 million to establish partnerships between American and Iraqi universities.
· Giving more than 600 out-of-school students a second chance through the Accelerated Learning Program.

3. Expanding Economic Opportunity
Objectives - Rejuvenate the Iraqi economy and rebuild Iraq's agricultural sector.gram Areas
Key Accomplishments
· Implementing 17 high-priority activities with the CPA to reform Iraq's currency, state-owned enterprises, small businesses, banking system, taxation system, budgeting, and utility administration.
· Began facilitating the Central Bank program to exchange new dinars for old on October 15, 2003, and completed the program January 15, 2004. There are currently 4.62 trillion new Iraqi dinars in circulation.
· Created more than 77,000 public works jobs through the National Employment Program.
· Developed a bank-to-bank payment system that allowed 80 banks to resume business by late October.
· Supporting the Iraqi initiative to revitalize agricultural production, stimulate income, and employment generation through the Agriculture Reconstruction and Development Program for Iraq.
· Coordinating the Marshlands Initiative to rejuvenate the marshlands ecologically, socially, and economically.

4. Improving Government Efficiency and Accountability
Objectives - Enhance local government administrations and interim representative bodies; promoting community development in cooperation with the NGO community.rogram Areas
Key Accomplishments
· Local governance teams are working in all 18 governorates as part of CPA Governance Teams.
· Facilitated an interim structure of government, the Governorate Council, to represent the population of 18 governorates, including Baghdad.
· Established 16 governorate councils, 78 district councils, 192 city or sub-district councils, and 392 neighborhood councils, allowing more than 19 million people to engage in local policy discourse.
· Committed $2.4 million for the implementation of the CPA's nationwide Civic Education Program to introduce Iraqis to democratic principles and ideas in preparation for the upcoming transition to sovereignty.
· Awarded rapid-response grants worth $13.4 million to allow local governments to deliver essential services.
· Rehabilitated nine key central government ministries, Baghdad mayoral buildings, headquarters of nine Baghdad municipalities, and urban water and electric authorities, while providing 40 directorates and agencies with enough furniture, equipment, and basic office supplies to enable them to return to service.
· Assisting local governments in budget formulation.
· Established more than 660 community associations in 16 governorates as part of a campaign targeting grassroots democracy.

5. Humanitarian Assistance
Objectives - Anticipate and respond to emergency humanitarian needs.
Key Accomplishments
· Immediately after the conflict, provided 516,800 metric tons of food worth over $389 million through the World Food Program.
· Deployed one of the largest ever Disaster Assistance Response Teams, including doctors, public health professionals, water and sanitation experts, food distribution and agricultural specialists, and other experts.
· Pre-positioned substantial amounts of food and supplies before the war: water, hygiene and health kits, blankets, and plastic sheeting.
· Awarded grants to staff and prepare U.N. agencies and NGOs for response.
· Repaired water and sanitation facilities quickly and furnished emergency healthcare assistance.
· Distributed medical kits containing enough medicine and supplies for 10,000 people for three months.

· Stay In the tent!!!!!
· I wept when I read the Crowley’s Chronicles.
· I never realized how young the Marines fighting are.
· We laughed and we cried while reading the Chronicles.
· This is something I really want to keep. It’s one thing to read in newspapers and magazine coverage about Iraq, but reading what Tim writes brings it so close.
· I am still thinking about your brother’s moving “Chronicles”. A far different attitude than my own journals from Vietnam.
· I did chuckle when I read about burning the poop. The GI that had that job in Vietnam had no other duty and was left alone since it was so hard to find someone who could do the job. In spite of having Vietnamese labor to help do the work most guys would heave their guts out after a couple of hours of doing that job. So you see it was very hard on the unit when that person would rotate back to the states and we would have to find someone else to take the job. Of course everyday he would haul his collection out to the airstrip and dispose of it by pouring aviation fuel, JP4 as it was called, on it and lighting it up. As long as the wind was blowing the right way and there was no shift everything was okay. If you were pulling guard duty in a bunker on the perimeter of the base camp that was near the burn site it could be a little distasteful for a while… Whoa- quick flash backs!
· I was in Florida visiting my mom and dad and I read the Crowley Chronicles. I was very moved by the things you wrote about. Before I read your stories I kept thinking why are we still in Iraq and so many of our young men and women are dying. Well then I read this from you. Many people do not realize the real reason we are fighting over here in the Middle East-if the President did not take the war here we would be fighting it in the Unites States.
· First let me tell you how much we enjoy getting Crowley's Chronicles. You give a vivid, powerful picture of the lives of the people over there that can't be found in any newspaper in the States. I share each edition with my 86 year old father who served in World War II in the Army infantry in both Africa and Italy, then marched on foot to France. He listens as I read each page and slowly nods his head in agreement with a terrible sadness in his eyes. He has seen the things you are now seeing. Technology changes over time, but not the human suffering. Many times, he'll stop me to tell a long-forgotten story about a memory from his experience that has been triggered by your words. Whenever I come across a term for a vehicle or piece of equipment or ammunition, he's able to give me a more detailed description and tell me what they used in WW II. Your words have given me an opportunity to look at my father in a different light and have opened discussions that never would have occurred without your Chronicles. I'm deeply appreciative.

Semper Fi,LtCol Tim Crowley

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sad News: A Fallen Marine (via

from the always-exceptional Blackfive, comes this very sad story. remember these Marines, who they were, what they stood (and fought) for.


"the blood-juice stuffed meat bag that is the human heart"

an exceptional post today from Doc Russia on internal cardiac massage, including the memorable line, "you haven't gone to the outer rim of medicine until you have clutched the blood-juice stuffed meat bag that is the human heart."

a better man than i am. here's to you, devil doc!


Monday, August 08, 2005

Canada's Last VC Recipient; RIP

courtesy of chairman kim comes this story of real warrior (and a real liberty risk, too).

unfortunately, these days our great neighbors to the north aren't as involved in the war as i (for one) would like them to be. though their politics and culture want to try to hold us at arm's length, their military is sharp as a razor.

contrast this state of affairs with WWI and WWII, when they were in it long before we were. it was not uncommon in those times for young Americans to go north of the border to get *in* the fight, not get away from it. i heartily recommend "a rifleman went to war" by capt herbert mcbride. he gave up a National Guard commission to enlist, at a relatively advanced age too, in the Canadian forces in WWI. the soldiers he described were not second-rate and definitely were not looking to avoid a fight. (btw, he also discusses at length the birth of the modern military sniper, as he was in on it. his comments on the military rifleman are still spot-on today.)


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Back In The Saddle

been out of town, apologies for silence on the net.

finally, an update from maj erik peterson out in iraq.

still looking for ltcol tim crowley's 5th edition, but as you know, there's quite a bit going on where he is. i'm sure he'll send it when he's ready.