Dispatches From Iraq

Received via Mike Sloniker 16 April 2003

From: "Gregory S. Taylor"
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2003 11:24:42 -0700

Subject: Phone Call from Brian

If you've been watching Fox News you know that they have a reporter, Rick Leventhal, currently embedded with my brother's battalion, 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines. This morning Leventhal reported that 2/23 had captured the former UN headquarters in Baghdad. The place was overrun with looters, whom they dispersed.

Apparently the phones there at the old UN are still working, because Corporal Brian Taylor gave us a call today (a bit after 10 AM Chicago/Dallas time, April 10). He tried his wife first but she wasn't home so he called my dad. He only had about 2 minutes. Here is what we learned from him:

1) The Iraqi citizens love them and treat them like kings.

2) 2/23 has been involved in the heaviest fighting of the war, both in An Nasiriyah and Baghdad. His company, Fox Company 2/23, has taken several casualties, one of them KIA and a couple of others gravely injured. [We already knew about the casualties from the news reports.]

3) Spirits are very high.

4) Any time anybody shoots back at all, embedded reporters call it "fierce resistance."

5) Reports from Leventhal that 2/23 is walking the streets intentionally trying to draw fire to smoke out the enemy are false; they are not intentionally exposing themselves to fire, but they are patrolling Baghdad in an attempt to find those that want to fight and then engaging and killing them.

6) Most of their heavy fighting is against the Fedayeen, who are rarely Iraqis but rather volunteers from other Arab countries.

7) The 2/23 and Brian personally (he acknowledged after being asked) are killing the Fedayeen "by the bucketload."

8) Brian captured an Iraqi general himself at a checkpoint. A man trying to get through a checkpoint that they had set up to allow civilians to leave didn't look right to Brian. Brian searched his stuff and found a very ornately engraved plated pistol. The man insisted that he was just a farmer. Brian wasn't having it, so he called over his battalion intelligence officer who actually is a farmer (remember that the 2/23 is all reservists).

The farmer/intel officer said, "Show me your hands." Upon seeing the general's silky smooth hands, he said, showing his own hands, "Those aren't farmers hands; THESE are farmer's hands!" They handcuffed the general who proceeded to bawl like a little girl as they carried him away. Brian later learned that the pistol engravings indicated that it was a gift from Saddam. [PLEASE tell me that he's bringing home that pistol!]

9) Despite the serious nature of the work, Brian is having a lot of fun.

Semper fidelis, brother!

Only a Marine can get shot at and still say he's having fun. Semper Fi indeed!