Geography and Mission
Kilo Company was assigned to guard the northern sector of TAOR Trinity, primarily the north-south Line of Communication known as ASR Chicago. Two outposts along ASR Chicago, OP Omar and OP Mohammed (multiple spellings), formed the company’s initial battlespace: First and Second platoons were stationed at OP Mohammed; Third and Weapons at OP Omar.
During the first month of operations, the company pushed east along the area’s main east-west road, Route Mets, and into the Al Qaeda in Iraq stronghold of Gnather. Enemy activity was moderate, consisting primarily of mortar attacks, IEDs, and the occasional small arms ambush. Enemy mortar teams were gradually eliminated by airstrikes throughout the first two months. The pivotal engagement was an insurgent attack on Kilo Mobile near the village of Halabsa on 19 September 2007 that was decisively defeated.
After clearing Gnather and its adjacent communities by late September, the company settled into a steady state of low-intensity patrolling that characterized the rest of the company’s deployment. The primary mission switched to presence patrols, census operations, searching for weapons caches, and working with the Iraqi Civilian Watch (ICW), led by Colonel Salaam, to help transition them into an effective police force.
In early 2008, OP Mohammed was decommissioned and the entire company was consolidated at OP Omar for the remainder of the deployment.
Commanding Officer: Captain Jaisun Hanson
Executive Officer: 1st Lieutenant John Burke
First Sergeant: 1st Sergeant Michael Burke
Company Gunnery Sergeant: Gunnery Sergeant C. Eubanks
Forward Air Controller: Captain D. Stevens
Staff Sergeant C. Coe
Sergeant A. McKinnon
Corporals C. Fox, B. McBride, J. Pudvan, and L. Sanmiguel
Lance Corporals R. Cruz, E. Hooks, M. Leonguerrero, J. Orozcogrijalva, Justin Palmer, M. Rippons, and J. Warren
Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman First Class R. Borjon and Hospital Corpsman Third Class Andrew Hamilton
1st Lieutenant Maurice Chapman and Staff Sergeant Andy Darnell Jr
Sergeant N. Overman
Corporals W. Haberman, B. Morris, E. Scruggs, and D. Tsvetkov
Lance Corporals D. Allmon, C. Baker, V. Correa, J. Chavez, N. Clymer, T. Crose, S. Ehrke, K. Enser, J. Floyd, Z. Gilstrap, C. Guardado, J. Holbrook, D. Lancaster, G. Mammolito, E. Nevin, W. Nolan, A. Patterson, M. Pavka, D. Penrose, D. Piele, J. Redding, T. Riel, R. Seely, J. Tefft, F. Velazquez, J. Williams, J. Wise, Joe Wrightsman, and K. Zingo
Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman Third Class (Fleet Marine Force) N. Ramos, Hospitalman K. Newton, Hospitalman Apprentice J. Starnes
2nd Lieutenant J. Kite and Staff Sergeant A. Guerrero
Corporals J. Roman, J. Shepherd, and D. Worley
Lance Corporals C. Allen, M. Baird, M. Bevins, J. Bugg, J. Castillo, Sean Conroy, J. Cobb, S. Green, E. Haiser, C. Houston, C. Kelley, R. Kempainen, M. Larusso, J. Leopold, M. McCutcheon, D. McFadden, M. Mills, B. Ortiz, C. O’Shea, H. Ritter, D. Rogers, W. Savey, A. Spaulding, D. Stainer, D. Thornton, J. Timothy, R. Tuthill, J. Untalan, R. Viola, and J. Wheeler
Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman Third Class E. Bonfiglio and Hospitalman Apprentice P. Mcglaughlin
1st Lieutenant Nicholas Smith and Staff Sergeant Matthew Nagel
Sergeant C. Lotz
Corporals Matthew Hathaway and S. Manera
Lance Corporals C. Brasseaux, M. Brown, T. Collins, J. Daunhauer, J. Dykman, R. Fardoulis, J. Goff, J. Kinney, R. Lockamy, J. Marzano, Samuel Mincey, C. Moreno, A. Olson, B. Orsbone, J. Patterson, S. Rohweder, J. Salter, E. Shick, Ray Spencer, N. Standford, J. Skelley, C. Small, W. Stockton, C. Stuhr, E. Thomas, A. Vas, T. Vestal, Michael Wehmeier, J. Webb, R. Wells, P. Wright, and R. Yerokhin
Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman Third Class (Fleet Marine Force) K. Smith and T. Beasley
1st Lieutenant B. Seidl and Staff Sergeant A. Butler
Sergeant Kristopher Giuranna
Corporals Hugh List, S. Lynch, and R. Szumigala
Lance Corporals J. Allen, B. Allen, J. Alvarado, J. Bernard, D. Boudreaux, M. Cass, J. Chen, R. Cooey, S. Curtis, G. Davis, L. Dennis, J. Duranvillalpando, R. Gamez, M. Gladney, M. Guillen, C. Holsten, J. Hurst, M. Lee, A. McSwain, K. Nwosu, R. Pinilla, S. Preston, V. Sirianni, P. Sullivan, B. Thibodeaux, P. Treloar, T. Vladic, T. Waters, and R. Zahorik
Corpsmen: Hospital Corpsman Second Class (Fleet Marine Force) and S. Fearnside and D. Provost
Kilo Mobile Section
Staff Sergeants Hector Sotorodriguez and Hector Fernandez
Corporals N. Brenner, C. Fox, E. Horton, and A. Kitlas
Lance Corporals M. Bischoff, R. Clarke, S. Gallagher, W. Gatton, J. Howard, J. Meyer, C. Prewett, J. Wilburn, and O. Zaragoza
Corpsman: Hospital Corpsman Third Class (Fleet Marine Force) A. Mooney
Friends and Family of Kilo Company, a salam al lakum! See, we’re already going native.
Going into the month of September the temperature has thankfully begun to drop. What that basically means is that instead of it being 120 degrees Fahrenheit it is a mere 105 now. We like to keep it just warm enough to melt boot leather. Iraq being the kind of place it is we don’t expect a comfortable transition into winter but instead that the temp will just suddenly drop out the bottom and paralyze us where we stand. You’ve all seen the movie Day After Tomorrow?
Of course, at least the cold weather will cut down on the various flesh devouring insects that inhabit the area. Some of you may be familiar with the humming bird sized mosquitoes that may be found in the Carolinas or in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Here we have these tiny little beasts that are composed entirely of wings and teeth. They are so insidious that you don’t even realize you’ve been bitten until you look down and notice your arm is missing.
Since getting out here we have hit the ground running and our first 30 or so days have ticked by rather quickly. Here’s an article from a reporter that stayed with us for a while on what your Marines are up to out here. http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/058uctlq.asp
Let’s see, some other highlights of this past month include confronting the evils of administrative procrastination, rubbing elbows with real live sheiks, and threatening my cooks with grievous bodily harm if I ever see another plate of spaghetti and meat sauce again this deployment. Not that pasta in and of itself is a bad thing but three
times in one week is liable to get some cooks hurt. We have broken the code on breakfast however. Right now my favorite breakfast involves a corndog in appearance confection that is a sausage wrapped in blueberry pancake on a stick. Yummy.
One of our Lieutenants decided to celebrate his promotion by running full tilt into a concrete wall in the pitch darkness. Whatever it was he was doing, he thought it was important that’s for sure. He’s fine, but I no longer allow him to run with scissors either. I encourage everyone to send a care package that includes band aids and a flash light. Some things just don’t grow old with the retelling.
The SgtMaj of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj Kent ate lunch with some of our NCOs recently. He recognized one of our Cpls with a SgtMaj’s coin for being appropriately belligerent to medical personnel when he refused to be sent back to the States for a broken wrist after executing a graceful triple back flip out of the back of a 7 ton truck. Not sure how that works. Last time I was belligerent to anyone I got a punch in the mouth.
We’d like to thank everyone who has been supporting us with packages and letters from home. Especially all the former Marines and their families and the families of those who have lost loved ones in the service. The superhero bed sheets are really cool. It’s good to know that there are still some red blooded Americans out there.
1stSgt Michael S. Burke
Kilo Co 1stSgt
3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines
Cpl: Jose O. Roman
LCpl: Bryan D. Allen, Jamel L. Allen, Cruz J. Baker, Michael L. Bevins, James L. Chavez, Sean M. Curtis, Graham G. Davis, Sean M. Gallagher, William J. Gatton, Mario N. Guillen, Cameron W. Holsten, Devon B. McFadden, Samuel L. Mincey, Christian Moreno, Andrew R. Olson, Brad L. Orsbone, Jason W. Salter, John P. Skelley, Chad E. Stuhr, Jason C. Tefft, Andrew P. Vas, Jeffrey A. Wilburn, Josh N. Williams, Rostislavo Yerokhin
LCPL Jordan L. Howard and family. It’s raining babies around here!
Congratulations to Sgt Hector Fernandez for being recognized as the Battalion Non-Commissioned Officer of the quarter and then stomping on over to Regiment and being selected as the Regimental Non-Commissioned Officer of the quarter! Eer-ah!!!!
One month in Iraq. Two months in Iraq. Three! Three months in Iraq!! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! [Queue thunder and lightning]
Friends and family of Kilo 3/3, welcome to the special Halloween edition of Kilo Joe, real American heroes. This month, your last and only source of all American ruggedness celebrates All Hallows Eve with a costume party! Unfortunately, we all dressed up as combat Marines. There were some guys who came dressed as insurgents but I guess they felt a little unwelcome and decided to leave. I have no idea what would give them that impression.
As we crept ominously through the month of October strange and unsettling things began to occur around our area of operations. Sightings of the elusive Chupa Cabra increased. I’m not kidding either. Our air guys claim to have spotted this creature skulking through the streets of Kharmah. No really! What was initially reported as an attack by flesh eating zombies turned out to be a squad of Marines getting up early to go stand post. What a bummer, nothing like a good early morning zombie brawl to kick the day off right. There were a number of reports of the wolfman stalking the FOB but once the Company XO put his shirt back on the villagers took their pitchforks home without incident.
This month also marked the founding of the Kilo Gentlemen’s Club. This exclusive association sponsors a number of activities for men of distinguished taste in an effort to cultivate a more refined atmosphere around the FOB. These include mustache grooming, cigar smoking, and Chupa Cabra catch and release programs.
Due to the efforts of your Marines, schools in our neighborhood have begun to reopen much to the horror of the local children and the delight of their parents. We have given out all kinds of school supplies, toys, and enough candy to keep Iraqi dentists employed for years. Thanks to the conduct of our men, the local people enjoy a measure of security they have not had in a long while. Rest assured that Company K continues to give a first rate performance. They are doing good things out here. They are winning.
1stSgt Michael S. Burke
Certificate of Commendation – PFC Roberto Cruz.
WEB PAGE INPUT
Season’s greetings and mele kalikimaka!!
Counterinsurgency is always interestin’
In the land where the heat is blisterin’
It’s a beautiful sight
I’m all dressed up for a fight
Walking ‘round in ballistic underwear
December is a month that always reminds me of things like caroling, sleigh rides, partridges, pear trees, and keeping the free world safe for democracy.
The weather is beginning to turn rather brisk and at some point I’m sure we will begin to wonder if we were better off broiling rather than freezing. The good news is that the mosquitoes that drank our blood by the gallon have decided to hibernate. They have been replaced by an army of field mice that much like your in-laws, have moved in for the holidays and feel no compunction to leave. I was sitting down eating chow the other day and one of them pulled up a chair and asked if I was going to finish my biscuits and gravy.
The temperature does lend itself to the season and you can see me in the picture above opening boxes to hand out to the Marines. The support from home has been phenomenal. Packages, Christmas stockings, and other seasonal essentials continue to flow in. We’ve gotten stacks of comic books, socks, shirts, goodies, and most importantly coffee and cigars. God bless America! How about some mouse traps too?
Of course, during this time of year we just can’t get our hands on enough garland, tinsel, and other decorations. I have to have something to keep the men busy otherwise I’ll blink my eyes and find the Marines have built a nativity scene complete with local Iraqi shepherds and live animals wandering around the berthing area.
Your Marines have been doing a lot of good out here. Shepherds are abiding in the fields, local shops and markets are blossoming and people are returning home. We’ve even opened another school in our area. Santa likes it when we do that. Your support has had a much larger impact on the bigger picture than many of you will ever know.
Jolly Ol’ 1stSgt Burke
Promotions for Nov/Dec:
PFC Thibodeaux, LCpl Boudreaux, LCpl Gamez, LCpl Nwosu, LCpl Sirianni, LCpl Zahorik, LCpl Dennis, Cpl Kitlas, Cpl Szumigala, Cpl Tzvetkov, HM3 Bonfiglio, Cpl Haberman – Meritoriously yeah!, HM2 Provost, Sgt Giuranna, Sgt Kreitzer – Meritoriously!
Awards: SSgt Sotorodriguez – Navy Commendation Medal
Happy New Year! This year Kilo Company has resolved that if at all possible we will only deploy to warm weather climates. That means if the Scandinavians have an insurgency then they are straight out of luck. Sorry fellas.
The Christmas dinner went over merrily and with good cheer. Our supporters sent enough gifts and goodies to give all the Marines something two times over. There was so much steak, chicken, turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and a wide selection of fat pills that we all hit the rack in a food coma that night. It really was an obscene amount of food and the Marines all enjoyed a meal and a good time with their comrades.
It actually snowed out here last week. Of course upon reaching the ground it immediately melted and what was formerly known as moon dust is now what we call moon glue. It’s not all bad though. When we come in from the elements we eliminate the whole problem of getting mud all over the floor by just sticking our boots right on the ceiling instead. There is so much muck stuck in the soles of my boots that I now stand at a commanding height of just over six feet and cut a rather impressive figure if I do say so myself.
How a place that is renowned for its oppressive heat can generate such bitterly cold wind I will never know. There is nothing as bracing as a blast of freezing wind blowing right up your shorts let me tell you. The only exception perhaps would be lathering up in the shower trailer when the hot water decides to quit. If that’s not enough to make a praying man out of you I don’t know what is. I never knew I had so many sopranos in the company until winter set in.
As the icy fingers of winter close into a fist around the OP we often think of the tropical shores we left behind. But we’re not done here yet. Your Marines continue to conduct operations in order to undermine the efforts of the forces of evil. Their hard work is paving the way for a final transition into the hands of a legal Iraqi authority. Schools are open, the markets are doing business, and people are sleeping peaceably tonight in Kharma town. The example set by your sons and husbands has emboldened many of the Iraqi nationals to make a stand against the insurgency and take back control of their neighborhoods.
So if someone back home asks you if you really think what your Marine is doing out here has made any impact, you can look them straight in the face and say, “Darn right.” Then while you’ve got their attention, poke them in the eye and run like you stole something.
1stSgt Michael S. Burke
Promotions: Sgt McKinnon