After the 31st MEU(SOC) pulled out of Fallujah, we had a brief opportunity to get ourselves together. We had lost a significant number in the city, many more injured. Bravo Company had 10 dead and many injured, but the other companies had lost Marines as well in the fight. After we arrived on Camp Al-Asad, we got tasked with conducting mounted combat patrols up and down the various MSR’s around the Anbar province. Gold, bronze, Uranium, and the others.
During this time, our Charlie company was set to go and settle in a FOB outside the next big insurgent owned city called “Hit.” While being flown up, one to of the helicopters crashed, taking the lives of 25 or 26 of our Marines. It was horrible. Our whole battalion was hit hard by this event. It got reported quite heavily back home. Charlie company had lost a whole platoon. it was terrible.
After this incident, we still continued to conduct operations through out the Operations Area. We posted up security for the first Iraqi Elections. Bravo Company was setup around the polling place in Lil’ Baghdaddi, Iraq. We took some mortar fire for a brief moment, but other than that, things went smoothly. This period was rather simple, but everyone felt a bit on edge. We had been extended on our deployment to cover this operation, so we were at month 9 at this point if I remember right. We all knew it was gonna happen, and none of us wanted to leave the fight in Fallujah to go home early, so we all knew what it meant.
After completing this operation (Al Fajr I think?), we then loaded up and made our way back down to Kuwait for our “Cool down’ period. We spent a month on Camp “Victory”, Kuwait. This was a wise idea honestly. We spent about 30 days doing nothing but just relaxing and calming down after this massive battle we had just participated in. This period consisted of a variety of briefs, counseling, and other minor events to just cool down and relax. Wasn’t all too bad.
We then loaded back up on the ships. We had our boats back and as we returned to the ship, the crew of the Juneau was wonderful to us. The welcomed us aboard with a big celebration. The crew was told to leave us alone, but Bravo company showed ourselves to not be too terribly phased by the ordeal. We all got along well enough. We made a stop in Thailand for our little “Vacation” there before heading back to Okinawa. After about month there, we then flew back to Hawaii.
Once we returned home, we got 30 days of leave.
To say the least, this was with out a doubt the most incredible experience of my life. The period from July 2004 to May 2005 made out to be the scariest, craziest, most wild and yet most memorable experience of my life. I am honored and will always be honored to say that I served with the incredible men of the 31st MEU(SOC), most importantly, the warriors of Bravo Company. I will always remember those guys, chief among them, the two guys 2nd platoon lost in the fight, and the 8 brothers Bravo company lost to that IED attack. The brother of the battle of Fallujah will never forget that battle. The other battalions lost a great number of good men. Medals were awarded for some incredible acts of Valor. I hope to one day return to that city. Preferably in a time of peace.