Hello from a Navy Man
I’m not a Marine, but love ’em all. I’m active duty Navy, an E-6 (Petty Officer 1st-class, electronics technician). I’ve served for 15 years on small boys (destroyers, cruisers) and have been involved in missile launches on Baghdad in the past as well as counter-drug ops in Colombia. I went to shore duty in 2001 to Pensacola Naval Hospital and was assigned as OIC for front gate security. I had the good fortune of getting some quality gun qualifications and gun-range fire with the Marines in charge of security at NAS Pensacola. In 2003, I was informed that I was now the leading petty officer for communications and the LAN for Fleet Hospital 3 (FH-3) – and we flew into Kuwait just two weeks before the war. We were based at Camp Luzon just 4 klicks from Camp Iwo Jima where the Marines were watching the northern horizon and waiting to go to war. My small comms team and I hooked up with the 48th MWCS and we all started to get to know one another and get our equipment ready for the push north. On day 4 of the war, our advance party headed north into that now notorious sandstorm. We ended up near Basrah, and setup a 116-bed tent hospital in less than 4 days (vice the planned 6) and our comm unit had buried miles of cable for computers and phones as well as the security perimeter. I just wanted to acknowledge GySgt Hansen and SSgt Brown for accepting me into the band of brothers – which I considered a great, high honor. Gunny and I still email back and forth, since we’re both close in age (mid-40s) and shared some of the desert hardships together. While at FH-3 Camp Viper, I had the privilege of “bumping” into the 8th Armored out of Ft. Knox, Ky and got acquainted with SSgt Kamper. I was able to get he and some of his men to my laptop and they were able to send email messages home – the first time their families had heard from them in 2 months. Most of the Navy guys I was with just had a hard time adjusting from the soft, cushy lifestyle found onboard a Navy ship but I loved being with the Marines. I guess it helped that I was a country boy from western Kansas and being in the “bush” helped. I’ve got loads of pictures, and here are a few to share.
The hospital treated around 1,100 Marines, Iraqi EPWs and displaced civilians, and didn’t lose any Marines that came in wounded. Sadly, though (but with great honor), around 30 Marines were delivered deceased by the medivac helicopters. We had a touching ceremony honoring the fallen heroes with the 48th Marine color guard. I have a few pictures of that too, but I didn’t know if I could send it with this – too big of a file.
By the way, I received your web page from a Marine wife, whose husband was a Vietnam vet and now deceased. I got to know her via others who I had emailed. Her son, Anthony, is a Marine and stationed at NATTC, NAS Pensacola as an instructor there for Marine aviators. Thanks for this webpage, and God bless you and God bless all the Marines that have served and died for their country. It’s just an honor to have served with them over in Iraq and if I’m called to go back, the first thing I’d ask is…”AM I GOING TO BE WITH THE MARINES? IF NOT, WHY NOT? SEMPER FIDELIS!”
ET1(SW) Weylin W. Wendt