Heroic last stand
By: Steven G. Xiarhos
Opening by Lance Cpl. Casey Jones, Regimental Combat Team 1
RAMADI, IRAQ (April 29, 2008)
It was a typical quiet morning on April 22, with the temperature intensifying as a bright orange sun emerged high from the horizon.
Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, and Cpl. Jonathan T. Yale, a rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, RCT-1, were standing post, just as they’ve done numerous times before. During a standard length watch in a small checkpoint protected by concrete barriers where they overlooked the small gravel road, lined with palm trees leading to their entry control point.
However, this morning would be different. Quickly it would turn, chaotic then tragic. Two United States Marines would gallantly sacrifice their lives so others could live.
A truck packed with thousands of pounds of explosives entered the area where Haerter and Yale were standing guard. Realizing the vehicles intentions Haerter and Yale without hesitation stood their ground, drew their weapons and fired at the vehicle. The truck rolled to a stop and exploded, killing the two Marines.
In the face of a committed enemy, Haerter and Yale stood their ground, in turn saving the lives of numerous Marines, sailors, Iraqi Policemen, and civilians. Both Marines displayed heroic, self-sacrificing actions and truly lived up to the Corps values of honor, courage, and commitment.
According to official reports the heroic actions of Haerter and Yale’s saved the lives of the 33 Marines and 21 Iraqi Police as well as numerous civilians at the entry control point.
One of the 33 Marines saved that morning was my oldest son Lance Corporal Nicholas G. Xiarhos-age 20.
Despite the loss of two brave Americans during this recent battle in Ramadi, Iraq the situation there is improving. The largest province in Iraq is Al Anbar and it has been under the control of the United States Marine Corps since 2003. The capital of Al Anbar is Ramadi which has a population of approximately 600,000 people. Very soon, control of the area will be turned over to the Provincial Iraqi Government. United States Marines will remain deployed throughout the area to help the people of Iraq maintain security and self governance.
The average daily temperature in Iraq is 135 degrees and it is expected to get hotter over the next two months. Our troops are generally provided with everything they need to be successful as they carry out their mission but they truly appreciate support from their fellow Americans back home. Items such letters or cards of thanks, wet wipes, white, green, or black socks as well as muscle building nutrional supplements like protein powder, protein bars and shakes are in always in high demand.
If you would really like to help support our troops in harms way the men and women of the Yarmouth Police Department in conjunction with Cape Cod Cares for Our Troops is currently conducting a Care Package collection drive. Items can be dropped off at Yarmouth Police Headquarters located at one Brad Erickson Way in West Yarmouth at any time until Saturday, July 19th when all of the items generously donated will be packaged and shipped overseas by a group of dedicated volunteers including a special guest-Christian Haerter of Sag Harbor, New York-the father of fallen Lance Corporal Haerter.
Having just celebrated our great nations Independence Day rest assured that our brave young men and women proudly serving as Airmen, Soldiers, Coast Guardsmen, Sailors, and Marines will continue to do what they do best?fighting our country’s battles and helping those in need all over the world.
Steven G. Xiarhos