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Utah Marines Reflect On Iraq Invasion

Utah Marines Reflect On Iraq Invasion

Posted - Mar. 17, 2004 at 10:28 p.m.



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Jed Boal reporting One year ago, American troops were poised on the border of Iraq awaiting orders to invade.

Among them, a unit of Marine reservists: Half from Nevada. Half from Utah.

They hardly knew the role they would play.

The marines of the Fox Company 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines are staying sharp with plenty of training, like the rescue of a wounded soldier.

A year ago...they were in Kuwait ready to go on attack in Iraq. Getting ammo, last minute training and wondering.

Staff Sgt. Dustin Saxton/Fox Company: You always know the possibility is there to be in a bad situation, but when you get there...it's all kind of muscle memory and you do your job."

Their job?

Part of the main thrust Into Iraq, they ran the gauntlet through An Nassariyah.

1st Sgt. Nick Lopez/Fox Company: “The closest thing to real war we've experienced. Both sides exchanged fire from the get-go."

They moved through Al Garrath and on to Baghdad.

Several long gun battles, short on food ammo and water.

1st Sgt. Nick Lopez/Fox Company: “You can't put into words how close these guys are...they continued to fight as brothers up into Baghdad."

One marine was killed...more than a dozen more were evacuated with wounds.

Lance Cpl. Roger Anderson on foot patrol in Baghdad ran into the Republican Guard...a grenade landed three feet from him.

This shrapnel tore into his right arm...at first he was too busy helping another marine...

Lance Cpl. Roger Anderson/Fox Company: “I turned my arm over and it was covered in blood and that's when I realized I was hit."

Lance Corporal Justin Skolmoski was shot in the head, and knocked out.

Lance Cpl. Justin Skolmoski/Fox Company:”It felt like somebody took a baseball bat and hit me right in the head."

The A-K 47 round pierced his helmet, but trapped in the liner.

They fought through the early battles and came home at the end of May.

Sgt. Jeff Ewart/Fox Company: “There's just a bond there that's hard to explain...you just gotta feel it."

So Fox Company trains...ready to go again if called.

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