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||REVIEW: Generation Kill – Part Two
The Cradle of Civilization
Richard S. Lowry [author] 7/22/08
In part two, The Cradle of Civilization, Ed Burns' and Eric Wright's credibility started to erode. While the series remained visually stunning and the characters seemed like real Marines, the story started to stray from the truth.
When it comes to the battle for Nasiriyah, I will probably end up being Burns' and Wright's worst critic. I know too much about that fight to be dazzled by their literary license. The Generation Kill story is unfolding to be quite an adventure and we still cannot tell which direction the writers will be taking us. It appears that they will portray 1st Recon's enlisted Marines as gruff good guys and officers and other units as lacking in courage, intelligence and morals. Last night, I was particularly offended by the implication that 2d LAR indiscriminately killed civilians north of Nasiriyah. I was also disgusted with the distortion of the truth in the events surrounding the fight in Nasiriyah.
Let's start with March 23, 2003. The day Task Force Tarawa attacked into Nasiriyah. All of our 1st Recon "heroes" were stuck in the traffic jam, south of the city. Eleven soldiers and eighteen Marines were killed in, and around, Nasiriyah that day and about twenty Marines were wounded. Captain Eric Garcia flew the last CASEVAC at sunset. There were no other casualty evacuations that night. It was horrible to lose twenty-nine Americans in a single fight, but the number of casualties was nowhere close to the 200 claimed in Generation Kill.
Which leads me to 24 March; when our 1st Recon "heroes" arrived at the Euphrates River Bridge, there was quite a fight going on. This is absolutely true, but it was the 2d Battalion, 8th Marines, not RCT-1, that got into a large scrap at the bridge that day. The fight did not erupt until after LtCol Eddie Ray had taken his 2d LAR Battalion through "Ambush Alley." By the way, not a single shot was fired when Ray charged through the city. 2/8 sustained a few injuries in their fight, but none were serious. There was never an artillery friendly fire incident at the river. No Marines were wounded or killed by friendly artillery fire. I challenge the writers to support this claim.
It is very true that Colonel Dowdy, RCT-1's commander, hesitated and would not order his regiment through "Ambush Alley." Generals Conway and Mattis were extremely unhappy with his lack of aggressiveness. This was the second of several incidents which caused Dowdy to be the first Marine regimental commander to be relieved on the field of battle. Notwithstanding, the Marines of RCT-2 fought courageously in Nasiriyah. Colonel Ron Bailey, RCT-2's commander, drove through Ambush Alley just after 2d LAR with only a few vehicles to visit his battalion, north of the city.
Godfather 6 concluded last night's installment with a couple disagreeable statements. He claimed that the enemy "stared us down" in Nasiriyah. In fact, the enemy was decimated in Nasiriyah. 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, another Task Force Tarawa battalion, lost eighteen brave Marines because they pressed the attack and did not give up until they had met their objectives which were the two bridges in Nasiriyah. By sunset on the 23rd, both bridges were secure and RCT-2 was waiting for RCT-1 to pass through the city. Again – the war did not revolve around the 1st Recon Battalion.
I studied the battle of Nasiriyah for quite some time. I interviewed nearly one hundred soldiers, sailors and Marines who were actually there in the fight. I am not happy with the way the writers have bent the facts to fit their story and overlooked the courageous stories of men like Major Bill Peeples; Captain Eric Garcia; Lieutenants Fred Pokorney, Brian Letendre, "Ben" Reed and Mike Seely; Sergeant William Schaffer, Corporals Nick Elliot and Pat Nixon and many, many more. Burns and Wright have lost their credibility. I will have a hard time believing anything in the last five segments. CRO
2007 Richard S. Lowry