Ask America’s SgtMaj: Recent Unrest

In the comments of my last post Paul asks: “Is that your previous outfit that’s being sent to Libya? What do you think about the White House leaking the info about them going?”

In answer to the first question, maybe. I was with FASTCENT, meaning FAST Company Central Command. Libya would have not been in of our AO.  Egypt was the easternmost nation in our AO. So they could be coming from FASTEUR or even from Marine Corps Security Force Regiment directly. Since I am no longer in the regiment I can only speculate along with everyone else. I imagine by the time this gets posted we’ll know more.

Here is the coffee mug I got while visiting one of my FAST platoons in Cairo during the “Arab Spring.” They never got over the wall on our watch.

Now, if America’s SgtMaj were running the show, we’d strongly condemn recent attacks on Americans through the liberal use of various munitions, a Marine Expeditionary Unit, and a couple of bulldozers.  This is also the very reason our country is run by civilians and not the military.

In answer to the second question, I would suggest sometimes you want the bad guys to know the Marines are coming. Nothing causes a change in behavior like a heavily armed platoon of Marines praying for a reason to fire machine guns in all directions. During the “Arab Spring” one of the Regional Security Officers in Cairo remarked to my platoon sergeant: “Your men look like fighters.” If the presence of a few predators keeps the rest of the animals in line without bloodshed,  I’m ok with that.

Another picture of my Cairo coffee mug. Notice how peaceful it seems?

What really drives me bonkers is merely months after I left the Middle East behind they decide to lose their minds. Marines are going into harms way and I wish I were among them, as do all right minded American warriors I think.

Semper Fidelis,
America’s SgtMaj

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  1. SGM,
    Yes, we’d “fix the problems.” But the public may not fully understand that we were trained to break things and hurt people.

    I hope the Jarheads going over there are safe and if needed, KICK ASS!

  2. America’s SgtMaj:

    Thanks for responding to my questions so quickly. As with you, I wish that I could go to help adjust their attitude.

    Paul L. Quandt

  3. What angers me the most are the pictures of Ambassador Stevens being dragged through the streets, either dying or dead. I feel like we left him to die, because our government didn’t allow a large enough security detachment.

    I have no idea what the ROE is like, but I’m certain that if the Marines were able to handle things their way the ambassador would still be alive.

  4. Any insight into what actions the Marines were allowed to take (or forbidden to take) in defending the embassies? I haven’t been able to find any info about that in the news reports.

  5. SGM,

    I checked in today with much the same question CenTexTim asked. I know our embassies have USMC on guard and I know the ROE frequently suck, but how the hell did those guys get in there? As you know, our media folks are making the story mostly about “who said what/when/where/why.”

    Your NCO network probably gives you more insight than you can share, but we’d like to hear whatever you can pass along.

    Last I heard, of the 4 KIA, 2 were as yet unidentified. My first thought was they were USMC and the “unidentified” meant the next of kin hadn’t been notified.

    Semper Fi!

  6. In answer to queries about ROEs all I can say is it depends. The ambassador or charge d’ affairs on the ground has final say. You’ll note no one was shot in Cairo this week and there are a number of Marine embassy guards there. All that can be said for sure is they are allowed to defend themselves if they feel their lives are in danger. Also keep in mind they know what their ROEs are so it’s not like they are standing around in the dark.

    To my knowlege, Benghazi had no Marine guards. So I couldn’t say who any of the unidentified are. Also know that if I actually knew something which hadn’t been reported I wouldn’t say anything here. In 2011 I pretty much kept my mouth shut about our missions until they were long over.

    As far as FAST capabilities I can say they are all ninjas and are able to shoot laser beams from their eyes.

  7. One thing to keep in mind when people are wondering “where were the Marines?” is that the main purpose of Marine Security Guards is not to protect the embassies. It’s to prevent the compromise of classified material.

  8. “What really drives me bonkers is merely months after I left the Middle East behind they decide to lose their minds.”

    There might be a connection there. Maybe you should be folded into the Official Policy ™ on that AO?

    “Marines are going into harms way and I wish I were among them, as do all right minded American warriors I think.”

    Of course you wish so, sir. It’s that Semper Fi thing. Most of us get it in the gut every time the news crops up bloody and our guys are going over “there” wherever there is.

    It only gets worse as you get older too.

    – Grimmy

  9. Coffee, judging by the looks of things, we’ll be in conflict with these people for a long time indeed.

    Stan, thanks. S/F

    Female Marine, true. I didn’t mention it but part of my training as an embassy guard was the destruction of classified material to keep it out of the hands of evil doers.

    Grimmy, yeah, sigh…

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