From future troop rotations to new weaponry, Marines got their chance to ask any and every question to the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps during their recent visit to Iraq.
In a series of town hall meetings at Marine bases throughout Iraq, General Michael W. Hagee and Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps John L. Estrada, candidly addressed many issues affecting Marines.
Of particular note were answers to questions on rules of engagement
In an environment where the enemy uses white surrender flags to lure coalition forces into an ambush, Marines asked if the current rules of engagement would shift with the changing battlefield.
The rules of engagement depend on the environment and operational commander, said Gen. Hagee.
As a platoon commander during the Vietnam War, Gen. Hagee said that U.S. forces didn’t always abide by rules of engagement. He praised today’s Marines and their adherence to the rules of engagement, especially in an uncertain, dangerous atmosphere.
“I’m extremely proud of the discipline you all have shown,” said Gen. Hagee. “When you need to kill someone, you kill him, but there’s not any indiscriminate killing going on. That is not always easy, especially here in this environment.”
and the XM8
With recent testing of new infantry weapons by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, Marines wondered if they will upgrade from their current M-16A2 or A4 service rifles.
As reported in several military publications, warfighting experts are currently testing the XM8 lightweight assault rifle, a 5.56 mm, 6-pound weapon designed to decrease the combat load and increase mobility on the battlefield.
Although he didn’t rule out future use of the XM8, the M-16A4 with the mounted advanced combat optical gunsite, commonly called “ACOG,” will be the issued weapon for most forward-deployed Marines. Marines engaged in close-quarter combat will operate with the M4 rifle, said Gen. Hagee.
Neither response should surprise MO readers. We know that the US military is doing a great (though not totally perfect 100% of the time) job avoiding unnecessary deaths and that the Marines are not planning on adopting the XM8 rifle any time soon.
Plus, another gem that will be familiar to MO readers — the response to a question about embedded reporters:
“Is it perfect? No,” said Hagee when asked his opinion about the reporters being allowed on the battlefield.
The commandant acknowledged that although the recent embedding of civilian reporters within combat units is not foolproof, it has allowed the public and the media to develop a greater appreciation and understanding of the armed forces.
“The knowledge base within the American (public) about military was not very deep. They have a much better understanding of what you do than they did before because of the embedded reporters,” said Gen. Hagee.
“They (media) get to know you, and you get to know them. You get to understand one another better.”
The commandant also wanted the Marines to distinguish between the reports from embedded reporters and those who are far from the frontlines.
“Most of the articles that appear in the paper that are inaccurate are often from reporters that are not here (with the Marines), or those who have certain political viewpoints,” he said.
Gee. Ya think?
Other topics include troop rotations, Afghanistan and Iraq campaign medals, and retention and career progress. Worth a look.