Da Grunt's Support Team!

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Sunday, 15-Jan-2006 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Commander's Update!

 
15 January 2006

Warlord Family and Friends,

We are two weeks into our New Year and I hope this letter finds you happy and healthy. The Men of Task Force 2/2 continue to perform magnificently and make me proud through their selfless duty. We continue to grow closer to the completion of our deployment and mission accomplishment. Our top priority remains the development of the Iraqi Army. Over the deployment, we have continually worked to develop and improve our fellow battalion, 1-4-1 Iraq Army. They were the first to assume their own battlespace in the Al Anbar Province. Now they have moved to a new and more difficult town, assuming independent control. In doing so, they have shown their character and determination to take control in securing Iraq’s future. This success exemplifies the hard work of the entire Task Force to achieve a significant goal. It required continual, daily dedication to training and mentoring along with original thinking to work through emerging problems. In all cases, the Marines’ performance was fantastic and they can be proud of this accomplishment.

With this achievement, we continue to press hard and keep the enemy on its heels so they don’t have time to catch their breath. Even with the end in sight, we must maintain pressure and remain disciplined and dedicated to the mission. Ours is one piece of a much larger puzzle and we have to do our share so that the Division and Coalition can achieve its goals in Iraq.

I look forward to getting the battalion home and out on some well deserved leave. The leave period will begin somewhere around 21 February and continue to approximately 20 March 2006. The start date will not be firm until after flight dates are validated. As we get closer, we’ll provide greater fidelity on the official leave dates. In that, please do not commit yourself to plans that cannot be changed. I feel safe in saying you can commit to plans with a start date of 28 February and an end date no later than 12 March. Be sure to plan smart in order to get your Marine back from leave on time.

When we return, the Main Body will arrive at Geottge Field House (we’ll post directions on the website). This is a change from last year, when it was at the battalion CP. Camp Lejeune weather in January can be harsh so we are planning on having a warm, dry location big enough for the families and friends to wait for our arrival. Please do not go to Cherry Point in hopes of meeting your Marine there. He will not be allowed to join family and friends until after we all arrive at Camp Lejeune. This is for accountability and security reasons. Please be patient. Upon return, your Warlord will get the rest of the arrival day off as well as the day after arrival. We will then return to work to complete post-deployment requirements. By taking only one day off, we can begin our leave period sooner.

Information on the arrival of the Main Body can be obtained by calling our 1-800 number. We will also publish the number of our Command Post (CP) on this website in our last newsletter, February 1st. At our CP, a Marine will be able to provide an approximate arrival date and time of your Marine or Sailor at Camp Lejeune. You must know his full name.

We are all very excited to get home to our loved ones. It becomes increasingly difficult to think of much else. However, the importance of our deployment and lethality of the enemy keeps our focus on each patrol and mission. I’ll continue to reinforce the importance of remaining vigilant and disciplined down the “home stretch”. Please assist my leaders by reminding your Warlords the dangers of becoming complacent in the final weeks.

Again, I’m pleased to announce another addition to our Warlord family. LCpl Brian Kline and wife Angela are proud to report the birth of their daughter Isabella. I’m happy to say baby and Mom are both doing well. They soon will all be together and we wish them all the very best

It remains my humble pleasure to Command your husbands, sons, brothers and friends. I will never be able to express my appreciation for your support over the course of this demanding and noble deployment. Your generosity and assistance has been overwhelming. A special appreciation goes out to Jayme Alexander, Erin Dixon and their team of KVN coordinators, along with all the Warlord KV’s. You are awesome!! Our final Newsletter will hit the web 1 February. Until then, Take Care and God Bless.


I remain Semper Fidelis,

James J Minick



Monday, 2-Jan-2006 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Commander's Update!

 
1 January 2006

Warlord Families and Friends,

Happy New Year! The Marines of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines rang in the New Year by continuing combat operations. With the world celebrating the turn of a new year, the Marines, Sailors, and families remained vigilant to the continuing operations in Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. I include all of you because families bear a great burden themselves in support of the Marine Corps’ mission. While we have been deployed during five months of 2005, you have been at home supporting us and for that we are grateful. The success of the Global War on Terrorism resides, in part, on the support and hard work of the families back home. You too play a part in this fight to rid the world of terrorism and you bear a great burden yourselves. This burden and the importance of solid support from home are largely unrecognized by those outside the military. I want you all to understand that we know and appreciate that you are every bit the patriot as the Marines and Sailors of this magnificent Task Force.

The most anticipated information of any Newsletter during this deployment will invariably be scoop on return dates. I’m going to qualify all information upfront: 1st- Due to Operational Security I can not be very specific. 2nd - All dates are subject to change due to mission requirements.
Please be tolerant and patient with the conditions we must operate under. Obviously we are making the run towards redeployment and excitement will build quickly. I will continue to remain firm that the Marines and Sailors stay focused on the mission at hand. They will not be allowed to waiver or relax until they are on the plane and flying home to ensure their safety and the success of our mission. With that said, I will give you all the information I can. We expect the advance party to arrive the last week in January and the mainbody Mid-February. We will update the 1-800 number as we get closer to the end of the deployment with specific dates of our return. This is always a frustrating time and I can understand the angst this vague information causes. Nevertheless, for reasons of security we cannot provide complete fidelity on arrival dates.

Of critical importance will be the reunion and subsequent leave and liberty period following our return. I want you all to enjoy the reunion and spend time getting to know one another again. There will be a lot of emotion and it will take some time to adjust to each other and family routines. Patience and understanding by Marines, Sailors and family alike, will be critical so that we all can get back to our regular routines. It is nothing to fear but something to be aware of.

Just as critical will be safety during the leave period. I do not consider our mission complete until all Marines, Sailors and families have returned safely from post-deployment leave. A normal reaction will be to make up for lost time of celebration and attempt to cram more activities into a short time span than reasonable or responsible. Please encourage your Warlord not to overdue his travel plans and TAKE THEIR TIME. Vehicles and alcohol will be of major concern to me and I ask all involved, Marines, Sailors, families and friends, to think twice and to look out for one another. It would be tragic to lose a member of the Task Force after he successfully finished seven months of combat operations in Iraq. Other units returning have suffered such tragedy with Marines killed or seriously injured from preventable accidents due to vehicles and alcohol. Take time to adjust, enjoy the reunion period and remember to celebrate wisely and safely.

Our plan is to conduct a block leave after required transition training is complete at CLNC. The leave period is four weeks long. I expect to publish a ten day period in the next Newsletter that is in the center of the leave period. This will allow families to plan vacation trips and look for good travel deals. From experience I know that schedules can change due to unforeseen events. Please wait until dates and events firm up.

Mail should not be sent to Task Force 2/2. We have reached a point when you risk him not receiving the package or mail before our departure. He will still receive mail but it will be processed here in Iraq and forwarded back to Camp Lejeune, greatly extending the total mailing time by probably four to six weeks. The Camp Lejeune mailing addresses for each company are listed on this website.

I’m pleased to announce the arrival of more “Baby Warlords”. All “Baby Warlords” are special and each one is a terrific Blessing. However, yesterday I learned of one birth that has special significance to many of us. Katherine Cathey, the wonderful wife of the late, 2nd Lieutenant James Joseph Cathey, gave birth to James Cathey Jr. on December 22nd 2005. Although, “Cat” never had the opportunity to hold his son we all know James Jr. has an Angel watching over him. The legacy of this brave “Lieutenant of Marines” lives on in James Jr. Katherine, please know you are special to the Warlord family and you are never forgotten. Congratulations also to 2nd Lt Joseph and Tara Seykora with the arrival of their son Thaden Ty Seykora.

In closing, I want to remind all family and friends we will not allow your Warlord to get distracted from his mission. We must remain vigilant and focused on the threat and mission. Although, nothing sounds more enjoyable than our upcoming reunion, we must stay focused and fight complacency until we are safely out of theater. Please reinforce this message when you communicate with him via phone or email. As always, thank you for your tremendous support during our deployment.

I remain Semper Fidelis,

James J Minick


Friday, 30-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2nd Battalion 2nd Marines Company G December 2005 Newsletter

 
Thought y'all might like to read the December newsletter for Da Boys of Company G! - JHD

2/2 Company G Raiders - December Newsletter

COMMANDING OFFICER’S CORNER

Company G Friends and Family,
It is great pride that I begin this newsletter with the news of the achievements of your Marines. The Marines of Company G, as part of the Coalition Forces in Iraq, helped secure the country of Iraq to facilitate safe and free elections for the people of Iraq. As we are a little “out of the loop” on news and current events and not able to know what is being said in the news, I can confidently tell you the elections were seen as a tremendous success by the people in Al-Karmah, Iraq. Your Marines have helped write a chapter of history that will forever been spoken about in the classrooms all over the world. While, such an achievement has not been without sacrifice, I hope we may all take solitude in knowing those sacrifices were not in vain and that we have truly made a difference for a nation of people that never even knew they could have a choice of government.
As the days and months have gone by, we have all kept a quiet count of the months and days remaining until we would reunite with our loved ones. As that day approaches, I ask for everyone’s understanding of the fact that the actual date of our return will be safeguarded for operational security purposes. As soon as it is safe to release the date, the date will be passed onto your Marines and to you. Currently, we are expected to return on or about the date that we were originally scheduled to return on. I also would like to ask all families and friends to not fall prey to the “rumor mill” of a return date. This will only cause those here and at home confusion about the real date of our return. I apologize for not being able to provide you with more information in which to make plans for the return, but rest assured I will keep you informed as we get more information.
I would also like to extend our “thanks” to all those who have supported us while deployed. The Marines have received a tremendous amount of letters and care packages. I could not have asked for more support for your Marines and it has certainly made life a little more bearable during their times away from family and friends.
I do not know if this letter will be received before Christmas and New Years, but from all the Raiders of Company G, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years. See you soon.
GOD BLESS the USA and Semper Fidelis !

Captain Joel F. Schmidt, USMC


1stSgt’s Corner

The Marines of Company G have relocated to the city of Al Karmah and are now operating from 3 patrol bases known as OP3, Camp Delta, and temporarily the Iraqi Police Station. They completed an enormous amount of work at all three places in order to improve force protection and quality of life. I am impressed daily by the efforts of your sons and husbands. As a result of their tireless efforts the National Elections were a huge success and we had over 70 % voter turn out in our area of operations.
We would like to send our best wishes for a Merry Christmas and all are looking forward to our return in the New Year.
Congratulations to the following Marines that were promoted to their present rank on December 1st: Corporal’s Dix, Perry, Groves, Westfall, Mendoza, and Park. Lance Corporal’s Brush, Burdick, and Boggs, M. In addition we frocked Hospital Corpsman Third Class McMillan and Nieves to their present rank. Corporal Jesse Hill (G4) was promoted meritoriously on December 2nd. 1stLt Mulvaney, LCpl Brooks, and LCpl Csira were awarded the Purple Heart medal.

"This country was founded and built by people with great dreams and the courage to take great risks."


Operations and Events

As December comes to and end and I begin to summarize how much the Marines did during the past month, I can hardly believe we were able to do it all. We participated in four battalion-level operations, managed to significantly improve the force protection and quality of living conditions at our new OPs, train with and incorporate the Iraqi Army Battalion into the city of Al-Karmah, and continued to maintain a very intensive patrolling schedule in order to provide security to the people of Al-Karmah, Iraq.
During the first couple of weeks in December the Marines focused on conducting operations that disrupted the enemy within our new AO of Al-Karmah, Iraq. Part of the disruption of the enemy in our AO includes conducting combat patrols of the streets and alleyways of Al-Karmah in order to show the people they are safe from enemy intimidation. As a result of our patrolling efforts we have seen the local people begin to assist us in attempting to capture the enemy. It is a very difficult to convince the people to help us due to their fear of reprisal from the enemy, but we have made significant headway in interacting with the people in order to help them provide security for themselves.
Our efforts during the first weeks of December were successful well beyond our expectations. The people of Al-Karmah, despite the enemy’s best efforts, came out in record numbers to vote for their national leadership. We conducted several patrols during the day of elections at it was a amazing to see how proud the people were of their inked fingers, signaling that they voted.
In addition to the successful elections, Company G has been working with the 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Division (1-4-1) of the Iraqi Army in order to prepare them for assuming their own AO within our Battalion’s AO. This is a monumental achievement for the Marines of Company G, the Battalion, the United States of America, and Iraq because it is a sign that the Iraqi Army is gaining proficiency and is preparing to take over the security of their own nation.
I am also happy to mention that your Marines were able to get their first break in a couple of months by returning to Camp Fallujah for more than just a few hours. Their return to Camp Fallujah allowed them to get a warm shower, hot chow in a chow hall, have access to computers and phones, and generally just relax a little bit. It was a well deserved break, and one that we should be able to maintain, so they are only out in the AO for about 8 days at time, then back at Camp Fallujah for four days. Again, a well deserved break.
As our date of return gets closer, I will continue to get more current information back to the Raiders’ families and friends about our date of return. I know all the Marines look forward to returning to the Good Old USA and spending time with family and friends.
.
SEMPER FIDELIS !


KV Corner

I am very pleased to announce the birth of James Jeffery Cathey Jr. He was born on December 22, 2005. Weighing 7 lbs 10 oz and is 21 inches long. Mom and son are both doing well. Many have expressed their want to donate to the family and I will be glad to forward on any gift cards, checks, or gifts to Katherine Cathey. Please send them to my home address at 304 King Richard Court Jacksonville, NC 28546.

Time is getting closer to our Marines coming home! ? I am sure you are as excited about this as my children and I! I know it is difficult to not have an exact date, especially for those not here in Jacksonville. I also wanted to let everyone know that stop mail for our men will be on January 1st. I know that this news may be getting to you late, but I received it after the last newsletter went out. Sorry for this. I hope some of you have already heard this due to the marine parents web sight or from hearing it from others.

Please remember that Extreme outfitters in Jacksonville has a lot of Raider clothing and hats at a discounted price to family members. If you would like to show your support to our Raiders by wearing their logo for the homecoming this is the place to get it. Their phone number is (910) 355-2118.

I would like to thank everyone who sent me Christmas cards. I enjoyed reading all the wonderful words you have written me. I feel honored to help with this newsletter and be a support to the families of these fine warriors. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way in the future. May your New Year be filled with happiness and prosperity. God Bless you and yours,
Lisa Beth Schmidt


Comments from the Crowd

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” – LCpl Pope, LCpl Taylor
“Roll Tide” – LCpl Maples
“Perfection is just a drink away, Happy New Year” – LCpl Rogers
“Shakamaku” – LCpl Story
“Thank you for supporting us and Merry Christmas” – Sgt Bynum
“Raiders” – LCpl Brooks
“Happy Holidays” – LCpl Powell, LCpl Wilhelm, LCpl Marx, HN Hinson, LCpl Minks, HM3 Creager, Pvt Garcia, LCpl Lichty, LCpl Mullins, LCpl Nathaniel, LCpl Griffith, LCpl Milrot, and LCpl Walton.
“Happy Holidays and have a great year, love ya mom” – Justin (LCpl Herrington)
“Wishing you were here, just kidding, see you soon” – Lt Welch
“Well at least this year I have a real excuse not to visit the in-laws. War Eagle!” – SSgt Steiner
“Go Bangels” – Cpl Westfall
“Holidays are about celebrating with those you love. We are in your hearts and mind, that’s all you need to celebrate the holidays.” – Sergeant Donnelly
“I hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” – Cpl Giusiti
“I would like to wish everyone back home a Happy Holidays” – LCpl Patterson
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All” –LCpl Jacquemin
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Kristen, Mom, Dad, Nick, Kelly, and Grandma.” – LCpl Corder
“The envious hate the excellency they cannot achieve.” – Cpl Wade\"
“Merry Christmas Everyone” – LCpl Woods
“Dear Family, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Love you and miss you.” –Austin Collom
“Happy New Years and Reyes to Santiago Family.” –Cpl Santiago
“Merry Christmas to all.” –LCpl Muentes
“Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.” –Green, J.K
“Merry Christmas to all and all your family.” –Terrano, P.M.
“Merry Christmas to the Kefalides family, I miss and love all of you.” –Kefalides, N.G.
“Merry Christmas. Wish you were here with me.” –Morgan, T.W.
“Merry Christmas, where’s the mail.” –Wallace, L.A.
“To my beautiful wife Amanda, Merry Christmas! I love you babe !” Love, Tim Devine


Monday, 26-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
James Cathey, Jr. arrives!

Introducing James Cathey, Jr.
The 2nd LT and Katherine
2nd LT James Cathey, Sr.
Katherine Cathey delivered her bouncing baby boy the other day. James Cathey, Jr! What a good lookin' little rascal he is. Ya' done good Kat and God Bless You and little James!

Be sure to check out the site. It has some really great video of Mom and the Newbie! - JHD

http://cbs4denver.com/topstories/local_story_360124608.html

Dec 26, 2005 1:34 pm US/Mountain


War Widow Finds Christmas Gift In Newborn Son

Bill Stuart
Reporting

(CBS4) DENVER A woman who lost her husband in the Iraq war gave birth to their son a couple weeks before his due date. The early Christmas present brought hope and joy after a year of war and tragedy.

The baby will never meet his father. The father will live in this Christmas gift, sent to comfort grieving hearts on earth.

"I've been kind of afraid that once I had him I would get even more upset about Jim having passed away, but having him has actually helped me," Katherine Cathey, a widow and mother said.

Second Lt. James Cathey, Katherine's husband, died one month after he arrived in Iraq. He was killed instantly when he entered a booby trapped building ahead of the Marines under his command. Two days later, his wife Katherine learned that their baby would be a son.

Before Jim was buried, Katherine Cathey spent the last night with her husband. When she closed his coffin, she placed an ultrasound picture of their baby over his heart.

The baby was not due until Jan. 1. Early in the week before Christmas his mother and grandmother felt something was not right so they went into the hospital.

"They got a heartbeat when they put the monitor on but they weren't sensing that he was moving at all," Katherine said. "I was very scared."

Doctors rushed Katherine into the operating room.

"They all for the most part knew I had lost my husband and I couldn't go through losing the baby too," Katherine said.

After an emergency caesarean section, James Cathey Jr. (Jimmy, for short) arrived strong and healthy. He was an answer to so many prayers.

"I just looked at his face and that's when I started crying because I thought he's so beautiful," Katherine said. "I really feel like Jim has watched over me and the baby a lot."

Jim was the kind of son who would make any family proud. He graduated from CU with honors in just 3 years. He led his men by example. He had a sense of humor and he had a sense of honor. Although he never got the news, he knew in his heart that this baby would be a boy.

"His dad was such an amazing person that if he's anything like his dad he will be an amazing person too," Katherine said.

Jimmy also has an amazing mother.

"She's been so strong," one relative said. "She's been an inspiration to all of us."

Katherine Cathey, a widow before her first wedding anniversary, has a true Christmas gift.

"When Jim would sleep, he did this funny thing with his lips and the baby does the same thing," Katherine said. "I felt, in a way, like I had him back kind of. He makes me really happy. So happy that you cry."

Katherine has made a separate peace far from the battlefield that took her husband and Jimmy's father before his time.

"I'm at peace knowing that my husband loved me very much and I loved him very much," Katherine said. "We brought a child into this world. He's a miracle and he'll be something that will bring joy to my life for the rest of my life."


Saturday, 17-Dec-2005 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Commander's Update!

 
17 December 2005

Warlord Families and Friends,

This letter is late due to operations in support of the National Election. I’m sorry for the delay. I know it seems like time stands still with your Marine or Sailor being gone but it is already mid-December! I remember arriving in Iraq and thinking how far off the constitutional referendum and governmental elections seemed. Now the new Iraqi constitution is complete and a new government is elected from the voting yesterday. Though the results are still pending, voter turnout was very high demonstrating that we have reached initial stages of success in Iraq by allowing the people to exercise democratic rights and decide their own future.

Our mission will continue with the training of the Iraqi Security Forces of the Police and Iraqi Army. They are currently assuming responsibility for more battle space and security. The Iraqi Security Forces will continue to assume greater responsibility and control and will be the ones who ultimately achieve long-term stability for their new government to lead the country into the future. The Iraqi Police continue to improve and they will support the Iraqi Army. Their combined actions will secure the future, ultimately assuming complete responsibility.

We have had a number of media representing agencies from across the world and continue to publish stories. These have been and will continue to be posted onto this website for you to track what the Warlords have been doing.

Even with Christmas Day this week, operations will continue unabated. Despite this requirement, Marines will take time at some point to celebrate and remember family at home. I ask that during this holiday season, you take time to think of each Marine and Sailor and keep them in your prayers. Your support and thoughts arrive daily in the forms of cards, letters and packages. Regularly large amounts of packages arrive on trucks and deposits of their contents are spread throughout the battalion area. Of special note, I would like to thank the efforts of Jayme Alexander who organized our “Secret Santa” project. “Secret Santa” has ensured every Marine and Sailor of the Task Force received a care package during the holiday. I’ve been impressed with the amount of care and love that went into each box. Many Marines and Sailors were mailed packages from complete strangers. Their generosity is matched only by the appreciation of the Warlords they support. Thank You Jayme and all of those who participated.

We have been blessed with more great news on the arrival of new Warlords to our families. My heart and appreciation goes out to these selfless parents who continue to balance the love of their country with the love of their own families.

The following Warlords had recent additions:

HN Roberto and Raquel Pena-Rodriguez Anthony H&S
HM2 Patrick and Natalie McElhinney Cain H&S
Cpl Christopher and Suzanne Johnson Katherine H&S


In closing, I can’t help but mention the magnitude of the professional and dedicated efforts of your Marines and Sailors. I realize it’s often very difficult in a Counter Insurgency (COIN) environment for them to see and measure the strides in progress and mission accomplishment. However, when you evaluate their performance off the priorities of the Task Force, I suggest it becomes vividly clear.

• #1. Train and Develop Iraqi Army (IA) and Iraqi Police (IP)

Our IA’s were the first battalion to assume battlespace in all of Al Anbar Province. They have executed their duties superbly and the level of violence is down and metrics of security vastly improved. We are preparing for increased assumption of battlespace before we finish our tour. The IP’s are firmly entrenched in Karmah and continue to show improvement each day and week.
• #2. Safe and secure October Referendum and December National Election

Both elections went without incident. Perhaps more importantly, the level of voter turnout was greater than in any other area of the Al Anbar Province. This is a reflection of the local populace’s confidence in their security and thirst for some form of Democracy. In my view, Mission complete!

• #3. Capture and Kill the enemy

As stated above, the levels of violence have been significantly reduced. Due to our hot pursuit and tenacious offensive operations, numerous high-value targets have been detained or have fled the country. Task Force 2/2 has over fifty percent of the Regimental Combat Teams detentions and we represent only one of three infantry battalions in that organization.

Simply said, your Warlords are doing magnificent work. They continue to take the fight to the enemy and remain grounded on our Marine Corps core values. We will stay on the offensive and keep the momentum and tempo of operations in our favor. I again thank you for your continued support. Please have a safe and happy holiday and never forget how much we miss you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


I remain Semper Fidelis,

James J Minick


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