Skip to comments.[Marine] Combat leader shines in Nasiriyah
Posted on 04/23/2003 5:02:47 PM PDT by COBOL2Java
Combat leader shines in Nasiriyah
Submitted by: 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade
Story Identification Number: 2003422845
Story by Cpl. Shawn C. Rhodes
AN NUMINIYAH, Iraq (Apr. 21, 2003) -- To see him for the first time, you wouldn't expect the 27-year-old man, slim and quiet, to be a battle-tested warrior. The blond hair and blue eyes make him seem like the all-American, probably the star of a small town high school football team in his youth, but his travels have led him around the world.
Cpl. Dana W. Perkins, a team leader with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, had his nerve and courage put to the test when he was faced with a decision, many of us hope we never have to make - to kill a man firing at you and your friends, or risk you and your comrades being killed.
Experiencing combat can be a jarring experience for anyone, but for an infantry leader, the stress is multiplied with each man under him. An infantry leader puts the lives of the Marines under him first and has to worry about their lives and his own. For the Lancaster, N.H. native, the test came quickly and left little time to weigh the options.
"We'd just established our position outside of An Nasiriyah, and immediately started taking fire from the tree line," said Perkins. "I made sure my team was in position, and then sighted in where the fire was coming from."
The 150-pound Marine had the training of an expert marksman, and it was here it was put to the test.
"We saw three people run from where they were firing, and I sighted one in and pulled the trigger," Perkins stated solemnly. "I shot him from 350 yards away, and hit him center mass, in the middle of his chest."
Perkins added that when it comes between him and his Marines; he has no problem pulling the trigger. He would rather see someone shooting at him brought down then to see one of his Marines lying in the dirt.
"Perkins has always been a natural leader, as long as I've known him. He's a little older than most of the Marines in his platoon and he has their trust and respect,' said Staff Sgt. David L. Parker, Perkins' platoon sergeant and native of Indianapolis, Ind. "It's hard to know what to do when the people attacking you aren't in uniform, but Perkins made his decision based on the training he had received, and he made the right choice." Perkins' leaders all agree they have an exceptional Marine on their hands.
"When you judge the quality of a team leader, you can do it one on one, but ultimately it's the performance of the team that counts. Perkins has built an outstanding team," said 1st Lt. Jonathan L. Foreman, Perkins' platoon commander and native of New York, N.Y. "These Marines are placed in a difficult position where a timely decision often means the difference between life and death."
One of the people instrumental in training Perkins is Sgt. Paul A. Wimbush, a native of Clinton, Md., and Perkins' squad leader.
"When I first saw him, I thought 'That boy is country.' But I learned what a good Marine and leader he was, and now he is my right hand man, the backbone of my squad," said Wimbush. "If I had to name anyone else to take my place as squad leader, it would be Perkins, without a doubt in my mind. He makes me proud."
Perkins said his father was a Marine who served in the Korean War. He said his father didn't talk about his time there very much, and he now understands why.
"There's things you see and do in war that are better left where they happened. I know I'm not going to be telling my children about this. All they need to know is I did the right thing."
Perkins said he has learned a lot from the Marine Corps, and it has given him a lot. Along with the discipline and learning experiences, he said it was a great way to get his life started. He has no plans to re-enlist, but is looking forward to returning to and spending time with his wife.
"I've really enjoyed spending time with good Marines. Even the bad experiences draw us closer together into a family, a true band of brothers."
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Glad that the Marines didn't water down their training standards. Out guys are alive because of good training, their guys no longer matter.
The .223 caliber of the M-16 has almost no "kick". I let a Boy Scout Troop shoot my .223 at the range and they loved it. So did one of boy's mother. I'm sure you can handle it.
It was the first kind word my DI said to me.
"Nice shot Private. I may make a Marine out of you yet", he said.
Nobody else saw it, but I had tears in my eyes when he walked away. I know I'll never forget that 3rd Phase Evolution....
One shot, one kill.