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A Secret Letter From Iraq
Time/CNN ^ | 10/6/2006 | Anon

Posted on 10/18/2006 9:55:49 AM PDT by Dick Bachert

The Secret Letter From Iraq A Marine's letter home, with its frank description of life in "Dante's inferno," has been circulating through generals' in-boxes. We publish it here with the author's approval

Written last month, this straightforward account of life in Iraq by a Marine officer was initially sent just to a small group of family and friends. His honest but wry narration and unusually frank dissection of the mission contrasts sharply with the story presented by both sides of the Iraq war debate, the Pentagon spin masters and fierce critics. Perhaps inevitably, the "Letter from Iraq" moved quickly beyond the small group of acquantainaces and hit the inboxes of retired generals, officers in the Pentagon, and staffers on Capitol Hill. TIME's Sally B. Donnelly first received a copy three weeks ago but only this week was able to track down the author and verify the document's authenticity. The author wishes to remain anonymous but has allowed us to publish it here ¡ª with a few judicious omissions.

Go here http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1543658,00.html for complete story

(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iraq; military; war
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1 posted on 10/18/2006 9:55:51 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: Dick Bachert
"...the Pentagon spin masters..."

Nope. No bias there.

2 posted on 10/18/2006 9:58:32 AM PDT by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: Dick Bachert
The author wishes to remain anonymous ....

How convenient. Another "fake but true" story ala Dan Rather.

3 posted on 10/18/2006 9:58:57 AM PDT by ladtx ("It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." -- -- General Douglas MacArthur)
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To: ladtx

These people at Time are leftists, through and through. They have demonstrated to me time and again they do not have the best interests of the USA at heart, to the contrary, they have shown they wish to deconstruct any idea or icon that is vital to the well being of our country.

I see no reason to trust anything about them or this.


4 posted on 10/18/2006 10:01:51 AM PDT by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: Dick Bachert

You mean war is hell? Say it isn't so!


5 posted on 10/18/2006 10:03:35 AM PDT by Lekker 1 (("...the world will be...eleven degrees colder by the year 2000" -- K. Watt, Earth Day, 1970)
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To: Dick Bachert
Not so bad, kind of interesting. The dig at O'Reily was suspect as was the following:

Highest Temperature — I don't know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns. Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.

Do many Americans go to the loo? Sounds a little British to me.

6 posted on 10/18/2006 10:05:16 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: Dick Bachert
editor of NYTimes news


7 posted on 10/18/2006 10:05:46 AM PDT by sure_fine (*not one to over kill the thought process*)
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To: Dick Bachert
Now, if we could just get them out of the habit of beating prisoners to a pulp...

lol.

8 posted on 10/18/2006 10:07:38 AM PDT by ichabod1 (Face it, every empire comes to an end, and ours is on the down hill slope.)
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To: Dick Bachert
Pfffft.

Mostly a long rant/whine about how tough it is to be at war. I don't doubt that it is tough, but there are thousands of other dedicated men and women working hard right next to you, bud. Suck it up.

Coolest Insurgent Act — Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.

This should give you an idea where this "soldier's" heart is.

It's disgraceful.

9 posted on 10/18/2006 10:09:58 AM PDT by TChris (The United Nations is suffering from delusions of relevance.)
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To: Dick Bachert
Biggest Surprise — Iraqi Police. All local guys. I never figured that we'd get a police force established in the cities in al-Anbar. I estimated that insurgents would kill the first few, scaring off the rest. Well, insurgents did kill the first few, but the cops kept on coming. The insurgents continue to target the police, killing them in their homes and on the streets, but the cops won't give up. Absolutely incredible tenacity. The insurgents know that the police are far better at finding them than we are — and they are finding them. Now, if we could just get them out of the habit of beating prisoners to a pulp...

Best Chuck Norris Moment — 13 May. Bad Guys arrived at the government center in a small town to kidnap the mayor, since they have a problem with any form of government that does not include regular beheadings and women wearing burqahs. There were seven of them. As they brought the mayor out to put him in a pick-up truck to take him off to be beheaded (on video, as usual), one of the Bad Guys put down his machine gun so that he could tie the mayor's hands. The mayor took the opportunity to pick up the machine gun and drill five of the Bad Guys. The other two ran away. One of the dead Bad Guys was on our top twenty wanted list. Like they say, you can't fight City Hall.

Actually, the letter has good and bad in it. The Marine misses home and is working 20 hours a day. All in all, it is pretty much just a regular letter from a grunt on the ground...

10 posted on 10/18/2006 10:10:04 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: TChris
This should give you an idea where this "soldier's" heart is.

Oops! I meant "Marine's".

11 posted on 10/18/2006 10:10:37 AM PDT by TChris (The United Nations is suffering from delusions of relevance.)
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To: sure_fine
ROFLOL!!
12 posted on 10/18/2006 10:10:56 AM PDT by bd476
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To: rlmorel
No, this is a good letter...

Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate — Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here — all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a band of brothers who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.

13 posted on 10/18/2006 10:11:03 AM PDT by ichabod1 (Face it, every empire comes to an end, and ours is on the down hill slope.)
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To: ladtx

The letter is pretty good and hardly MSM-friendly.

Indeed, it's reasonably encouraging.


14 posted on 10/18/2006 10:14:05 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: TChris

Oh, GMAFB.

Complaining is what troops do.

I was first told in OCS that, if my men were bitching about food and conditions and making these types of observations, morale was bad.


15 posted on 10/18/2006 10:15:54 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: ichabod1
"Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps."

I doubt that...

Semper Fi

16 posted on 10/18/2006 10:17:33 AM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: ichabod1

Thanks for pointing that out...I should qualify my disparagement.

I do not read Time anymore. That was a comment directed at Time, not really the individual anonymous letter. It is likely genuine.

It is their motivation in printing it that I take issue with.


17 posted on 10/18/2006 10:19:02 AM PDT by rlmorel (Islamofacism: It is all fun and games until someone puts an eye out. Or chops off a head.)
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To: Dick Bachert
At first I thought oh great another CNN/Time hit piece. This was actually pretty good. Here are a few snippets:

Biggest Surprise — Iraqi Police. All local guys. I never figured that we'd get a police force established in the cities in al-Anbar. I estimated that insurgents would kill the first few, scaring off the rest. Well, insurgents did kill the first few, but the cops kept on coming. The insurgents continue to target the police, killing them in their homes and on the streets, but the cops won't give up. Absolutely incredible tenacity. The insurgents know that the police are far better at finding them than we are — and they are finding them. Now, if we could just get them out of the habit of beating prisoners to a pulp...

Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate — Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here — all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a band of brothers who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.

Best Chuck Norris Moment — 13 May. Bad Guys arrived at the government center in a small town to kidnap the mayor, since they have a problem with any form of government that does not include regular beheadings and women wearing burqahs. There were seven of them. As they brought the mayor out to put him in a pick-up truck to take him off to be beheaded (on video, as usual), one of the Bad Guys put down his machine gun so that he could tie the mayor's hands. The mayor took the opportunity to pick up the machine gun and drill five of the Bad Guys. The other two ran away. One of the dead Bad Guys was on our top twenty wanted list. Like they say, you can't fight City Hall.

The author also talks of irritating VIPs and talking heads (mentions O'Reilly) who over simplify and cast the wrong perception on the real situation. However, he doesn't go into detail re: who the VIPs are and in which manner the wrong perception is cast (ie we're winning/losing/inbetween etc). Nevertheless, judging by his comments re: the Marines (reenlistments etc etc), Iraqis, and 'insurgents', I feel he has a postitive outlook and, obviously, would prefer to be home.

18 posted on 10/18/2006 10:19:24 AM PDT by batter ("Never let the enemy pick the battle site." - Gen. George S. Patton)
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To: MeanWestTexan
if my men were bitching about food and conditions and making these types of observations, morale was bad they still gave a crap. Fixed.
19 posted on 10/18/2006 10:20:31 AM PDT by American_Centurion (No, I don't trust the government to automatically do the right thing.)
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To: ichabod1
Rats! Beat me to it. That's what I get for being distracted when I was writing my post! ;-p
20 posted on 10/18/2006 10:21:43 AM PDT by batter ("Never let the enemy pick the battle site." - Gen. George S. Patton)
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To: American_Centurion

LOL.

We were Army, so our instr. were more polite, but yes.

This letter is typical GI/Grunt/ground-pounder view, and pretty upbeat, really.


21 posted on 10/18/2006 10:27:36 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: Dick Bachert


hHelo mUdder. : hElLo nyFather. i HeRE i x aM aT... h:i n y i a x
22 posted on 10/18/2006 10:28:53 AM PDT by bd476
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To: Dick Bachert
If soldiers (or Marines) aren't complaining about something, there is something terribly wrong.

It's actually a pretty good "letter". The times will dwell on the few negative points. Nothing new here.


23 posted on 10/18/2006 10:39:13 AM PDT by in the Arena
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To: rhombus
Do many Americans go to the loo? Sounds a little British to me.

I'd be willing to bet that most Americans (except those into crossword puzzles) wouldn't know what a loo was.

24 posted on 10/18/2006 10:46:38 AM PDT by DejaJude (Admiral Clark said, "Our mantra today is life, liberty and the pursuit of those who threaten it!")
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To: rhombus

The "dig" at O'Reilly could just as easily have been aimed at fellow chicken hawks Hannity, Boortz and Limbaugh who have never been closer to a military action than a Veterans Day Parades.

Talk and bravado ARE cheap when you're 3,000 miles from the action in a comfortable air-conditioned studio. BIG talk is even cheaper.

And, yes, I served in the USAF during the early days of Nam so I ALSO have the right to an opinion in the matter.

Be curious to know the military records of those who took gratuituous shots at the author of the letter.


25 posted on 10/18/2006 10:49:07 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: DejaJude
I'd be willing to bet that most Americans (except those into crossword puzzles) wouldn't know what a loo was.

Who knows though, maybe he's been hanging with Brits and picked up the slang.

26 posted on 10/18/2006 10:49:37 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: soccer8

The VIPs are most likely congress critters looking to get their credentials for talking about Iraq validated.

And doesn't Rummy spend about 1 week-end a month over there?


27 posted on 10/18/2006 10:52:33 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: Dick Bachert

You stereotype too many with the over-used "chicken hawk" term. It's a device invented by liberals who don't respect those who volunteered to serve.


28 posted on 10/18/2006 10:57:14 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: rlmorel
Leftists? The chubby little fellows with the silver hair and sagging hunks of skin where their triceps used to be? These fellows went to elementary school in Mass. They haven't actually engaged in competition for fear they might get hurt. This lil guy in the mascot for the "men" who tell the story at Time. I believe this fellow is from Mass. He'll grow up to be a Times editor.


29 posted on 10/18/2006 11:03:42 AM PDT by kinghorse (I calls them like I sees them)
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To: ladtx

Having a Marine son, who has also "inhabited" Ramadi for 7 months....i believe ever word of this.....only a Marine could have written that....


30 posted on 10/18/2006 11:05:29 AM PDT by is_is (VPD of Cpl Daniel - 2/5 - Sleep Well America.....My Marine has your Back)
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To: Dick Bachert

Sounds like a genuine letter from my experience. The part about thinking of home brought tears to my eyes. I am sure that's what my husband thinks about a lot. For folks who are picking this thing apart, just stop and absorb reality. Our troops have a right to complain, what they do is hard work.


31 posted on 10/18/2006 11:08:10 AM PDT by Kaylee Frye
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To: is_is

the Iraqi Country mouse was too vile for Saddam to deal with any closer than helicopter's length. That's why he had to have his helos after the first war.


32 posted on 10/18/2006 11:10:59 AM PDT by kinghorse (I calls them like I sees them)
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To: Dick Bachert

You know what - I never served in the military (my two years of ROTC don't count) but I ALSO have a right to an opinion. You see our country is run by a civilian government. I appreciate the sacrifices of our service members but the elitist crap spouted by you and your ilk make me sick.


33 posted on 10/18/2006 11:11:22 AM PDT by statered ("And you know what I mean.")
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To: rhombus

"...who don't respect those who volunteered to serve?"

My understanding of the term is different than yours:
I thought it referred to those who think war is macho and cool -- but somehow avoid going themselves.

You know, guys like the ones already mentioned plus Billy Kristol (Irv's boy), G.W.Bush (who sorta hung out in the 'Bama Air Guard during the Nam thing) and even, to a somewhat lesser extent, Billy Klintoon who, along with his moron of a SecDef, Les Aspin, got about a score of our guys killed in the Mog after sending them in for "nation building" WITHOUT the armor they needed to do the job safely.


Standing by for the inevitable lesson in lexicography.


34 posted on 10/18/2006 11:15:51 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: MeanWestTexan
I was first told in OCS that, if my men were bitching about food and conditions and making these types of observations, morale was bad.

I was told a bitchin' Marine is a happy Marine.

35 posted on 10/18/2006 11:17:18 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (Everyone should have a subject they are ignorant about. I choose professional corporate sports.)
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To: soccer8
yep = I surmise that those who throw cold water on this letter writer may have been lucky enough to never been in his situation?

Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province — Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who's just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator?

Got one family member - EOD Tech. - on the way to fill in 'vacancies' and a grandson stationed overseas, Airborne Spec Forces, with deployment to hot zone coming up - frightening...I pray republicans maintain power...if we win in Nov., I believe the violence will calm down some as the barbarians will have lost their hoped for advantage and aid from the libSocialists...

36 posted on 10/18/2006 11:18:03 AM PDT by maine-iac7 ("...but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Lincoln)
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To: river rat
"Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps."

Tell that to the ones who survived here....


37 posted on 10/18/2006 11:20:29 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (Everyone should have a subject they are ignorant about. I choose professional corporate sports.)
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To: Dick Bachert

This supposed letter isn't much of a "secret", since the MSM has been circulating it for months. Smells like a dan rather job to me.


38 posted on 10/18/2006 11:20:55 AM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: statered
the elitist crap spouted by you and your ilk make me sick.

the you are excused to go puke - don't get any on ya

39 posted on 10/18/2006 11:21:39 AM PDT by maine-iac7 ("...but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Lincoln)
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To: Dick Bachert
Standing by for the inevitable lesson in lexicography.

You won't get it from me, try Democratic Underground. They talk about chickenhawks all the time.

40 posted on 10/18/2006 11:22:14 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: rhombus
You stereotype too many with the over-used "chicken hawk" term. It's a device invented by liberals who don't respect those who volunteered to serve.

A chicken hawk is someone who talks tough militarily and advocates military action, but has never served a day in his life.

41 posted on 10/18/2006 11:25:09 AM PDT by AlaskaErik (Everyone should have a subject they are ignorant about. I choose professional corporate sports.)
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To: rhombus

I would but I was ejected from DU for asking a question.

So much for their sacred "diversity."


42 posted on 10/18/2006 11:33:41 AM PDT by Dick Bachert
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To: Dick Bachert
This letter was not written last month as the Times states!

I read this letter at least four or five months ago. I know this because I printed out a copy to give to my brother. If I remember correctly it was about this Marine's first seven months in Iraq during 2005 not 2006!

This is either an example of sloppy journalism or the author of the piece knowingly changed the date in the letter. Would not the story be a bit stale if this letter were actually written a year ago and not last month as stated?

Then again, without revealing the letter writer's indentity there is no way to verify this actually was written by a Marine at all!

43 posted on 10/18/2006 11:35:22 AM PDT by mort56
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To: Dick Bachert
I would but I was ejected from DU for asking a question. So much for their sacred "diversity."

I'm not surprised. Of course they are not really for diversity just as they are not really supportive of Vets. Honestly I don't know who really invented the term chickenhawk but Democrats have used this term to no end as if to say anyone who didn't serve has no right to have an opinion on the use of the military. Now, we all know this is NOT the way this country was set up and honorable Vets like Washington made sure of that. Further, the Vets that the Democrats claim to support: John Kerry, Wesley Clark, John McCain etc are NOT above question simply because they were in the military. All too often the word chickenhawk is used to shut up or shut down non-Vets from expressing an opinion...at least that's how the Democrats have used the term. I don't expect that's what you meant to do.

44 posted on 10/18/2006 11:45:12 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: mort56
I read this letter at least four or five months ago. I know this because I printed out a copy to give to my brother. If I remember correctly it was about this Marine's first seven months in Iraq during 2005 not 2006!

He specifically mentions his unit rescuing the news babe from Christian Science Monitor. IIRC, that was just a few months back, not in 2005.

45 posted on 10/18/2006 11:54:16 AM PDT by Ditto
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To: Dick Bachert

The letter was written by the G-2 of the Marine division that was in Iraq at the time evidently.

Not sure what he means about O'Reilly as I don't watch O'Reilly much. What does O'Reilly say about Iraq?


46 posted on 10/18/2006 11:54:57 AM PDT by LSUfan
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To: AlaskaErik

were = weren't in my original post.

Sorry!

What I get for freeping on a blackberry on another phone.


47 posted on 10/18/2006 12:12:13 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: American_Centurion

See my correction.

Amazing what a two letter typo can do to a post.

Duh.


48 posted on 10/18/2006 12:12:55 PM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: Dick Bachert
I've looked over the letter and a few things don't seem to ring true.

Normally, Marines go for a six month tour and soldiers for a year. It's soldiers who get leave at six months and return to Iraq. Marines don't.

If it was a second tour Marine, he wouldn't call that period at home leave, because it's not leave.

There is an exception to the general rule, but I'll keep that close to the vest because I smell a rat.

49 posted on 10/18/2006 12:27:00 PM PDT by Doctor Raoul (New York Times? Get a rope!)
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To: Dick Bachert
And, yes, I served in the USAF during the early days of Nam so I ALSO have the right to an opinion in the matter.

Army: Hooah

USMC: Urah

USAF: What time's the club open?

50 posted on 10/18/2006 12:30:43 PM PDT by Doctor Raoul (New York Times? Get a rope!)
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