Dec 1, 2004 7 p.m.
When you get a roomful of 20 guys there are going to be some snorers. In the first Chechen war we slept in a school classroom, and one heavy drinker, Volodya, was a bad snorer. We'd throw shoes at him during the night to get him to stop. He said he'd gotten so afraid of being hit by a shoe he couldn't fall asleep.
In Ramadi we are staying in what's called "transient billets" — the low-rent district of any base for short-term visitors. There are about 20 metal bunk beds inside a wooden hanger. As Marines come and go they will fill and empty during the course of a night, with a few regulars who live here longer-term. I did a quick scan on entrance, trying to figure which would be the best bunk. I grabbed a lower one in the back of the room which turned out to be next to a heater, which was good, but someone grabbed the upper bunk.
When I looked up I could see the bottom of his yellow boots. Marines keep a dog tag in their laces halfway up the left boot. It's a reminder you could get killed and someone would be looking at your boot to identify you. When the guy moved around the bunk moved a little, but he didn't move much, and there was no significant snoring on night one.
That changed the next night with the arrival of an Iraqi interpreter, Benaraby. Benaraby was a big man with a round face and no chin. He selected a bunk near the front of the room, and immediately two Marines asked him whether or not there were other bunks available in the translators' tent. I thought this was a little unusual, but soon the conversation turned to snoring.
Evidently Benaraby, who had a deviated septum, was famous for his snoring. He kept his bunk, though, and started up around 4 a.m. with what sounded like a small lawnmower. One Marine described it as the sound a walrus makes. They roused Benaraby several times, but each time the septum went back to work. He may be in a new tent tonight.
• E-mail Steve
[ed. note: Click the video tab up top to view Harrigan's reports from Ramadi.]
My son is with the Fox 2/5, and I miss him a great deal. Thanks for hanging with our Marines and bringing news to the families. We really appreciate it. If you happen to see my son tell him I love him.
Proud Marine Mom
Good luck in Ramadi. My son, Clayton, is in 1st Platoon Echo Co. if you see him tell him his Dad loves him very much and is praying for all the Marines. You too. I look forward to your posts on the situation there.
Glad to hear you'll be reporting from Ramadi. My son, Sgt. Steve, is at Blue Diamond. We'll be watching close and hopefully can catch a glimpse of him.
Tell all the Marines we love them, we support them and stay safe. You're in good hands with the Marines in Ramadi.
Proud Mom of 2 Marines
Thanks on behalf of hundreds of thousands of "news junkies" like myself who deeply appreciate your well-written stories and gripping on-camera reporting from Iraq. We know it takes tremendous courage and selflessness.
We also appreciate your family for being courageous with you.
Three cheers for Steve and his family
- Dean (Minneapolis, MN)
I am an office worker in Maine and the first thing I do every morning is look for your next blog and hope that there is one there! I read each line while holding my breath in anticipation of what it will hold. Your honesty and clarity is a window to a world I don't know. Thank you for opening the window and letting me see the war as it is. Be safe and God Bless!
— Michelle F.
My son is currently in Ramadi with 2/5 G Co. We appreciate you giving us the opportunity to hear and see our loved ones. For the families and loved ones back home, we also would like to hear the good side of what our loved ones are doing. We know that they are putting their lives on the line daily for freedom. Prayers for all in harms way.
— VPMM of Cpl Sean September
Its great to hear that the media is venturing into Ramadi. My husband, also Steve, is there and its so disappointing to watch the news over and over and never see the the 2 ID patch anywhere. Yet nearly 2 dozen soldiers from our brigade which is attached to 1st Marine have lost their lives in and around Ramadi. Thanks for taking the risk and going out to give us the rest of the story in Iraq.
— Marsha (Columbus, GA)
I'm glad to see that Fox News is back in Ramadi. I followed Col North's reports this summer from Ramadi with much interest when he was with the 2/4 knowing that my son and his Unit would be replacing them. My son is with the 2/5 - Weapons Co., Whiskey "1", at Camp Hurricane Point. If you run into him, tell him his Dad said said hello and we are anxious for their return home.
Proud Marine Dad
My son also is with 2/5 Weapons, Whiskey 03. Looks like you're going to have to pay them a visit. Ramadi is a very dangerous place. Weapons alone has lost its C.O. and several good young Marines. Tell Whiskey 3 and my son if you see him to stay safe. You too, friend...
Thank you for reporting from Ramadi. My son LPCL Green is with the 2/5 Weapons Whiskey 3 Company. If you happen to run into him please tell him his family misses him and loves him very much.
Thank you from a grateful mom.
My grandson, Chris, is with Echo Company, Weapons Plt., his second tour in Iraq. We haven't heard from him in some time. If you come across the group, give him a "high five" and blessings from Papa Charlie & Grandma. Doing a great job!!
Good Luck & Stay Safe.... while you're there say "Hi" to the members of the Army's 2ID 2nd Brigade Combat Team who were pulled out of South Korea and attached to the Marines in the Ramadi area. Some of these soldiers, including my husband, had already spent several months to a year or MORE away from their families before getting orders to serve an additional year in Iraq.
I know you are hoping to find a hot news story, but my prayers will be that the situation there becomes more peaceful warranting only a passing mention.
— Suzanne (Killeen, TX)
So glad to hear news about Ramadi , my son is in there, it seems like we never hear about these men and women and the dangers that they face everyday. Stay safe and stay strong Steve, your reporting is a blessing, giving us real information as to what's going on.
I saw your report from Ramadi a few minutes ago. Thank you very much for mentioning 2/5. It seems like weeks since I have heard any news from this Battalion. I have a nephew in Weapons Company. Please make sure all of our troops know how much we appreciate them and please be safe, we need your reports.
— Roger 1st Sgt(Ret) USA
Steve Harrigan currently serves as a Miami-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 2001 as a Moscow-based correspondent.