Dec. 7, 2004 2 p.m.
Western Iraq

A couple of random sound bites still in my head, some overheard in the bunk, from our excellent hosts, the 2/5 Marines at Hurricane Point, Ramadi:

One Marine to another:

"How are the girls in Maine?"

"There's not that many of them, but every one that is there is real good-looking."

A Marine Capt. giving a tour of the facilities:

"You'll notice our shitters are some of the most fortified points in the camp...five feet of sandbags and on top of that, three feet of concrete blast walls...Our enemy is lazy, he doesn't like to get up in the cold night...there's even a shitter matrix — between 6 and 9 p.m., not a good idea to go."

Finally, two Marines running:

"Move your chunky ass, we're late."

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Next stop: Al Qaim, on the Syrian border. The CO there says television reporters have never visited.

E-mail Steve

[ed. note: Click the video tab up top to view Harrigan's reports from Iraq.]

Steve,

Our son is a Marine in Qaim. There is so little news from that part of Iraq. We're looking forward to your reports.

Thanks for being there,
Kelly in Colorado

Steve,

Nicknames are commonplace in the military. We were not in a war zone (unless you consider whenever a submarine went out it was in "war" mode), but nicknames were ubiquitous. An electrician named Spurlock was "Spud" (and when he had kids, they were the "Tater tots"). Steingass became "Swinegas." A Machinist names McCorkle was known as "Snorkle" because of his resonant snoring (he sounded like the diesel engines).

Me -- I didn't have a nickname. But with a last name like "Bone," that
was probably a good thing.

George
Former ET2 (SS)
Vallejo, CA


I'm David Smith USMC. Fought 2 tours in 'Nam (1969-1971.) I was lucky I came with a built-in nickname, (Smitty) what else? Frank Randazzo was the drill instructer's house mouse in bootcamp, a duty much like that of a message runner in combat. After our first firefight(Feb 69), and Mouse's first kill of a N.V.A. soldier, mouse became the (RAT). There were those whom we never gave a nickname to, because that person was marked as unlucky or seen as going home in a body bag. If we spoke to that kind of person we used their last name, "Hey Bradley." Thank's for a good article. I would have called him just Lotsashit too.

— Smitty


Steve, so what nickname did they give you?

— Kevin (Germantown,MD)


My son is a Marine currently in Iraq. As a parent I cannot tell you how much I appreciate and look forward to each report. I can sense your affection and respect for the Marines, which gives us at home such close connection with "our" Marines so far from home, especially at Christmas. I watch each day hoping to see my dear and precious son in one of your reports, I'll keep watching just in case. All the Marines are special to we Marine parents. OOH-RAH and keep up the great work.

A fan, Chuck
Proud Marine Dad


Steve,

I have enjoyed reading about just what our guys are going through and doing on a daily basis. Being the father of a soldier serving in the Ramadi area for months, and now in Ramadi itself I have had little real info. It allows me to have insight into the amazing bravery and professionalism our guys exhibit daily.

Thank you for putting yourself in harms way so the rest of can see the hell our infantry and Marines face everyday and night.

Sincerely,
Bob
Proud father of an Infantry Sgt.


Steve

My son is a Marine over in Iraq and I miss him so much. I really enjoy your articles, they really make me giggle a bit and some make me cry. He has been there 5 months now and sometimes it is so surreal.

Thank you for your efforts to bring a bit of there over here.

We miss them all, stay safe

Cindy
Very Proud Marine Mom

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.