Monday, June 28, 2004

For Williamson, who finished boot camp in October and joined his battalion in January, it was his first firefight. He helped take out the enemy fighters and caused others to retreat.

He was happy that he didn’t choke.

“I was afraid we were going to get down to the nitty-gritty and I was going to freeze up,” he said. “It’s not something you want to do when you have [six other guys on your vehicle] worrying about you laying down fire or taking out the guy who is about to shoot an RPG at you.

“Your round can make a difference between something goes wrong and something doesn’t.”

The Marines know they’ll win almost every fight against the insurgents. Usually the score will be lopsided. On Thursday, members of 3rd and 1st platoons killed an estimated 20 members of the enemy but themselves suffered only a handful of minor shrapnel wounds.

Yet the enemy fighters kept showing themselves, only to be killed.

“They know [they can’t win], but in their minds what they’re doing is right for them,” said Lance Cpl. Ken Torok of Redding, Pa.

Yet the enemy runs for cover. Surely those men who were running must have wanted to live, Torok is told.

“They’re just running away to try to find a better spot to attack us,” Torok said. “And it doesn’t work.”

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