Reporter's Notebook: Marine operations put their grip on Haditha
Old-school wrestling moves are getting new life in Haditha, Iraq, thanks to Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment., The company is using an unusual, yet fitting, naming convention for its company-level operations: It is using terms for moves employed by wrestlers. Since the company arrived in Haditha in September, it has waged operations suplex, camel clutch, clothesline and full nelson, just to name a few.
Company E’s most recent operations — Backbreaker I and Backbreaker II — netted nearly 40 suspected insurgents, including members of a roadside bomb-making cell. It’s enough to make “Macho Man” Randy Savage belt out an “Ohhhh yeaaahhhh.”
What’s in a name?Company E’s, 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squad describes itself as one big family, and as any good family would, the Marines have come up with nicknames for one another.
One Marine earned the nickname “Beefsteak” for his love of the beefsteak and mushrooms Meals, Ready to Eat, rated unsavory by a consensus of the Marines. Another was dubbed “Hamster” because he’s short and has a little smile. And then there’s “Princess,” a grunt who’s known to have the prettiest and best-kept feet in the squad.
A Marine with the last name of Irizarrygutierrrez is called “Alphabet,” for obvious reasons. Other squad members respond to “Arterius,” “Hot Carl,” “Napoleon,” “Jerry,” “Normal,” “Baltimore Bill” and “Game Time.”
Even squad leader Sgt. Nathaniel Tatum, 24, of Atlanta, has a moniker. He’s called “Beedee Beedee” for his fast-talking ways over the radio — similar to actor Chris Tucker.
Using your headMarine Lance Cpl. Benjamin Ford was shot in the head in November while on patrol in Haditha, but lived to tell the story.
A sniper’s 5.56 mm round hit Ford above his right eye. Fortunately, Ford’s helmet stopped the round, and he survived, suffering only a concussion and a big knot on his head. He momentarily passed out after getting shot.
“The only way to describe it is it was like someone hit me in the head with a rock,” said the 21-year-old from Monroe, Wis.
Ford still has the round, and he wears the camouflage helmet cover that has a small hole in it about one inch above his brow. Members of the insurgent sniper cell that shot Ford were later captured or killed.