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BAQOUBA, Iraq — Troops with the 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment have their own saying for laying the smack down on the enemy: “bringing the Scunion on them,” said Staff Sgt. Art Hoffman, 30.

The phrase comes from the name “Route Scunion,” a road where U.S. troops are often hit by roadside bombs, explained Hoffman, of Baltimore.

“It’s kind of like his little catchphrase, for when we’re bringing the heat on somebody, we’re going to ‘bring the Scunion,’” said Hoffman, battalion senior intelligence officer, referring to battalion commander Lt. Col. Thomas Fisher.

Hoffman said U.S. and Iraqi troops “bring the Scunion” to the enemy with great frequency.

One night, four insurgents mortared and shot at an Iraqi army checkpoint for the second time in as many days, he said.

An unmanned drone flying overhead tracked the insurgents as they got into a car and drove away. That’s when the 1-68 Armor called in an Apache helicopter, he said.

When the car stopped, the Apache disabled the car with its 20 mm cannon and a patrol picked up four insurgents half an hour later, Hoffman said.

“It’s like every other day we’re down there having to fight these guys, and it’s getting worse and worse for the [enemy],” he said.

Fisher, of Sioux Falls, S.D., said his approach toward Iraqis is, “We can sit here and talk like gentlemen and figure out the solutions to problems, or we can go shoot at each other,” he said.

Paraphrasing the war philosopher Sun Tzu, Fisher said the best general is the one who wins without firing a shot.

“We have to remember that we’re not going to judge our success in this engagement by how many people we kill. We’re going to be judged by what kind of society is established,” he said.

Don’t forget mom — and that’s an orderFor some U.S. Marines stationed in Iraq, forgetting Mother’s Day (it’s Sunday) is going to be a hard task to accomplish.

At more than one outpost, signs have been put up on bulletin boards, command center walls and in chow halls. “By order of the [commanding officer],” one of the signs read, “every Marine will send a Mother’s Day card to their mother, their wife if they have kids, or the mother of their children.”

The signs have left some Marines wondering if the Corps will provide them with camouflage, combat-ready greeting cards.

Nevertheless, many of the Marines seemed relieved to be reminded that the day to thank their mothers is just around the corner.


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