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March 23, 2003
Here is a report and some awards given out that fateful day.  

A hard day for 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment and their supporting units. I lost a dear friend and brother. The nation lost eighteen sons. Here is a list of the seventeen other fine American men who gave their lives for their country.

Sgt
Michael E. Blair
31
Ventrua, Ca.
2nd Assualt Amphibious Bn. 2nd MEB
LCpl
Thomas A. Blair
24
Wagoner, Okla.
2nd LAAD Bn, MAC Group-28, 2nd MAW
LCpl
Brian Rory Buesing
20
Cedar Key, Fl.
1/2 2nd MEB
Pfc
Tamario D. Burkett
21
Erie, N.Y.
1/2 2nd MEB
Cpl
Kemaphoom A. Chanawongse
22
Waterford, Conn.
1/2 2nd MEB
LCpl
Donald J. Cline, Jr.
21
Washoe, Nev.
1/2 2nd MEB
LCpl
David K. Fribley
26
Lee, Fl.
1/2 2nd MEB
Cpl
Jose A. Garibay
21
Orange, Ca.
1/2 2nd MEB
Pvt
Jonathan L. Gifford
20
Macon, Ill.
1/2 2nd MEB
Cpl
Jorge A. Gonzalez
20
Los Angeles, Ca.
1/2 2nd MEB
Pvt
Nolen R. Hutchings
19
Boiling Springs, S.C.
1/2 2nd MEB
LCpl
Patrick R. Nixon
21
Davidson County, Tn.
1/2 2nd MEB
2nd Lt
Frederick E. Pokorney Jr.
31
Nye, Nev.
HQ Battery, 1/10, 2nd MEB
Sgt
Brendon C. Reiss
23
Natrona, Wyoming
1/2 2nd MEB
Cpl
Randal Kent Rosacker
21
San Diego, Ca.
1/2 2nd MEB
LCpl
Thomas J. Slocum
22
Adams, Colo.
1/2 2nd MEB
LCpl
Michael J. Williams
31
Michael J. Williams
1/2 2nd MEB

After Action Report
Contributed by XO of C1/2 on action of March 23, 2003

"I am 1st Lt E.A. Meador, Executive Officer, Company C, 1st Bn 2d Marine Regiment, 2d MEB, the unit engaged in the Battle of An Nasiriyah on 23 March 2003. I know that there are many stories of that day that hit the news with varying degrees of accuracy. Briefly I will note the discrepancy.

Our unit, 1st Bn 2d Marines had the mission of securing two key bridges on the eastern side of Nasiriyah, one to the south over the Euphrates and one to the north over the Saddam Canal. As we approached the city from the southern side, the battalion had some engagements with the Iraqis and then we encountered elements of the US Army 507th Maintenance Unit just south of the city. Members of this Army unit advised the battalion that they had been hit by an Iraqi unit acting as if they were surrendering. At this time our unit, 1st Bn 2d Marines, began a deliberate attack of the bridges. We encountered heavy fire moving through the city, but there was no faked surrender by Iraqis to the Marines. It was mostly Fedayeen using guerilla tactics coupled with uniformed Iraqi troops and Republican Guard. The 18 Marines killed that day were all part of or attached to Charlie Company.

Charlie Company's mission was to secure the northeastern bridge over the Saddam Canal. As we pushed through the city, one of our Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV) was hit with an RPG but made it north of the bridge with the rest of the company and we took a considerable amount of small arms fire and more RPG fire. After reaching the north side of the bridge, we debarked the vehicles under heavy indirect fire, machine gun fire and RPG fire. Several casualties were taken at this point north of the bridge and we could not get a medevac helo to us because of the amount of fire.

The fight continued and Charlie Company pressed on the enemy returning fire with machine guns, SMAW rockets, M16 fire, mortar and artillery for some time. The closest medical help besides our corpsmen was back through the city to the south where other elements of the battalion were holding the southern bridge. The casualties were loaded on to several AAVs to be taken back to the south bridge for medical evacuation and also to update the other elements of the battalion of the situation on the north side of the bridge.

While pushing south, some of the AAVs were hit with RPGs and were immobilized. The group of Marines evacuating casualties stopped in the city to consolidate wounded and those left without a vehicle. A squad positioned themselves in a building in the city and protected the downed AAVs and casualties that could not all fit on the remaining vehicles and the rest of the party continued south. Once the evacuation party reached the other company on the south end, another AAV was hit with an RPG. A helo medevac was coordinated in this area to evacuate the casualties. Tanks and other elements of the battalion then pushed to the north bridge to join Charlie Company, recovering the squad and casualties inside the city on the way.

As the casualties were moved south, the bulk of Charlie Company continued to fight the enemy north of the bridge. The indirect fire coming from several directions was intense for nearly three hours and the RPG, machine gun and small arms fire was also heavy from several directions. Before the battalion consolidated north of the bridge, the enemy fire began to lift and they began to withdraw. At the end of the fight, we had 18 killed in action and 14 wounded in action medevac'd. We also had 7 out of 12 AAVs destroyed or immobilized. It was a hard fought battle, but the company inflicted a serious blow to the enemy north of the bridge and we held it strongly after defeating the Iraqi forces there.

It is important to note the heroism and solid performance of the Marines of Charlie Company. The leadership and strength of the success was in the small unit leaders and heroic actions of teams and individuals. When faced with the hardships of the battle, the Marines performed superbly. During the fight, several of the wounded Marines continued to load other casualties and give medical aid while others continued to fight. Corpsmen rushed under fire to treat wounded as AAV crewmen returned fire from their vehicles, and teammates fought to their death to assist other Marines and would not give up on their brothers.

There were several different fights in An Nasiriyah that day throughout the whole battalion and many acts of heroism. This is just one man's account of what happened on that day, there are many other stories within Charlie Company and throughout the other companies of the battalion.

I just wanted to clear up that the Marine unit that fought the bulk of the battle at An Nasiriyah never encountered an Iraqi Unit that indicated surrender; it was a deliberate attack. I can speak only for what Charlie Company faced and the Marines acted like Marines. They fought hard, won the battle and took care of each other.
1st Lt E.A. Meador, USMC"

Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca, Louis E. Navy
Navy Cross
Hospitalman Apprentice Louis E. Fonseca
United States Navy
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Corpsman, Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon, Company C., First Battalion, Second Marines, Regimental Combat Team 2 on 23 March 2003. During Company C's assault and seizure of the Saddam Canal Bridge, an amphibious assault vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade inflicting five casualties. Without concern for his own safety, Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca braved small arms, machine gun, and intense rocket propelled grenade fire to evacuate the wounded Marines from the burning amphibious assault vehicle and tend to their wounds. He established a casualty collection point inside the unit's medical evacuation amphibious assault vehicle, calmly and methodically stabilizing two casualties with lower limb amputations by applying tourniquets and administering morphine. He continued to treat and care for the wounded awaiting evacuation until his vehicle was rendered immobile by enemy direct and indirect fire. Under a wall of enemy machine gun fire, he directed the movement of four casualties from the damaged vehicle by organizing litter teams from available Marines. He personally carried one critically wounded Marine over open ground to another vehicle. Following a deadly artillery barrage, Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca again exposed himself to enemy fire to treat Marines wounded along the perimeter. Returning to the casualty evacuation amphibious assault vehicle, he accompanied his casualties South through the city to a Battalion Aid Station. After briefing medical personnel on the status of his patients, Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca returned North through the city to Company C's lines and to his fellow Marines that had been wounded in his absence. His timely and effective care undoubtedly saved the lives of numerous casualties. Hospitalman Apprentice Fonseca's actions reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions to the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

GySgt Lehew, Justin D. USMC
Navy Cross
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting
the Navy Cross to
Gunnery Sergeant Justin D. Lehew
United States Marine Corps
For Services as Set Forth in the Following
Citation:
For extraordinary heroism as Amphibious Assault Platoon Sergeant, Company A, 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, Task Force Tarawa, I Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 23 and 24 March 2003. As Regimental Combat Team 2 attacked north towards An Nasiriyah, Iraq, lead elements of the Battalion came under heavy enemy fire. When the beleaguered United States Army 507th Maintenance Company convoy was spotted in the distance, Gunnery Sergeant Lehew and his crew were dispatched to rescue the soldiers. Under constant enemy fire, he led the rescue team to the soldiers. With total disregard for his own welfare, he assisted the evacuation effort of four soldiers, two of whom were critically wounded. While still receiving enemy fire, he climbed back into his vehicle and immediately began suppressing enemy infantry. During the subsequent company attack on the eastern bridge over the Euphrates River, Gunnery Sergeant Lehew continuously exposed himself to withering enemy fire during the three-hour urban firefight. His courageous battlefield presence inspired his Marines to fight a determined foe and allowed him to position his platoon's heavy machine guns to repel numerous waves of attackers. In the midst of the battle, an Amphibious Assault Vehicle was destroyed, killing or wounding all its occupants. Gunnery Sergeant Lehew immediately moved to recover the nine Marines. He again exposed himself to a barrage of fire as he worked for nearly an hour recovering casualties from the wreckage. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Gunnery Sergeant Lehew reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.