From: Cross Lanes WV USA
This was written by 20-yr old LCpl Jason Gillispie, of the 1st Bn/2 nd Marines. His mother, Lisa, gave me permission to quote from his letter. I've taken the liberty of partially correcting his grammar & spelling , and much personal material is edited out (it was an 8-page letter) , but here are excerpts: " April 2, 2003. Dear Mom & Dad, What's going on? Not much here, just chillin in Iraq. We hear something different every day about what we're doing. Yesterday they tell us that we're heading back to Kuwait in 10 days. Today they tell us that we're heading up north to another city. We are at Al Najari (sp?) right now, and we're supposed to go to Al Kut and clear it out or something. We were told today that the city is very fortified...It means that they are holding a good defensive position with machine gun bunkers and things of that sort. The city that we just went through had 3 battalions of Iraqis and our battalion totally slaughtered them. I'm glad that I'm not with Charlie (Company) any more, because I probably would not be writing this letter. They got hit hard...there's about 25 dead, and about 30 medivaced for being severely wounded. I lost a lot of my friends in this one city...my roomate that I always complained about, "Fribley", he's dead. ...We've had one one casualty, that's my team leader, he got run over by a tank, right now he's in some hospital in Germany...I realized that everything happens for a reason....I got transferred to Bravo (Company) and my platoon in Charlie lost 11 people. I dug a little hole to lay down in and go to sleep... it was me and my team leader in the hole. Well I was sick that night and freezing to death. Cpl Ike sends me on radio watch for the night so I can sit in the (?) and stay warm. About 2 hours later a tank runs runs over our hole and takes Cpl Ike out. I don't know what it is....it could be the love from all the people back home, or it could be my kindness and me having a big heart, but some one or something is watching over me, and keeping me safe. I don't want any of this stuff that I'm saying to get to you guys, or bring you down. I will come home, just the way I am right now with my big heart & open arms to share many stories and spread lots of love. I want you guys to just carry on with everyday life as if I was there. Let every one back home know that I appreciate their support and the fact that there are people who take time out of their lives to write a little note or two...Man, there is just is so much that I want to do when I get back, bowling, golfing, fishing, watch TV, spend time with the family, eat real food, etc. ....don't take anything for granted, that's a couple good words of advice. You never really know how good you have (it) until its taken away from you. ...let everyone know that I said happy birthdays, happy Easter, Valentines Day , St. Patrick's...I won't be there for any of it. ... We're heading north tomorrow. ...I love you all more than anything, and I hope I've made you proud ....your son, LCpl Jason E. Gillispie USMC"