Factual · Powerful · Original · Iconoclastic
My son was Mike Monsoor's roommate in Iraq. He was in the action where Mike died. Today, I telephoned him in Coronado [near San Diego] about the November 27th issue [of the Weekly Standard, containing my article Return to Ramadi] with Mike on the cover.
I personally appreciate seeing you honor Mike on the cover. He was a fine young man. He was humble and well mannered. A good observer might have spotted the fact that Mike was exceptionally fit, and guessed he was a professional athlete. From my daughter's comments, I know the young ladies thought Mike was exceptionally handsome, with "dreamy eyes." Whatever. Otherwise, Mikey looked like a lot of other American guys. There was a quality in Mike that could not have been guessed by his appearance.
I have a copy of the Weekly Standard in hand. I read your excellent article. I was able to spend some time with my boy after he returned from Iraq. He talked about his experience a little at first. As time goes on, he talks more. Recently, we sat down with Google Earth and brought up a satellite image of Ramadi. He briefed me on the different areas of the city and a bit about the situation in various parts of town.
I think the point you made about each soldier knowing only part of the elephant is a very good. This is where a good reporter or journalist like you can provide a great service to not only the public but the soldiers themselves. You gave facts about the progress our soldiers are making. I know my son will read it carefully. No one else has told the public as much about Ramadi as you have in this latest article. To tell the truth, if a reporter from my local New York Times owned newspaper called me up for an interview about my son, I would tell her or him to go fuck themselves. I literally despise the mainstream media because they want our soldiers to lose.
My boy was with a platoon of SEALs that spent most of their time in Mulaab. Actually, only four or five guys spent the whole deployment there. Mike Monsoor was one of them. They saw more combat action than SEALs have experienced since Vietnam. You were out with my son and took film of him a while back. [Here's the video though I blurred it at the request of the SEALs to protect their identities.] He was the guy who used the old style M-79 grenade launcher [Whom I photographed earlier this year with Monsoor during a Mulaab firefight.] He is an Alabama boy with lots of experience with guns, especially high powered rifles. He told me his instructors in the SEALs used exactly the same techniques for shooting I had taught him. So you are a good observer, when you said he was handy with a weapon.
He commented to me about the proficiency of the 1/506th. He has great respect for their commander and would serve with him anywhere any time. My boy and his platoon worked with the 1/506th quite a bit. One day a sergeant brought the SEALs some spades for their helmets. [The spade is the symbol of the 1/506th.] They will never take them off. My boy thinks the 1/506th is one group of bad dudes. He also had good things to say about other Army and Marine units, combat teams of all kinds. These are dudes who take on the bad guys eye to eye. They jump out the back of a Bradley [fighting vehicle] and go get them. My boy says they don't get the credit they deserve. He does not like the way the media sometimes glamorizes the SEALs when other American soldiers are doing the same work. I can tell you from experience that real SEALs do not talk about themselves. In civilian dress, these guys look like any other American. Most of them are very humble about their accomplishments. Like most everyone else, SEALs are in awe of good soldiers. According to my boy, some of the guys from the Pennsylvania National Guard were as good at soldiering as SEALs, Marines, or 1/506th. He said some of these National Guard guys were very bad news for the enemy. In fact, guys with families at home are very determined to get back to their wives and kids. They do not mess around with the enemy. They kill him quickly and with great determination because they are planning on going home.
You are right about our soldiers winning in Ramadi. You do a great service getting this truth out.
[Name, rank, and service omitted], retired (I have not used my son's name and would appreciate your withholding my last name from publication if you were to use any part of this email in your writing. Thanks.)