Tag Archives: Sangin

One Million Steps

Feel Their Sacrifice

Through the recommendation of a patriot, educator, military historian, WordPress blogger and friend Mustang USMC, I read “One Million Steps” in a one day marathon.  I only put it down to tend to my kids or chores.

It was riveting.

It had sad moments.

It describes how our young Marines would have to patrol through fields of opium poppy  and marijuana to seek out the Taliban intent on killing them and not be able to do anything about it.

It tells of how they had to resort to using Walmart metal detectors, called Vallons, to keep them scant inches from stepping on an IED.

It tells about how policies established by the White House “for” conducting war collide head on with the Marines’ job – “to” conduct war – at the cost of our young boys’ lives.

It showed that 75% of our volunteer Marines of the Third Platoon in 3/5 – the 3rd Battalion, Fifth Marines, 1st Division – came from two parent families.  Think about that for a minute.

And it is humbling to see what Marines are all about: Semper Fidelis.

Always Faithful.


A short civilian’s look into the honored history of 3/5, and more specifically, the Third Platoon…

The 3rd Battalion, Fifth Marines was organized in 1917 in preparation for WWI combat, just one of which was the Battle of Balleau Wood.

During WWII, they endured and won in costly combat at Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Peleliu, and Okinawa.  E. B. Sledge, or “Sledgehammer”, scribbled notes in an Old Testament during combat as a mortarman on Pelilieu and Okinawa.  At the urging of his family, his notes became the foundation for his historic book, “With the Old Breed”.  Sledgehammer was part of the Third Platoon.


During the Korean War, they left their bloodied mark in history once again at battlefields called Inchon and Chosin Reservoir to name just two.

grunt 01
Marines in combat in Viet Nam.  http://www.grunt.com

Called again into action during the Viet Nam War, they heroically fought at god-forsaken places such as Chu-Lai, DaNang, Quang Nam and Que Son.  A few of our readers served in that war and are thanked greatly.

After waging war in Operation Desert Storm, they now have Sangin in Afghanistan to add to their battle history.  This is where the story takes place.

This high school wrestler on top is Matt Abbate. He would be awarded the Navy Cross for his actions in 2010 but was later KIA in Sangin. The award would be posthumous. Photo: http://www.thefoothillsfocus.com/010511-cswrestling.asp


I do not wish to steal the thunder from Mustang in case he wanted to write about the excellent book… Indeed, he would do a much better job.  But I could not NOT write something about it as I hope a few of you would read it.  Our boys dying in combat for YOU deserve your support, understanding and compassion.

As I do not wish to taint the book’s message with opinion, what I propose to do (if it’s legal – I’m no lawyer nor writer) is just reference a few passages from “One Million Steps”, a book by Bing West.  Perhaps it will tempt you into also picking up a copy (also available for Kindle):

Excerpt from “One Million Steps” by Bing West. Random House, 277 pages
Laird would return home.  Excerpt from “One Million Steps” by Bing West. Random House, 277 pages
Excerpt from “One Million Steps” by Bing West. Random House, 277 pages
Espinoza returned home an amputee.  Laird suffered two crushed vertebrae while rescuing Espinoza.  Always Faithful.  Excerpt from “One Million Steps” by Bing West. Random House, 277 pages
Excerpt from “One Million Steps” by Bing West. Random House, 277 pages
Yaz would also return home as an amputee.  Excerpt from “One Million Steps” by Bing West. Random House, 277 pages

These boys are fighting under orders from the White House…

They WILL be fighting for you under orders from the White House.

To protect YOU.

Read about them – these young American men.

Feel for them.

Appreciate them.

Semper Fi.