Soldiers lend helping hand at Foal Eagle

28 Feb 2008 | Cpl. GP Ingersoll 1st Marine Division

They fought at Chapultepec, helping Marines earn their bloodstripe. They fought the Chinese Boxers, earning the name “Manchu” and helping ensure Dan Daly received his first Medal of Honor personally rather than posthumously.

 Now the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment is providing much needed support and hospitality to the Marines taking part in Operation Foal Eagle.

 “Almost everything it takes for us to be here, they’ve arranged,” said Marine Capt. John-Michael D. Elms, camp commandant for Rodriguez Live-Fire Complex during Foal Eagle.

 Almost everything.

 Except for ammo, 2nd of the 9th has supplied two of the three essential “B’s:” Beans and bandages. Aside from cooking approximately 1,000 meals per day, they’ll patch up any critically injured Marines and put out any fires they start.

 They provide Foal Eagle with serious medical or fire emergency services, and they act as a liaison into the Army’s top notch support system, said Elms, 35, Seattle, Wash.

 “They’ve really bent over backwards to make this happen,” Elms said. “They’ve been consummate professionals.”

 To the soldiers working here, it’s the least they can do, considering they’ve been fighting beside Marines for more than a century.

 “What I like about our history is it speaks directly to our mission today,” said Army Lt. Col. Mike W. Rauhut, commanding officer, 2/9. “The equipment, the weapons, they change, but there are enduring fundamentals, and it’s a theme here, and that theme is teamwork.”

 Rauhut, 41, from Hinsdale, N.Y., references a historical fight at the Nactong River in Korea, when the Corps’ combined arms attack helped soldiers and Marine riflemen overrun enemy positions.

 “We would not have been able to do what we did, without their help. The real strength of the Marine Corps is in their combined arms,” Rauhut said.

 Just like today, without Army support, 7th Marines would not be able to hone their combined arms skills during Operation Foal Eagle.

 “Our mission here is simple, and that’s to allow you to focus on training,” he said. Rauhut added that by taking care of all the basic needs, such as food, housing, chow and even toilet paper, Marines only have one thing worry about.

 “We don’t want you to be distracted, we want you to train here,” Rauhut said. “Not only that, but we want to learn from you. Different uniforms, same mission.”

 He’s right, and there’s history to prove it. Whether dressed in green or grey, we all defend the red, white and blue.

1st Marine Division