Generation Kill - Episode 2
Episode 2 - The Cradle of Civilization
March 22-25, 2003
For those who were never in the military, especially the Marines, you will never understand some of the series. First, there is a certain level of brainwashing done during Marine Corps boot camp, along with Marines who are trained for one thing and one thing only and that is to kill. You want your Marines to be able to pull the trigger when the time comes, and you don’t want them to question why. If a Marine is in a firefight, you don’t want or need them freezing up and second-guessing if they should pull the trigger. You want them to do what they were trained to do and that is pull that trigger and move on. It’s not to say that we are heartless, or we are robots, we just understand what our role is, and we are there to take care of business, period.
This invasion took place in 2003, so Americans were still fired up because of Sept 11, 2001.
Another thing you need to understand is that the Marines have no intel about the country, in this case, the Marines from the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, have no idea what to expect, they have no idea what the enemy looks like, no idea if the local civilian population has weapons and wants Americans dead. So, you have all these Marines, who are trained to kill, playing humanitarian roles and that isn’t a role that Marines play well, they are an invasion force, not an occupation force. It’s not to say that Marines won’t play the humanitarian role, we are human, it is just not something we were trained to do.
You will notice that the NCOs, SNCOs, and to a lesser extent the officers must constantly reign their Marines back in, making sure that the junior Marines stay on mission. The bulk of the Corps are 18–21-year-olds. Another thing you will notice in this miniseries, is the Marines are sadly too accustomed to doing more with less, and that means that Marines usually get broken equipment, just like the broken gun turrets and the woodland camo MOPP suits. I recall getting issued broken shit all the time from supply. It is not uncommon to get issued a rifle with jacked-up sights or an ALICE pack missing straps.
There is a scene where the Marines are in a long convoy with Marines from the First Marine Division. Cpl Garza uses one of my favorite Marine Corps sayings, “Semper Gumby. Always flexible.” I tend to still use that phrase often today.
If you join the Corps, you can ensure that you will learn to function with zero to little sleep, that is a Marine Corps promise. Hell, you get your first experience of no sleep on your first night in boot camp.
I love the scene where Cpl Person questions that Hitman Actual (Capt Schwetje) had a map.
Sure enough, in a few minutes, we find that they took the wrong turn and got lost. For some reason, officers usually have a challenging time reading maps. It’s a running joke in the Corps, but it is also very true.