DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS, 1st BATTALION, 327th INFANTRY
101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION (AIR ASSAULT)
“ABOVE THE REST”
August 30, 2006
Dear Americans Supporting Americans,
Our Adopted Cities of Burlingame and San Mateo, California, and Ashland City, Brentwood, Franklin, and Winchester, Tennessee:
I am happy to tell all of you that our tour here in Iraq is at an end and we will all be home soon. I want to thank all of our extended family for the unbelievable support you have given us here in Iraq and to our families at home. Your efforts have had an un-measurable impact on the soldiers and families of the 1st Battalion 327th Infantry Regiment “Above the Rest”. You have sent hundreds of letters and packages, not only to us, but also to our families. All of those things were very nice and much appreciated. However, what helped us the most was the knowledge that so many people- many we have never met- took time from their busy lives to show that they “cared” about us and our families. Knowing this, has made a difference each and everyday. It has made the sacrifice and separation from our loved ones less painful. It has made our feelings and relationship with our adopted cities very personal and very special. I will never be able to explain how deeply appreciative I feel about all of you and your service to the men and women of the Bulldog Battalion. I have served in the United States Army for over 21 years and the relationship with our “Above the Rest” adopted cities is one of the greatest highlights of my career.
I wanted to share some things that your soldiers have done over the past year. We were charged to complete two missions during our deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom IV: train Iraq Security Forces both Police and Army to be credible and capable of dealing with counter insurgency operations, and neutralize Anti Iraqi Forces (AIF) or terrorists to allow time to build capable Iraqi Security Forces. The battalion accomplished both of these missions. Over the last year we trained over 2000 Iraqi soldiers on basic and advanced infantry skills and trained 1500 Iraqi policemen on marksmanship, patrolling and the rule of law. The battalion has conducted over 2000 Combat Patrols, Raids, and Cordon and Search Operations of 200+ villages and towns. Through all of this your soldiers detained and convicted over 300 known terrorists - the bulk of the 1st Brigade’s bad men were captured by your soldiers. The area we operate in is known for Improvised Explosive Device’s (IEDs). We have encountered over 800 IEDs during our tour, many of which were discovered and than purposely detonated by our Explosive Ordnance personnel. Our efforts have also benefited the average Iraqi citizen. We have built schools, medical clinics, water purification plants, paved roads, and provided supplies for hospitals and schools. Much of the school supplies were sent from our adopted cities. The media may cover several things that are not going well but your adopted soldiers have made a difference everyday, not only in fighting terrorism, but also in improving the lives of the Iraqi people.
Your efforts and support, and knowing that more than just our immediate families cared about us has made a difference and has served as a combat multiplier. We have probably not done a great job at writing letters and telling you how much we appreciate everything you have done, but please understand that all of us are grateful for your support and friendship. More importantly, we all feel privileged that we are so fortunate to have all of our adopted cities. This last year has been filled with very powerful emotions for all: the anxiety of long separation, the fear of possible loss, the jubilation upon reunion at mid tour leave and for the homecoming, and of course the unbearable sorrow for our fallen.
The bond formed between warriors who have suffered the privations of combat together is very strong and in many cases silent. Our bond with all of you is just as strong as the bond we feel towards one another. This is the strongest compliment I can give you. I give you from the heart two words that never quite convey how and what we feel but say it all.
“Honor and Country”
LTC Marc B. Hutson