Fallujah Veterans Return Home

Larry Nicholas is a Navy Corpsman and an Iraq War veteran who fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004. He has written an amazing post in Tom Ricks’ Best Defense blog about Sailors and Marines returning from combat:

Larry Nicholas, Navy Corpsman and an Iraq War veteran, writes of Fallujah

The year was 2004. Our unit had been tasked with taking back the city of Fallujah from insurgents. We attacked the city, and after weeks of savage combat we succeeded. Several of our brothers were killed, many more severely injured, but in the end we accomplished our mission. We stayed in Iraq a little while longer, after which we went back to our duty station. Upon our return though, we were grasped by a surreal regard.

Everything around us was the same, except for the way people looked at us. They looked at us like we were superhuman. Everywhere we walked people would move out of our way, like Moses parting the Red Sea.

The Corporal was especially well regarded. He had a right to be. While I was proud of my part in the battle, it was nothing compared to what he had done. The tales that were told about his heroism were unbelievable, unimaginable, but they were true.

Shortly after coming back the Corporal started to have problems. He had taken to alcohol too readily, often becoming very drunk. During the Marine Corps Ball he was walking around his dress blues sloppily incoherent, intoxicated out of his mind. Seeing him like that was devastating. I felt as if I was watching him being slowly reduced to ash. I tried to talk to him for a little bit, hoping some sense would come though. He only said this to me, “I wish I was still the man I was in Fallujah.” I feared that the Corporal was becoming lost in his own anguish.

It is a sad story. Vets have to look after each other.

The Navy, the Marine Corps, and Celebrities

I ran across pictures of two celebrities, the singer Rihanna and the actress Mila Kunis, tonight. The first one, of Rihanna, I had to doctor somewhat. I think you can tell what is behind the blue rectangle. The original can be found here:

Rihanna Flicking Off the Camera During the Filming of Battleship

The second picture is from (yet another) Marine Corps Ball. The actress Mila Kunis and her date, Marine Corps Sergeant Scott Moore:

Mila Kunis, Marine Corps Ball, Sergeant Scott Moore

Okay, so both ladies were born outside the United States. Rihanna moved here from Saint Michael, Barbados, when she was sixteen. And Mila Kunis moved to Los Angeles when she was seven from Chernivtsi in the Ukrainian SSR.

Rihanna is filming Battleship. Just Jared, a pop website, decribed the movie as:

Rihanna and co-star Taylor Kitsch take on the roles of naval officers as they shoot scenes for their new movie, Battleship, in Oahu, Hawaii.

No details have been spilled about Ri’s character but Alexander Skarsgard will play a straight and narrow naval officer while Taylor will be the wildly spirited naval officer who idolizes his brother. Supermodel Brooklyn Decker also stars!

Rihanna in Battleship as a Petty Officer in the US Navy

First things first, Rihanna is not playing a naval officer, she is a Petty Officer. Look at her cover and collar on the left. Probably a Petty Officer Second Class. Or perhaps a Third Class?

Rihanna needs to understand that her role is bigger than herself. Her behavior in flicking off the camera is reprehensible. I particularly liked what my Shipmate here said:

I do have a more specific issue though, Rihanna and her behavior in a U.S. Navy uniform. I’m sure she couldn’t begin to understand the commitment it takes to earn the right to wear that uniform so I’ll give her a pass. As a black female NAVY veteran honorably discharged it’s disrespectful to see someone taking my uniform as a joke or just regular clothing.

Enough with that nonsense. Mila Kunis, star of That ’70s Show and Black Swan (with the kisser, Natalie Portman), and date to Sergeant Moore at his Marine Corps Ball, was nothing but classy at the event. Much like Justin Timberlake was with Corporal Kelsey De Santis. Smart move on both their parts. Free publicity is priceless. A Marine Corporal and a Captain had the following to say:

Mila Kunis and Sergeant Scott Moore, Marine Corps Ball

“A bunch of us are going to go our separate ways and us as a battalion, we’re going to spend this night together and just celebrate Marine Corps birthday under traditions we do for the Marine Corps everyday,” said Corporal William Steffy.

Mila Kunis, Macaulay Culkin

But the Marines admitted having Ms. Kunis here, was an honor in itself.

“She’s going to get a chance to learn about the Marine Corps and we’re all going to have a great time celebrating the Marine Corps birthday,” said Captain Scott Sasser.

Good job, Mila. You really plastered a smile on that Marine’s face. We can now forgive you for dating Macaulay Culkin for eight (8) years. . .

The Absolute Last Justin Timberlake Post of the. . .

Kelsey De Santis and her Pointer, Justin Timberlake

Mr. T’lake pulled up to the Marine Corps Ball and put on a show of pure class. Per all accounts, he appeared genuine in his response to the bloodthirsty, piratey Marines present.

Of the event, he had this to share. It:

“turned out to be one of the most moving evenings I’ve ever had.”

As for De Santis? “She seemed to be so humble and honest… Very cool.”

Corporal Kelsey De Santis USMC, Pink MMA Killah

Speaking of the battle-hardened Corporal, she tweetered:

The ball was epic! Had a wonderful time.

Apparently she just fought in a MMA fight three weeks ago. Her promo material is here, with the picture to the right.

This remains one of the feel-good stories of the last couple weeks in military-land. Both the Marine Corps and Justin came out of the exchange smelling like highly tactical carnations.

A giant hand, Justin Timberlake, and Corporal Kelsey De Santis, BF@MCB

I mentioned it at work (where no one knows I blog) and folks all seemed to be in grok-mode over its existence.

Now if we can only get everyone to memorize all the ‘Stans. (Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, um, Nightstan. . .)

What is next in the world of Marine Corps Balls social events?

Well, calling out celebrities is apparently all the rage. This guy hollered Will Ferrell. And this rapping Marine Sergeant (named Ray Lewis, although not the Raven) invited very Golden Girl Betty White.

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, Marine Corps’ Ballers

As a fellow blogger and reader pointed out in this post, the next biggest evolution is, of course, Mila Kunis and Sergeant Scott Moore.

The official blurb on YouRube:

Sgt Scott Moore with 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan asks Mila Kunis to the Marine Corps Ball in Greenville, NC on November 18th.

That is on Friday. It should be interesting.

Kelsey De Santis, Ranger Up

One last news-worthy note. Apparently, the good Corporal De Santis is sponsored by Ranger Up. Her story lists her working in France, training with Military Working Dogs, and getting trapped in an elevator as highlights of her five-year Marine Corps career.

All of which probably prepared her for an evening with Mr. Timberlake.

Aw, sorry. The guy came through. Nothing but class and I have to go and run him down like that. Yo JT, forget that I evah gave you a hard time over your dye-job. . .