Marines of Echo Company Tell of Ramadi Battle
(L to R) Samawi Al Helli, Lt. John McLaughlin, Major Grybowski.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum’s most recent program in an ongoing series of educational symposiums focused on the use of modern urban warfare by the Marines of Echo Company during a fierce battle in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006-2007. The event panelists included Echo Company commander, Scott Huesing, two men that served with him during the battle (Lt. John McLaughlin and Staff Sgt. Brian McKibben), a Gold Star brother of one of the fallen (Chris Libby, brother of Cpl. Dustin Libby, fatally wounded in December 2006), and an Iraqi-born interpreter (Samawi Al Helli) who helped the Americans for three years as an interpreter.
The symposium was based on the book, “Echo in Ramadi,” written by Major Scott Huesing, USMC (Retired). Huesing wrote the book to provide a firsthand account of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, and their bloody battles in what was widely considered the deadliest city of the Iraq War.
Major General James Livingston, USMC (Retired)
Major Scott Huesing sets the stage with the moderator.
Photos by Chris Hauff, Patriots Point
During the event, Huesing and the other Marines recalled how important the interpreters were to their mission. They worked around the clock, often logging more hours at a time than the Marines they served alongside. Samawi “Big Sam” Al Helli told the story of how he turned his love and interest in American culture into a job as an interpreter when Al Qaeda made repeated threats against him and his family. He shared the goal of the Americans to eradicate the terrorist group from Iraq and he vowed to help them in that mission.
These men battled in a war where the frontline was everywhere and always changing and the enemy was relentless and ruthless. Through it all, the men were a band of brothers, as has been the story of all who have served Echo Company in the many years of the United States Marine Corps. Also joining the symposium was Medal of Honor recipient General James Livingston, who led his own troops of Echo Company during the Vietnam War.
The symposium was the latest in the ongoing series, “Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things” presented by the Patriots Point Institute of History, Science & Technology.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum event list:
December 7 – Pearl Harbor Day Memorial Service (Free)
December 15 – Space Day
January 24 – March 31 – Picturing Nam U.S. Military Photography of the Vietnam War (Traveling Exhibit)
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