RAMADI, Iraq - He was 5 when he first fired an M-16, his father holding him to brace against the recoil. At 17 he enlisted in the Marine Corps, spurred by the memory of 9/11. Now, 21-year-old Galen Wilson has 20 confirmed kills in four months in
Iraq — and another 40 shots that probably killed insurgents. One afternoon the lance corporal downed a man hauling a grenade launcher five-and-a-half football fields away.
Wilson is the designated marksman in a company of Marines based in downtown Ramadi, watching over what Marines call the most dangerous neighborhood in the most dangerous city in the world.
Here, Sunni Arab insurgents are intent on toppling the local government protected by Marines.
Wilson, 5-foot-6 with a soft face, is married and has two children and speaks in a deep, steady monotone.
After two tours in Iraq, his commanders in the 3rd Battalion, 8th Regiment call him a particularly mature Marine, always collected and given to an occasional wry grin.
His composure is regularly tested. Swaths of central and southern Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, are dominated by insurgents who regularly attack the provincial government headquarters that Marines protect.
During a large-scale attack on Easter Sunday, Wilson says, he spotted six gunmen on a rooftop about 400 yards away. In about 8 seconds he squeezed off five rounds hitting five gunmen in the head. The sixth man dived off a 3-story building just as Wilson got him in his sights, and counts as a probable death.
“You could tell he didn’t know where it was coming from. He just wanted to get away,” Wilson said. Later that day, he said, he killed another insurgent.
Wilson says his skill helps save American troops and Iraqi civilians.
“It doesn’t bother me. Obviously, me being a devout Catholic, it’s a conflict of interest. Then again, God supported David when he killed Goliath,” Wilson said. “I believe God supports what we do and I’ve never killed anyone who wasn’t carrying a weapon.”
He was raised in a desolate part of the Rocky Mountains outside Colorado Springs, “surrounded by national parks on three sides,” he says. He regularly hunted before moving to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as a teenager. His brother also serves in the military.
Guns have long been part of Wilson’s life. His father was a sniper in the Navy SEALS. He remembers first firing a sniper rifle at age 6. By the time he enlisted he had already fired a .50-caliber machine gun.
“My father owned a weapons dealership, so I’ve been around exotic firearms all my life,” said Wilson, who remembers practicing on pine cones and cans. “My dad would help me hold (an M-16), with the butt on his shoulder, and walk me through the steps of shooting.”
Technically, Wilson is not a sniper he’s an infantryman who also patrols through the span of destroyed buildings that make up downtown Ramadi. But as his unit’s designated marksman, he has a sniper rifle. In the heat of day or after midnight, he spends hours on rooftop posts, peering out onto rows of abandoned houses from behind piles of sandbags and bulletproof glass cracked by gunfire.
Sometimes individual gunmen Marine slang for stealing glances at U.S. positions from behind a corner. Later, the distance was measured at 514 meters 557 yards.
“I didn’t doubt myself, if I was going to hit him. Maybe if I would have I would have missed,” Wilson said.
The key to accuracy is composure and experience, Wilson says. “The hardest part is looking, quickly adjusting the distance (on a scope), and then getting a steady position for a shot before he gets a shot off. For me, it’s toning everything out in my head. It’s like hearing classical music playing in my head.”
Though Wilson firmly supports the war, he used to wonder how his actions would be received back home.
“At first you definitely double-guess telling your wife, mom, and your friends that you’ve killed 20 people,” Wilson said. “But over time you realize that if they support you … maybe it’ll make them feel that much safer at home.”
He acknowledges that brutal acts of war linger in the mind.
“Some people, before they’re about to kill someone, they think that ‘Hey, I’m about to kill someone.’ That thought doesn’t occur to me. It may sound cold, but they’re just a target. Afterward, it’s real. You think, ‘Hey, I just killed someone,’” says Wilson.
Insurgents “have killed good Marines I’ve served with. That’s how I sleep at night,” he says. “Though I’ve killed over 20 people, how many lives would those 20 people have taken?”
Wilson plans to leave the Marines after his contract expires next year, and is thinking of joining a SWAT Team in Florida — possibly as a sniper.
He’s a DEVOUT Catholic. Well I went to Church, every Sunday, and Cathecism once a week until I was 16, and I never heard anyone over there say it was Ok to blow people away from 400 Yards. They never said it was OK to kill in war, they never said it was OK to kill period. In fact quite the opposite. But, more importantly, what the hell kind of a rah rah story is this. It sounds like an advertisement for morons like this guy to go out and join the Army so he can kill ragheads who can’t even see him. What is the Pentagon paying AP now to write these stories. Ok lets hear it, I know people have opinions on this one.
Zakaria: Rumsfeld Seems In A Parallel Universe and Slightly Deranged
Editor Fareed Zakaria ripped into Donald Rumsfeld this morning on ABC This Week. Watch it:
[If I were running against conservatives,] I would make up a campaign commercial almost entirely of Donald Rumsfeld press conferences, because the man is looking I mean, it not just that he seems like a bad Secretary of [Defense]. He seems literally in a parallel universe and slightly deranged. If you listen to what he said last week about Iraq, he is living in a different world, not a different country.
Zakaria may have been referencing Rumsfeld’s glib remarks last week when asked whether Iraq was getting closer to a civil war
Last month the 9/11 Truth Movement held a seminar here in Los Angeles, in which they talked about what really happened on that day. In attendence was Charlie Sheen, and Alex Jones from Infowars.com Winter Patriot talks about it in Bradblog
They are sorry they killed 34 Children, and 56 civilians total, but hey, that is where a rocket was lauched that landed harmessly, except for a couple of rabbits in an open field. You kill 2 Israeli Rabbits they kill 34 Children, this is the Israeli idea of a fair trade off.
QANA, Lebanon - Israeli missiles hit several buildings in a southern Lebanon village as people slept Sunday, killing at least 56, most of them children, in the deadliest attack in 19 days of fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed “great sorrow” for the airstrikes but blamed Hezbollah guerrillas for using the area to launch rockets at Israel, and said he would not halt the army’s operation.
The Lebanese Red Cross said the airstrike in Qana, in which at least 34 children were killed, pushed the overall Lebanese death toll to more than 500. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Lebanon in a setback for diplomatic efforts to end hostilities. H.L.s Take:
Of course Condi couldn’t do anything to help end the hostilities, because she (and bush) don’t want the hostilities to end. All War All the Time, and they all get rich.
4 More Marines, along with 2 “Militants”, and 2 civilians were killed yesterday in the never ending war of Bush. In other news The U.S. also killed 20 “Suspected” Taliban Agents in Afghanistan. As before, why bother capturing these “suspected” Taliban agents, and finding out if they are, and maybe getting some Information out of them. No, just kill them all.
Heeey The New York Times finally gets one right. They are backing the guy who is against the war that they helped start, by having their Bush shill Judith Miller lie, lie, lie about WMD’s About time you did something to help stop the tens of thousands of deaths you are partially responsible for.
NY Times Excerpt:
Earlier this year, Senator Joseph Liebermanâ€™s seat seemed so secure that â€” legend has it â€” some people at the Republican nominating convention in Connecticut started making bleating noises when the party picked a presumed sacrificial lamb to run against the three-term senator, who has been a fixture in Connecticut politics for more than 35 years.
The Hollywood Liberal is an anti-war, anti republican, from right here beautiful Hollywood California.
This site was originally started to help get The Worst President Ever G.W. Bush Jr. Out of office. Now that we have accomplished that
the goal is to get Obama to start acting like a Democrat, and not an butt kissing Republican Wannabee. We will continue to fight for that goal
. Thanks H.L.