August 31, 2003


Gregory S. Taylor’s father has composed a remarkable slideshow featuring pictures of Gregory’s brother Cpl. Brian Taylor and other Marines of Fox Company, 2nd BN, 23rd Marines, during the invasion of Iraq. Gregory writes: “Many are wonderful; some are heart-breaking. A few are graphic. They are all compelling.”

They sure are. This is a personal favourite. Following are Gregory’s notes to other images in the collection, taken from February 21 to May 29: 

• Brian's fire team. Brian is second from the left.

• Some Canadian they found.

• In their chemical-protective suits. (Brian on right).

• Brian's closest friend doing a procedure called selective de-masking. They were ordered to don their chemical-protective suits in preparation for an attack believed imminent. They can only wear the suits for so long -- one cannot eat in them (though one can drink). When they want to take them off, they "selectively de-mask": a volunteer breaks his seal while the rest watch from behind their masks to see if he dies.

• Brian's friends with the USMC flag with their Company motto (borrowed from Richard Marcinko) along the the flag's border: "Everybody has fun, nobody gets hurt."

• A few of those same Marines holding the flag a few days later, but now hurt.

• Brian sitting on the tailgate of a 7-ton truck. He told me he rode all the way to Baghdad from Kuwait on that tailgate and saw the whole bleeding country. His company is the only coalition infantry element of which he is aware that went in to battle without any armor.

• A Marine with a keen understanding of diplomacy

• Funeral service for Brian's friend Sgt. Cawley.

• Sgt. Cawley's battlefield monument

• Captured and corralled Fedayeen.

• This was the morning after they fought a four-hour firefight on this corner and slept on the roof there. During the fight, they were resupplied with ammunition and water several times but never had any artillery or air support (the circling F18s couldn't drop their munitions because the Marines were too close to their enemies). In this picture, Fox Co. is watching another company clear the compound where Fox Company's enemies were based the night before. They found no one living.

• This was taken by Brian during that firefight. The cars in the distance were filled with the corpses of would-be kamikazes.

• Brian at the end of that day. My favorite picture.

• Gives an idea of how they lived.

• Back at Camp Pendleton, me with Brian's son Keith on my shoulders, Brian's wife Shari with John and Jane.

• Brian holding his son John for the first time.

Writes Gregory: “What a thing.” Absolutely.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 31, 2003 05:35 PM

Captured and corralled Fedayeen.

Hey, you've just violated the geneva conventions! You are now an elite right wing death beast!

Posted by: Andjam at August 31, 2003 at 06:27 PM

Semper Fi! And thank you!

Posted by: K H at August 31, 2003 at 07:25 PM

God bless the President!

Here are some of my favorite photos

Posted by: BongoMan at August 31, 2003 at 10:44 PM

I wonder if the guys knew that the Canadian is on record as saying that he wouldn't warn any unit he was with of an enemy attack if he had knowledge of it.

Hey, Bongoman - the bloodshed could have been avoided if you had put the dictator-removing powers of your bongos to work.

Posted by: Dave S. at August 31, 2003 at 11:19 PM

Bongoman: I believe you really do enjoy those photos. Enough said.

Posted by: Mike at August 31, 2003 at 11:54 PM

Stand by for the next episode as BongoMan bends over and says to his Imam, "Please Sir, may I have another?"

Posted by: Mr. Snarky at August 31, 2003 at 11:59 PM

Amazing photos... I do have a question, though, if anyone here knows: why do they 'selectively de-mask'? Maybe it's just because I'm tainted by the coal mining days here in Southern Illinois, but wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to bring a freakin' canary or something?

Posted by: Aaron at September 1, 2003 at 12:09 AM

For Bongoman, the pencil dicked troll, a couple of lines of Kipling;

"Yes, making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, and they're starvation cheap ......."

Cpl Brian Taylor and his mates will never have to buy a beer in my my pub.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at September 1, 2003 at 01:05 AM

good on him.

Posted by: gaz at September 1, 2003 at 01:11 AM

Looking at these photos, I'm reminded of the statement made by Robert E. Lee during the battle of Fredericksburg (a Southern rout). As he watched his soldiers perform heroically and wonderfully, Lee said:

"It is good that war is so terrible,
or we shall grow too fond of it."

So true.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 1, 2003 at 02:15 AM

I'll buy that man a beer until the ending of the world and hold my manhood cheap.

Posted by: Andrew at September 1, 2003 at 02:29 AM

Those pictures make listening to the angry left that much harder. As for Bongoman's link, I wonder why we left Robert Fisk alive while killing almost all the other independent journalists, or is that Independent "journalists"?

Posted by: charles austin at September 1, 2003 at 08:16 AM

Maybe it's just because I'm tainted by the coal mining days here in Southern Illinois, but wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to bring a freakin' canary or something?

The far left are more likely to complain about mistreatment of canaries than of soldiers (unless complaining about the latter serves their agenda)

Posted by: Andjam at September 1, 2003 at 09:13 PM

Maybe it's just because I'm tainted by the coal mining days here in Southern Illinois, but wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to bring a freakin' canary or something?

actually... they did attempt to use chickens for that very purpose... maybe this is a better link. hahah, whiners.

however, the followup to that article would state that the chickens were all dead within weeks. yum, lunch!

Posted by: andy at September 4, 2003 at 02:20 PM