Holy Shit!

From Holden:

An entire squad of Marines is wiped out in Iraq, one of three squads that make up a platoon which has sustained a 60% casualty rate in our newest colony. These are Civil War-era casualty rates, folks. All these fine young men and women, 1,612 so far, dead – and for what?

The explosion enveloped the armored vehicle in flames, sending orange balls of fire bubbling above the trees along the Euphrates River near the Syrian border.

Marines in surrounding vehicles threw open their hatches and took off running across the plowed fields, toward the already blackening metal of the destroyed vehicle. Shouting, they pulled to safety those they could, as the flames ignited the bullets, mortar rounds, flares and grenades inside, rocketing them into the sky and across pastures.

Gunnery Sgt. Chuck Hurley emerged from the smoke and turmoil around the vehicle, circling toward the spot where helicopters would later land to pick up casualties. As he passed one group of Marines, he uttered one sentence: “That was the same squad.”

Among the four Marines killed and 10 wounded when an explosive device erupted under their Amtrac on Wednesday were the last battle-ready members of a squad that four days earlier had battled foreign fighters holed up in a house in the town of Ubaydi. In that fight, two squad members were killed and five were wounded.

In 96 hours of fighting and ambushes in far western Iraq, the squad had ceased to be.

Every member of the squad — one of three that make up the 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment — had been killed or wounded, Marines here said. All told, the 1st Platoon — which Hurley commands — had sustained 60 percent casualties, demolishing it as a fighting force.

“They used to call it Lucky Lima,” said Maj. Steve Lawson, commander of the company. “That turned around and bit us.”