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April 26, 2010 | By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
When she deploys to the violence of Afghanistan, Marine Lance Cpl. Sarah Hogg, 20, of Fort Worth, Texas, will remember a sunny day of food and friendship on the shore of Lake Mission Viejo. So will hundreds of other Marines from the headquarters battalion of the 1st Marine Division who attended a festive gathering Saturday hosted by a Mission Viejo group that "adopted" the battalion seven years ago. Although support groups for military units are common near bases throughout the U.S., some of the most active are those in Orange County that sponsor activities for the Marines and sailors of Camp Pendleton.
December 31, 2009 | By Tony Perry
It's not yet 10 a.m., and Lt. Col. William McCollough must confront a pair of problems that threaten to undercut Marine success in this onetime Taliban stronghold. Two members of the community council, the group organized by Marines to instill confidence among villagers in their government, have been killed, probably by Taliban fighters. The Afghan police response has been sluggish. Meanwhile, rumors are sweeping the farming community that there is favoritism and corruption in the U.S.-sponsored program to distribute wheat seed and fertilizer.
October 4, 2009 | Susan Salter Reynolds
The Good Soldiers David Finkel Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 284 pp., $26 U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Kauzlarich's favorite saying is "It's all good." In April 2007, he led a battalion of 800 soldiers into one of the most dangerous areas in Baghdad. The 2-16 Battalion left Fort Riley, Kan., to stay in Iraq for 15 months. The average age of the soldiers was 19. David Finkel, a reporter for the Washington Post, does a stunning job of bringing us inside their lives, hearts and minds.
August 29, 2009 | Phil Willon
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday nominated Battalion Chief Millage Peaks to be the city's new fire chief, replacing the retiring Douglas L. Barry, the department's first African American top commander. If confirmed by the City Council, Peaks, who is also African American, will take over a department that has been struggling in recent years with allegations of hazing and racial unrest among firefighters. The department has also made major budget cuts in the last few months that officials admit could reduce emergency response times, and contract talks between the mayor's office and a firefighters union appear headed for an impasse.
Police in Georgia fatally shot a former military officer and wounded two men suspected of plotting a mutiny that embarrassed the government and fueled opposition demands for the president to resign. Protesters blocking Tbilisi's streets in the seventh week of an anti-government campaign condemned the predawn shootings, which took place when police stopped a van carrying the three men, suspected of leading the mutiny at a tank battalion base. The men had been heading for refuge in one of Georgia's rebel-held provinces, according to an Interior Ministry statement.
May 6, 2009 | Alexandra Jinjikhashvili and Megan K. Stack
Georgia's president, a post-Soviet darling of the Bush administration, is struggling with a buildup of Russian troops in breakaway territories and an angry opposition movement intent on driving him from power. Suddenly, the integrity of the armed forces is in doubt as well. The short-lived mutiny of a tank battalion Tuesday was another reminder of the instability that has racked Georgia since it was defeated last summer in a war with Russia.
October 6, 2008 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
While other children nearby were playing and laughing, 4-year-old Jaden Williams was quietly focused on one thought: "My daddy is coming home today," he said in a calm but resolute voice. Indeed, Marine Cpl. George Williams, 22, was among more than 170 Marines and sailors from the 1st Intelligence Battalion, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force who enjoyed their first day home Sunday after a seven-month deployment to Iraq.
October 9, 2007 | Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
CAMP PENDLETON -- The U.S. involvement in Iraq is often judged by numbers -- the number of boots on the ground, the number of dead. When 200 members of the 800-member 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment extended their enlistments earlier this year so they could accompany the Two-Five back to Iraq, their decision was numerically significant.
June 30, 2007 | David Zucchino, Times Staff Writer
THE battalion commander rose to address the families of soldiers bound for Iraq. Lt. Col. Mark Stock was responsible for the safety of 820 paratroopers and, ultimately, the life trajectories of hundreds of toddlers, spouses and parents squeezed into the pews of a base chapel. There was no easy way to say what had to be said. Stock uttered a single word: "Casualties." The families fell silent, except for the sudden stab of a baby's cry.
March 11, 2007 | David Zucchino, Times Staff Writer
The high-value target was shacked up with a prostitute. That, at least, was the story provided by an Iraqi man who approached this combat outpost dug into the muddy east bank of the Tigris River in Baghdad. The target was Usama Kokez, a Sunni accused of leading a kidnapping ring that had executed several Shiite civilians. The tip sent 1st Lt.
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