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Thursday, 09 August 2018 20:25

After the Donation: Retired Marine Pays it Forward as His Mission Continues

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Retired Marine Josue Guerrero-Uribe is often interviewed as a spokesperson with The Mission Continues. Retired Marine Josue Guerrero-Uribe is often interviewed as a spokesperson with The Mission Continues.

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To prepare for the aftermath of 9/11, Guerrero-Uribe was sent to the Twenty-Nine Palms National Training Center for one year to get ready for the harsh conditions of Iraq. In March of 2003, he became part of the first invasion of Iraq, but prior to that he was sent to Kuwait to construct “Camp Commando” and its entire infrastructure.

 

"We built everything there; you name it," he said. "It was just sand when we got there. One day, I remember carrying sand bags up to a sniper's tower, and I thought, ‘Wow, we're an easy target right now.’ We were the laborers and also did the security 24/7 at the camp."

 

When the official bombing on Baghdad began, Guerrero-Uribe and his platoon, (Weapons Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines) in conjunction with the First Marine Expeditionary Force (1MEF) and Regimental Combat Team-1 (RCT-1) became part of a combat team.

 

"We were the first ones who went through the middle of Iraq and ended up in downtown Baghdad," he said. "We took over the U.N. building in Baghdad, and it was very exciting. We were on autopilot at that point and didn't even know what day it was, but we kept moving."

 

The next stop was Saddam's palace in Tikkrit, North Iraq, Guerrero-Uribe said.

 

"They told us that we did such a good job in Baghdad that they were attached to Task Force Tripoli to take down the palace,” he said. “We were the first people there, and it was an amazing and heartbreaking thing to see. Here was a huge palace with waterfalls, marble flooring and gold-plated toilets everywhere, and just right outside the walls there was so much poverty and starvation. So much excess while the rest of Iraq was suffering---it was a humbling experience."


One day in Iraq, Guerrero-Uribe jumped off a truck with a mortar on his shoulder, landing awkwardly and blowing out his hip.

 

"Something in my leg popped, but I just kept going and ignored it,” he said. “When I got back to the states, I realized that something was really wrong with it."


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