To those who wear the uniform....Thank You
In 2006 I was a Marine Lance Corporal preparing for my second deployment to Ramadi, Iraq as an automatic rifleman. My unit only issued optics with M16�s and M4�s, but because I took my mission seriously, I used personal funds to purchase an EOTech 552 for my M249 SAW. On 20 December, 2006 I was part of a motorized combat patrol consisting of eight armored gun trucks holding a stationary security position for our combat engineers who were working nearby. Inevitably, after a few hours of sitting still, insurgent forces had had the time to organize and plan an assault on our patrol. They were relatively successful considering what they were up against. They initiated the attack with multiple RPG�s fired simultaneously and minimal small arms cover fire. One RPG hit our command vehicle immobilizing it, killing the driver, and wounding several other occupants. Another barely missed my vehicle and hit the vehicle to our rear, damaging its IED counter-measure equipment, and scattering the remains throughout the area. As the rest of our patrol began evacuating casualties my team leader and I exited our vehicle to recover the more significant pieces of debris from the damaged IED counter-measure antenna. I provided cover with my SAW as he dragged the antenna back towards our truck. As I was scanning the area I heard small arms fire to my rear and turned to see my team leader firing his M4 Carbine down a side road to our south. Immediately I shouldered my SAW and began to suppress that entire side road. At that time an RPG impacted the ground 50-75 yards down the side road. The immediate fire that I was able to return had been enough to throw off the RPG gunner�s shot. The smoke trail from the rocket drew our fire to the gunner and cover man�s position where we were able to suppress and neutralize them. Due to the design of the EOTech, I was able to acquire my sights quickly and instinctively, allowing me to gain immediate fire superiority. I was able to keep both of my eyes open and pick up the RPG gunner�s failed shot and position so that I could effectively suppress and render him ineffective. Sight alignment was a non-issue when using this type of optic. This was ideal for me as an automatic rifleman and allowed much faster recovery between bursts of fire. The effective cover fire that I was able to lay down protected my team leader and me, and also allowed the rest of our patrol to safely return through our position as they evacuated wounded Marines.