Lance Corporal (LCPL) Anthony J. Sledd, 20, of Hillsborough, FL was killed in the service of his country in Kuwait. He was one of a company (about 130) of Marines and Sailors training in urban warfare, the correct technical term for which is MOUT (Marine Operations in Urban Terrain). Although LCPL Sledd had a weapon, he did not have live ammunition. His murderers were killed by MP’s, who do have live ammunition. No doubt much will be made of the ‘no live ammo’ issue, but it is correct for those inside, training. I leave it to your imagination what casualties this sort of training could produce were anyone to accidentally load live rounds when blanks are the order of the day. Good security on the edges of the training is a different matter, and usually US units have an agreement that the ‘host’ country will provide adequate security. The host country, Kuwait, has much to answer for.
LCPL Sledd was murdered and LCPL George R. Simpson, 21, of Dayton, OH, was wounded training for a job nobody wants to do, building to building warfare in a part of the world no American wants to live in. They did it because it was the job and it was important. I have never met LCPLs Sledd or Simpson, but it was my privilege to be a doc for many Marines just like them a few years ago, and if their peers are any indication I can tell you that these two Marines were hard working, dedicated young men with a bright future. They gave up a”regular” life for the Corps, asking only to be counted a Marine in return. I do not idealize them, but thank them and their families for their sacrifices to my country. I really do sleep better knowing they’re out there.