Memorial Day 2005

War President by Joe Wezorek2002

Jan.29:In his State of the Union address, George W. Bush identifies Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil" and vows that the United States "will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."


March19:Invasion of Iraq begins when the United States launches Operation Iraqi Freedom.

March23:Marine Cpl. Jose A. Garibay, 21, Costa Mesa. Killed in action near Nasiriyah.

March30:Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld deflects criticism that the U.S. failed to deploy sufficient ground troops in Iraq.

April5:Marine 1st Sgt. Edward Smith, 38, Anaheim. Died from wounds suffered in combat.

May1:George W. Bush, standing on the deck of the USS AbrahamLincoln,a huge banner reading "Mission Accomplished" at his back, declares major combat operations in Iraq are over.

July9:In hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld says the cost of U.S. forces in Iraq is more than $3.9 billion a month, double what was previously reported. The hearings affirm that 140,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

Nov.29:Army Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Bertolino, 40, Orange. Killed in ambush, Haditha.

Nov.30:November has been the bloodiest month of the war, with insurgents killing at least 75 American soldiers, including 16 who died when their helicopter was shot down by Iraqi guerrillas.

Dec.30:Army Spc. Justin W. Pollard, 21, Foothill Ranch. Killed in Baghdad.


Jan.28:David Kay, former head of the U.S. weapons inspection teams in Iraq, tells a Senate committee that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq and that prewar intelligence about Saddam Hussein's arsenal was "almost all wrong."

Jan.31:Sgt. Eliu A. Miersandoval, 27, San Clemente. Killed by improvised explosive device, Kirkuk.

Feb.2:Under pressure from nearly all points of the political spectrum, George W. Bush calls for an independent commission to study U.S. intelligence failures.

March13:Army Pfc. Joel K. Brattain, 21, Santa Ana. Killed by explosive, Baghdad.

April8:Marine Staff Sgt. William M. Harrell, 30, Placentia. Killed in Anbar province.

April13:Staff Sgt. Victor A. Rosales-Lomeli, 29, Westminster. Killed in explosion.

April30:Appalling physical and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad comes to light when photographs are released by the U.S. media. The images spark outrage around the world. Criminal charges are filed against seven U.S. soldiers.

May1:Army Spc. Trevor A. Win'E, 22, Orange. Killed by explosive device, Tikrit.

May29:Marine Lance Cpl. Rafael Reynosa Suarez, 28, Santa Ana. Killed by explosive, Anbar.

June19:Marine Pfc. Sean Horn, 19, Orange. Died in Camp Taqaddum.

June26:Marine Lance Cpl. Manuel A. Ceniceros, 23, Santa Ana. Died in fighting, Anbar province.

July9:The Senate Intelligence Committee releases a unanimous, bipartisan "Report on Pre-War Intelligence on Iraq," harshly criticizing the CIA and other American intelligence agencies for the "mischaracterization of intelligence." The report says that "most of the major key judgments" on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were "either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence report." It also concludes that there was no "established formal relationship" between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

Sept.6:Marine Lance Cpl. Derek L. Gardner, 20, San Juan Capistrano. Killed by car bomb, Anbar province.

Sept.7:The U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 1,000. About 7,000 soldiers have been wounded. In August, attacks on American forces reached their highest level since the beginning of the war, an average of 87 per day.

Sept.10:Army Spc. Edgar P. Daclan, 24, Cypress. Killed by explosive, Balad.

Oct.13:Army Major Charles R. Soltes, Jr., 36, Irvine. Killed by explosive device, Mosul.

Nov.7:Spc. Quoc Binh Tran, 26, Mission Viejo. Killed by roadside bomb outside Baghdad.

Nov.9:Marine Sgt. William C. James, 24, Huntington Beach. Killed in Anbar province.

Dec.10:After Army Spec. Thomas Wilson asks Rumsfeld why adequate armor is not readily available to troops, Rumsfeld replies, "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have."

Dec.28:Navy Seaman Pablito Pena Briones, Jr., 22, Anaheim. Killed in Fallujah.


Jan.12:The White House announces that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main justification for war, is officially over. No such weapons were found.

Jan.25:In an interview with the WallStreetJournal,Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David Chu is quoted as saying that military pensions, health insurance and benefits for widows and retirees "have gotten to the point where they are harmful. They are taking away from the nation's ability to defend itself."

Jan.27:Thirty-one Marines die in a helicopter crash and five other U.S. soldiers are killed by Iraqi insurgents elsewhere in the country, making it the single deadliest day for American soldiers since the war began. The death toll for U.S. soldiers is now at 1,408.

Jan.29:Lt. Cmdr. Keith Taylor, 47, Irvine. Killed in rocket attack on the U.S. Embassy, Baghdad.

March3:The Pentagon announces that American deaths have reached 1,500 in Iraq. It took 295 days to reach 500 deaths, 242 days to reach 1,000 and only 177 to reach 1,500.

March28:Pfc. Samuel S. Lee, 19, Anaheim. Killed in Ramadi.

April25:Members of Company E of the Magnificent Bastards battalion based at Camp Pendleton say that four Marines, including Santa Ana's Rafael Reynosa Suarez, would have survived an April 25, 2004, attack had their Humvee been properly outfitted. The four had rigged makeshift scrap-metal shields along the side that rose only as high as their shoulders. "The steel was not high enough," said Staff Sgt. Jose S. Valerio. "Most of the shrapnel wounds were to their heads."

May9:The Marines, who have recalled more than 5,000 sets of body armor that failed to pass crucial tests, announce they have also failed to reach their recruitment goal for the fourth straight month. The Army announces it has failed to reach its goal for the past three.

May19:From TheNewYorkTimes:"American military commanders in Baghdad and Washington gave a sobering new assessment on Wednesday of the war in Iraq . . . In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major drawdown in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last 'many years.'"


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