I know of plenty of Marines that lost their lives, from suicide bombings and or from the other things that happened while we were there.
I’m Danny Jones. I am a United States Marine Corp War Veteran and also a Chattanooga Police Officer.
Sadia is the name of the suicide bomber. She was wearing this high depth, she was covered, completely covered. She was always with this young boy. Sadia had been using the boy to kind of case the outside of the Iraqi police station. This was a couple, three, four, or five days before her blowing herself up. The big concrete barriers were very tall around the whole compound. We had one major road that went right in front of us. Right across the street was their market. There was a traffic control point on the front of it. That’s where she imploded herself. Two Iraqi police officers were sitting just there. Both of them lost their lives. Some other folks got injured that were on the outside. The kid was the biggest thing for us.
The boy had different injuries specifically with his eyes and some stuff going on with his chest. He lost one limb. I can’t remember which.
While we were overseas we didn’t lose a marine. Since we have been back I have had to bury nine of my marines. One from homicide. Two from drunk driving. I have had six that have either overdosed or have committed suicide. That’s the toughest part.
We did some things before being deployed that you’re not supposed to do. I got the unit together and read Psalm 91 over the top of them.
So, we were home and it was probably two o’clock in the morning. I got a phone call, “Gunnie”. “Hey, what’s up?” It was one of my Lance Corporal Civilians, so way down on the rank structure and I’m a little bit higher, a lot higher actually. “Gunnie, I need help.” “Okay, what’s going on?” he said, “I’m in a real dark place. I’m wanting to hurt myself.” “Okay, where are you at?”
“I’m at home.” “Okay, what are you doing right now?” “Thinking about hurting myself.” Then through this whole process, he said, “I just remembered how much you cared.” I said, “Buddy it’s not that I care, it’s that God cares.” Walked him back through everything that we had ever talked about, everything that we ever prayed about. Luckily we were able to get him help. He is still with us today.
These young men need not just leadership but spiritual leadership. It’s the reason my wife and I started an inner-city ministry. I’ve got a kid that we have been mentoring for six years.
I’ve got another kid that was up at the house two weekends ago, his mom was murdered. As we ruled out other people the grandmother comes. I said, “We are going to release the kids to you but before we do I want to pray for you if that’s okay.” She had tears in her eyes and she said, “Yeah, I’d love for you to pray for me.” I just remember saying, “God whoever did this to her daughter I want them to come to justice. I want them to come to justice in such a way that ultimately you are glorified.” Something of that nature. Two weeks later we get a call from someone trying to commit suicide with a knife. He was being held by his brother. I got to the front door and said to the mother, “Ma’am, I just need to know his first name.” She said, “His name is Brandon. He is the guy that you guys have already named in the homicide.” Sure enough, his brother was holding him, Brandon. He had cut himself. Not very deep but he had cut himself enough that he would need stitches.
We got him into custody. I got to spend four hours with this young man. He brought up that God was mad at him or something. I don’t remember exactly what he said or how it was said. I told him ultimately that God forgives him for whatever he has done. “If you want that we can pray that.” He said, “I will just appreciate it if you pray for me.” I said, “Okay, I will do that. Do you want me to do that right now or what?” He said, “Yeah, right now.” I prayed for him.
I saw his brother about a year after this all had transpired. I remembered the brother. I said, “Hey, how is Brandon doing?” He looked at me but didn’t know who I was. He just knew I was a cop. He said, “How do you know my brother?” I said, “Remember that night?” He said, “Oh yeah.” I said, “How is he doing? How is his walk with Christ?” He said, “Man, you wouldn’t believe it. He’s completely changed.”