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July 2, 2004
JASON ROSE, U. S. Navy Corpsman who served as a medic for the Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, and First Marine Division in Iraq in April 2003. I wrote a little about Jason last April, now I have the rest of his story. As a young boy, I knew Jason’s Grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Rose; they owned Rose Market in Thermalito. Jason’s Aunt, Jan Rose Bales, does research for our Veterans Memorial and still lives here in Thermalito, as does her mother. Jason’s mother and stepfather, Ellen Hancock- Rose and John Hancock live in Woodland. Jason and his wife Marlie recently moved to Louisiana where he will finish his time in the Navy. Jason lived in Oroville as a young boy and graduated from Chico High School in 1993. Jason was involved in the tearing down the first big statue of Saddam Hussein in the main square of Baghdad in April of 2003. I had the pleasure of talking to Jason, in my home, in April 2004. These are Jason’s words as told to me. “One month before the War we were sitting around Camp Coffee, with Bravo Company, preparing for the war. On the first day of the war they crossed into Iraq with long lines of vehicles. I had to disperse all kinds of Drugs incase of chemical warfare etc. We had two corpsmen for 76 Tank men. We had Arbrams MI Tanks and Hercules. Then we sat and waited over night. One tank was hit. The shell penetrated within ½ inch of coming through. Lucky men in that tank. As we rolled into the fight there was noise everywhere, things blowing up. We fixed a broken tank then got lost in the Desert, then found our group who had taken out Iraqi tanks from long distances. We took 3 bridges and the next day moved north. It was hot but we trained in the Californian desert. After two weeks we dumped our chemical suits. We did still wear our bulletproof vests. We rolled into Baghdad Square, the Iraqis were very glad, they threw us cigarettes. I gave out some Medical advice to them and taped up broken ribs on a man, kids were passing out flowers. Cigars were passed around. An area leader in a white robe asked for help to pull the statue down. He wanted to borrow a rope, we gave them a sledgehammer to hit the base. They really wanted our help. Our commander said no, but finally got permission from higher up to do it. Gunny Sgt. Leon Lambert said get the big boom with a chain to the head, backed up to the statue, all hatches on this work tank were open. Foreign reporters climbed on to get interviews. A few of our cameras ended up missing. Cpl. Edward Chin climbed up the boom to put up the American Flag that Lt. McLaughlin, who was at the Pentagon on 9-11 had. That was the flag everyone saw on T. V. The crowd went nuts, very happy, singing etc. Gunny went up to take our flag down and put up an Iraq flag. Before they toppled the statue the Iraqis said take down our flag so it does not get soiled. So I went up to do this and gave it to the crowd. The statue was toppled with great cheering. Sandals were thrown at it, an insult in Iraq. It was just a wonderful happy time. Jason’s message to all of us; “If you have people over there, do not let them hear the negative. It hurts us tremendously. Say we love you, support you and hope you come home. Don’t tell your soldier anything bad at home ( dog died, Grandpa very sick, etc.) Just support him or her to the utmost.”

Stu’s notes:
Thank you Jason for the time you took to come and tell me your story. And thank you for your service to our country. Another Thank You goes to my neighbor, Floyd Readman and The Big “E” Bingo for their generous donation to our Oroville Veterans Memorial Park. I would also like to thank Jan for letting me know about Jason.