2011 Third Squad
Patrol Base Fires, Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines
Name and Rank: Corporal Manuel "Dozer" Mendoza
Hometown: Weslaco, Texas
Why did you join the Marine Corps?
"I joined the Marine Corps because I’ll never forget September 11th . . . I love my country, I’m a patriot straight up, even though I’m Mexican. I feel like I got a debt to the United States because I have such a great life back at home. I have my family, I had a good education, you know? So I felt like I gotta pay that debt."
What did you expect from Afghanistan?
"I did expect the whole death thing. Blood . . . I wasn't expecting the blood, bones dangling everywhere, I wasn't expecting that. I was hoping I wouldn't have to see that."
Why do you think the Taliban are fighting?
"What I think about the Taliban, I think they're just misled. They don't know what they're fighting for, most of them. They're forced to believe in things they don't understand. They are ruthless, but only because they're forced to. They're evil men though, 'cause they don't stand up for themselves. THey don't stand up for what's right, and war is not right. Beating women and children, beating helpless civilians, that's not right."
"All they use is fear. They make the people fear them, and that's where they gain their power. The power is with the people, so that's why the whole counterinsurgency thing is good, it's good to do it. Because the people are the key to Afghanistan, whether we like it or not, it is what it is. The people are the key to Afghanistan, and that's what a lot of coalition forces don't really understand."
"They try to drill it into our heads. But once we start getting hurt, start taking casualties, with all the casualties, everybody starts forgetting about the people and just starts worrying about their brothers in arms."
What are the Marines fighting for?
"We are trained to do the whole count
- @ Elliott D. Woods 2011
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