Landstuhl (Germany), April 3 (Reuters): Three wounded US Marines yesterday said how they were “kind of confused about who the enemy is” after being confronted by Iraqi soldiers posing as civilians while fighting in Iraq.
Speaking at a news conference at the US military medical facility at Landstuhl, Germany, they also described their exhaustion after going without sleep for days at a time when battles became drawn out.
Gunnery Sergeant Bill Hale, 35, of Pennsauken, New Jersey, and First Lt. James Uwins, 26 of South Pasadena, California, were ambushed near Nasiriyah, scene of some of the fiercest fighting to date.
“This battle was only supposed to last six hours. We were fighting five days straight, 24 hours a day,” said Hale, who is in a wheelchair after suffering concussion, nerve damage and injuries to his lower back and knee after being blasted into the air by Iraqi fire.
The constant artillery fire and the need to be alert to attacks left them unable to sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time in 36 to 40 hour periods, they said.
The Marines said separating civilians from the military was proving particularly difficult. Some Iraqi soldiers dressed as civilians, while women and children were used as human shields. “We’re kind of confused about who the enemy is,” said Hale, who, like Uwins, is from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.