Every Other Four is a Real Life Day-to-Day Memoir of a Marine in Iraq in 2005
Cpl. Matthew Wojtecki first started writing Every Other Four down in journals the day after his unit, Weapons Company 3/25 was activated to go to Iraq. As the reader follows the day-by-day journal from the 23 year old's life as a college student to training and then to war, it is obvious that Wojtecki spared nothing in the writing of this work as it is separated in day to day sections of his unit's journey to Iraq and back in 2005.
Wojtecki describes quite vividly throughout the book how his unit came together from diverse backgrounds to achieve a common goal despite differences. The journal, as with many Marines in real life, accounts for a romance with Wojtecki's fiancee back home, the emotions that ran high even as 3/25 boarded the aircraft to fly across the world.
While in country, 3rd Battalion 25th Marines saw some of the fiercest fighting, facing grueling operations lasting 2-3 weeks at a time with little to no sleep and patrolling some of the most treacherous roadways in Iraq's al-Anbar provence, also known as The Sunni Triangle. The book constantly reminds us of not only the brutal realities of war, but also the mundane times as well, giving us a real sense of time on the battlefield where minds run wild awaiting an enemy. An enemy that hid among lawless river towns in the surrounding areas of the Haditha Dam, a hydroelectric power station supplying the majority of power to western Iraq. While constantly on guard, Wojtecki serves first as a gunner atop of a Humvee and then as a combat driver for the Mobile Assault Platoon (MAP) nicknamed Crazy 8. The book takes us through day-to-day operations from routine police work along the local roads in Haditha, to securing major towns and landmarks, raids on key enemy houses, participating in major operations, airstrikes, and supporting the line companies such as the legandary Lucky Lima Co. of 3/25.
What Does "Every Other Four" Mean?
The term Every Other Four first had a very distinct meaning. One of Cpl. Wojtecki's Team Leaders, Cpl. Travis Stocker ("Night Stocker") told him a story while still in training at 29 Palms about his grandpa and how he was drafted during the Vietnam war. He said, "They would take the draftees and line them up. They would each count off - 1-2-3-4. The first person would be in the Army, the second Air Force, three Navy and every other fourth person was a Marine. My grandpa shipped off to war that day" said Night Stocker. The meaning of Every Other Four stuck, as most of us were called up unexpectedly and deployed to Iraq.
The term takes on new meaning, as some will find, throughout the book. Four Marines assigned to a Humvee, Four steps before looking behind you on patrol. About one out of every Four Marines received a Purple Heart for being injured during the tour. The number lives throughout the book as Wojtecki and other Marines become more superstitous. Things not done a certain way would somehow result in bad luck for Crazy 8. For those who finish the book the term Every Other Four may have a special meaning for you too.
What Kind of Book is Every Other Four?
A word from the author
This is a fair warning. This book is not a gallant rave of someone who wants to brag, boast, or act tough. This is not a narrative about how heroic the author was and how he never showed emotion and was always brave in the face of the enemy. This is not a book about how the author killed for the fun of it. This is not a book to write solely for the pursuit of profits. This book is not a book that was thoroughly run through by an editor that knew nothing about what the author went through when he wrote it.
This book is a journal. A memoir. A diary of the events that happened to Ohio's Marine unit 3/25 in Iraq in 2005. In this book the author leaves nothing out. The author does not attempt to balance excitement while leaving out sections of entries. If you have ever viewed long war movies where brave men are seemingly fighting through their entire tour, this book does not do that. Those movies are also wrong. War is hell not only because the participants suffer through periods of combat, which in many cases last minutes, but also because of those periods of intense waiting. "What is behind that mountain or cliff face? Who is coming around the corner? Is someone going to jump out from behind this door and blow my head off? If I keep driving on this road, is this one of the roads that an insurgent planted an IED on?" The gallant and heroic words of many great authors are entertaining, but reality is something all together different. In a sense, we can also feel how many have become hardened from reading a journal style memoir.
The power of a memoir where the author expresses his emotions, recounts events as they unfold and happen as the author felt at that time is a unique thing. "Even as I look back on the war today, it is unbelievable what our unit went through let alone the emotional struggle during that period."
In short, the book is a real life account of 3/25's experiences in 2005.
An Excerpt from Every Other Four
By: Cpl. Matthew Wojtecki
31 JULY - 11 AUGUST 2005 OPERATION QUICK STRIKE, BARWANA, IRAQ
Grab your gear and get on the trucks we've got three KIA's! was the last thing I heard this afternoon before all hell broke loose. We moved out as fast as we could to the east side toward where we dropped off the snipers / MAKO 7. They had taken contact. One second they had COM with them and the next just silence over the airwaves. MAKO 8 humped three clicks to their position and we drove 30 clicks, over the usual rough terrain route we took during the night. This time we made it there in twenty minutes. On the way there, my heart was pounding out of my chest. Sgt Carr yelled over the engine, "Expect contact and casualties!" as we continued moving over stones and rough terrain of the east side of the Euphrates up a huge surface that jutted out by River Road. <>MAKO 8 found them on the top of the hill, [...] The fifth sniper in the MAKO team, Sgt Boskovitch, was shoved into a truck and taken away by insurgents. His dog tags were found at the site. I just talked to Montgomery and Deyarmin the night before. It hit me as I sat in the driver's seat starring out over the open desert. Tire tracks led to Route Hamsters and a [...] was the only thing that remained at the scene. This is so horrible , I couldn't believe this was happening, especially only 40 days away from getting the fuck out of here. How could someone have done this?
So the search began for MIA Boskovitch as we were ordered further east to conduct VCP's of enemy vehicles moving south out of the village. 3/2 was dropped from cobra helicopters just north of east village and two squads of Marines from al-Qui'm were sent to conduct VCP's on Raptors and Phoenix. One guy was overly rude in describing his experiences in OIF I. He had that condescending tone [...]. As much as I wanted to just forget this and go home, we owed it to the five snipers to avenge their deaths, and we would.
At 2300 we were ordered by LTC Catalano to RTB and stand by for an OP order. Officers gathered in the CoC to discuss the push of Lima Co. coordinating with 3/2 and ISF. Crazy 8 fit into the operation by being the first into Barwanah with an escort of tanks to provide a southeaster blocking position while Lima Co. leveled everything from south to north. I laid in bed for about an hour wondering if when we went out tonight, if we would ever come back alive or in one piece. We just got word that sometime this morning Kaybar 9 got hit with an SVBIED and Sgt Graham was killed. Rick Turner, who had been in my vehicle for the first three months of this deployment in Haditha with Crazy 8, was severely injured. Hey lost an eye and his legs were injured badly. It was a shame for Turner who just wanted to make something for himself, now suddenly within a few seconds he was fighting for his life. Before we left I talked to Ross, who was taking the sniper massacre pretty bad. Deyarmin was his best friend and roommate for many years and he was distraught. What was really screwed up was that just a day ago I was talking to Montgomery about how we used to go to his parent's yacht club and get beer tickets. "When are we going to do that again?" I remembered asking him. I think that it will affect me the most when I see his parents and brother.
| "What did you do today ….for Freedom? Today, at the front, he died… Today, what did you do for freedom? Freedom is not free, it comes at a price… Sometimes a heavy price." |
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