03/11/2014 by militaryphonies
Baker learned that lesson at a tender age. Three weeks after graduating from Boyne City High School in 1989, heshipped out with the infantry of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Corps.
“It was used as something of a training war, just as the interventions in the banana republics in the ’50s were used to keep the Marine Corps sharp,” Baker says. It was during the fighting in El Chorrillo that Baker killed a man. “I shot a Panamanian soldier to death almost at point-blank range,”he says, noting that the man unexpectedly emerged from a doorway. “The fight probably lasted only a second, but it seemed like 20 minutes. I probably fired before I had a chance to see if he was going to shoot at me or not — it was a full-armed combat situation.”
Sonny Baker: Three wars in five years
OFF TO WAR
Baker learned that lesson at a tender age. Three weeks after graduating from Boyne City High School in 1989, he shipped out with the infantry of the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Corps. After completing basic training, he was sent to Fort Sherman in Panama to reinforce Kilo Company 36 on the eve of a surprise attack planned by the administration of George Bush, Sr.
On Dec. 20, Baker‘s company was part of the invasion to take out Panama President Manuel Noriega. “We were in very close proximity to Chorrillo, which was burned to the ground. For about a day there was serious resistance, but the Panamanian Defense Forces were no match for the U.S. forces.“
El Chorrillo is a poor district in Panama City which was full of wooden buildings. A barrage of artillery fire and bombs ignited a firestorm which killed a large number of impoverished civilians. The U.S. government estimates that about 300 Panamanians died in the invasion, but subsequent investigations have claimed that the civilian death toll was about 3,500. A total of 18 U.S. servicemen were killed out of an invading force of 26,000.
“It was used as something of a training war, just as the interventions in the banana republics in the ‘50s were used to keep the Marine Corps sharp,“ Baker says.
ingIt was during the fighting in El Chorrillo that Baker killed a man.
“I shot a Panamanian soldier to death almost at point-blank range,“ he says, not that the man unexpectely emerged from a doorway. “The fight probably lasted only a second, but it seemed like 20 minutes. I probably fired before I had a chance to see if he was going to shoot at me or not — it was a full-armed combat situation.“
After Panama, Baker served in Honduras, patrolling the Nicaragua border. Here, he began to observe the role of the U.S. military in propping up corporate power in third world countries.
“We‘re working on what‘s called a ‘Pax Americana,‘ filling the void of the British or Roman empires by trying to control the world through military means for our financial gain. You see it in places like Honduras where the Dole Fruit company has a huge amount of influence.“
After six months in Okinawa and a stint in the Phillippines, Baker was sent to the Persian Gulf on the U.S.S. Tripoli. “We were the rear guard in Desert Storm, collecting prisoners and turning them over to MP‘s.“
He says the things he saw are tough to talk about, but by way of illustration, he has a photo of an Iraqi soldier burned to a cinder, with an MP pretending to light a cigarette off the corpse on the so-called Highway of Death in Kuwait.
“The Iraqi soldiers were forced to stay at the front,“ he says. “Their NCO‘s would shoot people if they ran — the Republican Guard was mostly there to shoot conscripts trying to retreat or surrender. You could always tell who the Republican Guards were because they had real high boots. One of our prisoners broke free and strangled a Republican Guard prisoner to death — they were pretty universally hated.
“They didn‘t want to be there,“ he adds of the Iraqi soldiers. “They were mostly shell-shocked with their eardrums blown out, bleeding from the ears from the concussive force of the bombs
Northern Express ; http://www.northernexpress.com/michigan/article-407-the-veterans-former-marines-sonny-baker-and-dale-richardson-have-seen-the-hell-of-war-at-the-killing-level-and-say-the-price-was-far-too-high-to-pay.html
After Boot Camp, MCI training at SOI and Field Radio Operators course at 29 Palms CA. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. 2/9 did not patricpate in the invasion of Panama . Nor did they deploy to Operation Desert Storm.
Operations Desert Shield & Desert Storm
United States invasion of Panama ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_invasion_of_Panama
|This Ain’t Hell Blog ; http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=40263|