Published: Saturday, 24 January 2009 22:41
I spent a lot of time in Iraq with CSM Jeff Mellinger. Truly a soldier's soldier. CSM Mellinger knows more about the Iraq war than any man I know. (And that's a lot.) You think those 15 month tours were long? CSM Mellinger did nearly 34 months straight, taking only normal leave. He saw more combat than most soldiers. He was in the thick of it constantly. I drove about 4,000 miles around Iraq with his patrols, but he did more than ten times that. He's been blown up a time or two... (Well, it was more than a time or two.) CSM Mellinger has had a few horses shot out from under him, but he's still on active duty. I just saw in Orlando as he was touring facilities. He wants to go back to the war, though. Wants to spend his time with combat soldiers. Every day when we were on the streets of Iraq, Jeff Mellinger would say at least once about his wife: "Kim. I love that woman." And he would disappear from Iraq for a few seconds into his memories, and then he would come back to the battlefields and off we would go.
Tom Ricks has an excellent new website wherein he talks about CSM Mellinger.