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IRAQ: Marine standout now accused of crimes

June 6, 2008 |  3:06 pm

Fallx Marine Sgt. John Winnick II is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the killing of two Iraqi civilians last year in the Lake Tharthar area of Anbar province.

An Article 32 — the military's equivalent of a preliminary hearing — may be held as early as next week at Camp Pendleton. Winnick is a sniper attached to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.

In 2004, while also serving with the Three-One, his quick thinking and aggressiveness during the battle for Fallouja were extolled by author Bing West in his book "No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah."

From page 291, describing the action as Marines were in a house-to-house fight with insurgents:

"They rushed down to the street. As they moved up the alley, Lance Corporal John Winnick, a machine-gunner, ran toward (Lt. Jesse) Grapes with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) launcher and a bag full of rockets. 'Sir can I shoot these back at them?' Winnick yelled.

'Do you know how to use that thing?' Grapes asked.

Winnick had never held or fired an RPG. "Yes, sir. Fired one in a threat weapons course!' Winnick said.

'Then start firing!'"

Winnick fired twice, blowing open a gate and then hitting a fuel drum inside a house as Marines cheered. "In minutes the fire had spread through the first floor, and the insurgents had fled."

— Tony Perry, in San Diego

Photo: Marines during the battle for Fallouja, 2004. Photo credit: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times

P.S. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East. You can subscribe by registering at the website here, logging in here and clicking on the World: Mideast newsletter box here.

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