Marines in “Operation Restore Hope” Somalia and one great user submit story (31 Photos)

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Many of these photos were user submits from the guys of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines (1/7), Bravo Company, 1st Platoon
theBRIGADE wants to show off your pictures from service
Submit your Photos here
Also, if some one can confirm that my lead photo of the guy holding the M203 is a Marine, it's a bit blurry but I'm pretty sure I didn't f-up.

Many of these photos were user submits from the guys of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines (1/7), Bravo Company, 1st Platoon
theBRIGADE wants to show off your pictures from service
Submit your Photos here

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  • USMC8654Justice

    He looks like a Marine but that is solely based on the fact his sleeves are rolled inside out. they do look like gunny rolls though lol but out in the field we dont really care about that kinda stuff.

    • kshell25

      I'm going to take a wild guess that are a boot…

      • USMC8654Justice

        that are a boot? do you mean that they are boots? actually judging by their chocolate-chip cookie dough cammies would make me a boot compared to them.

        • MoMorris

          Man, I loved those cammies. Always made me kinda hungry though.

    • Joseph Houle

      The sleeves say to me he is a Marine! I was with Weapons 1/7

  • MoMorris

    That's the same thing I told Rick. lol I'd also add he doesn't have an American flag patch on his bicep as the Army but not Marines did at that time.

  • Raph

    #30, great story

    • Luke

      All murderers anyway

      • ted kelly

        Its been awhile since i seen willies picture. But lets not forget 2platoon put willie on the map. With his ohio t shirt compliments to second squad. Semper fi. Boys

  • MoMorris

    Here's the entire story I wrote for the Stockton Record in 1993:

    The Story of Willy

    "I am in love and I want to bring him home with me.”

    No, I am not talking about Clinton's new 'happy military' I'm talking about a four and a half year old orphaned Somali boy named Ibram or, as we've nicknamed him, Willy.

    Willy's parents were killed by General Aidid's army during the civil war. Willy has managed to survive on the streets. I remember seeing him the first time our Bravo Company was here in Baardera. Willy then was a dirty, thin little boy who had to fight for everything. Today he is a semi-clean (it's hard to stay totally clean here) boy with a big, healthy belly.

    One of the posts near the Juba Bridge here in Baardera is called 'San Diego' by the Marines. It is a sandbag bunker with a tin roof and netting for shade. Each post has a set of orders concerning the responsibilities of the San Diego post. The orders for the post have been modified to include the following:

    Special Orders for Willy (Ibram)

    1. Don't be mean to Willy. Willy's cool so be cool to Willy;
    2. This post is Willy's house; let him sleep here;
    3. Willy comes and goes as he pleases;
    4. Give Willy lost of food and water (He needs it worse than you, fatso!);
    5. Make Willy throw away his trash;
    6. Stick up for Willy. Don't let other kids steal his chow and water or bully him;
    7. Willy's an orphan who's managed to stay alive in this hellhole, so treat him kindly.

    Willy wears a huge, red T-shirt (it goes down to his knees) and a pair of blue shorts. His sandals are fairly new and he is now a very happy little boy. At night he loves to play with a flashlight, shining all over everything and everyone. His favorite drink is orange Kool-aide and he really enjoys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Ed. Note – In case you are wondering how we made him PB&J's, the chow hall at our base camp had the most amazing dinner rolls. I mean, we'd try to cram as many as we could into our cargo pockets they were that good. The PB&J came from our MREs). He is also very ticklish. To hear his laughter is like music to my ears. Some of his favorite phrases are: 'finish' (whenever he's done with something); 'no good' (when he is throwing away his trash); 'flashlight' (whenever he sees one); 'Kool-Aid' (when he is thirsty); and 'Sa-eeb' (a Somali word that means 'friend' or 'same').

    Last night on post I was teaching him the English words for the different parts of the face. I'd point to his nose and say, 'Magaha nose,' ('Magaha' is Somali for 'name'), or 'Magaha eyes,' etc. When it comes to eyes and ears, Willy would say, 'two eyes' or 'two ear.' I pointed at my beard stubble and said 'beard.' He didn't understand so I took his little hand and ran it over my cheek. He laughed loudly because it tickled and then said, 'beard, Sa-eeb.' Then I laughed, too. He usually goes to sleep around 2000 every night. Usually, he'll say 'sleep' and then lay down on some sandbags and crash. Last night, however, he crawled on to my lap, said 'sleep' and, lying his head on my chest, went to sleep. I was overwhelmed. I felt a lot of love for this boy I hardly know, who had decided to sleep in my arms.

    He was sleeping deeply only a few minutes later and I simply looked down at his dark form and stroked his hair. I think last night I had my first real glance at what a parent must feel when he/she knows the child in their arms loves them and feels safe around them (Ed. Note – I was twenty-one years old at the time). I honestly wish I could bring Willy back to America with me but I think Willy is going to survive quite awhile here and grow up to be a fine man. I just hope he will remember the U.S. Marine Corps and our time here."
    That is who Willy was. If Willy managed to survive, and while the odds were against him I have a good feeling he has, he should be around twelve years old now. I can only hope he's found a loving family that has raised him in Somali tradition. I often wonder what it would be like to go back over there, as a civilian, travel to Baardera and find Willy. Find him, see the man he is growing into and thank him. Thank him for being a ray of hope and bright light in the lives of the many Marines whose lives he touched at Post San Diego.

    • Smitty

      Of all the tales that members of the service bring home, ones like this are the most important.

      Long before is was "policy," it it the simple gestures like these that can make the most difference in people's lives and win their hearts and minds.

      Many may derogatorily accuse America of being "the global police" and sticking out nose where it doesn't belong. I think that regardless of nation… weather we are US, Brit, Aussie, French, Russian… as human beings from strong nations, we owe it to those less fortunate, to stick up for them when they can't. To help them help themselves.

      Considering his young age at the time, Willy may not remember specifics, but I'm sure that you made a huge life changing impression on him. He probably remember that "the yanks from the states" are actually good people… and that is what counts.

      • Bob

        Well said, Smitty.

    • Bob

      Not sure if you will read this at this late date but is there any way to find out about Willie?

      A very good story, thanks for sharing. BobJ.

      • Bob


      • MoMorris

        I've often thought of trying something but it would be an arduous task even if Somalia wasn't in the state it's been for the past 20 years.

    • mongoose5271

      And that, people, is what America, and our military, is all about. You may not like our policies (and Heaven knows, we all don't agree with them either some times) but when the shit hits the fan and innocent people are being threatened, our service people are the cavalry. Yes mistakes are made, but in an imperfect world our people try their best to do the right thing and more often than not it's helping people that can't stand up for themselves.

      • Sock

        It is the duty of the free to fight for those without it. It is the duty of the strong to standup for the weak.
        It is the obligation of those who have a choice to offer one to those who would be denied the right to choose for themselves.

  • kshell25

    Nothing quite says peace keeping like MK19s, M1A1s and a battlion of infantry Marines!

    • Steve

      Damnit, you'll have peace if we have to kill each and every last on of you. ;)

  • MoMorris

    You know what's funny? Bravo Company were the first ones in to relieve the initial landing forces (if memory serves it was 2/3) and the Somalis quickly realized we weren't going to fire randomly at them. A buddy of mine and I taped up a couple of axe handles and we had better luck using those for crowd control. lol

    He and I also had the foresight to bring wrist-rockets with us. We had some epic rock wars with those Mogadishu kids. When we first got there and the Embassy grounds were complete vegetation we at least had some concealment to hide behind. Once they bulldozed that all down those rock fights got really interesting.

    • Jeromy

      I was on the embassy too, Joint Forces Air Command. Brings back some memories.

  • Brooke

    I can only imagine how difficult it was to leave him as well for him when you did but I have no doubt your love and care for him changed his life. I know from my perspective Operation Restore Hope is a resounding success. Your story is a model of how we should all be acting towards others on a daily basis and only hope I can influence my son to be a man of character, generosity and courage. Oorah!

  • chong

    #30 i dont want to disrespect the person but the kid on the right looks like an ant from Bug's Life.

  • Justin Hughes

    This is the first time in 18 some years I have gone looking for anything to do with Mogadishu. I was with 3rd AAV’s living in the old soccer stadium. I was looking through the photos and recognized myself in photo #12 I ran out the door that night with nothing but a t-shirt and flack vest and my SAW. My ammo drum fell off my weapon so I was going a little Rambo that morning Jan 7th 1992. The day we took down one of General Mohamed Ali Farrah Aidid compounds. There is a similar picture from that day taken by the associated press of me leaning on a tire in the rain. I wish I had a copy of it to show my children. Thank you for putting this remembrance together. I also remember the young boy from Bardera. I will dig up some old photos I have of some 3rd AAV Marines and send them your way.

    SGT. Justin Hughes/USMC

  • Brian Nichols

    I was also with Bravo Co 3rd Amphibious Assault BN, and was sent up to Baardera. I remember seeing Willie along with alot of other kids on a daily basis. Baardera was a relaxing time for us after leaving the Mog. I have several pictures from Baardera I’ll try to post. A couple from the refugee camp there. I apologize for the quality in advance, I think I had a $20 camera from the PX.
    CPL Nichols

  • Luis Nebel

    It was nice to see my old buddies in the 1st cartoon , the day I got out of the marines , was the day the 1st cartoon went to somalia, I often wondered what happened to my friends there, I hope everybody made it alright. CPL Nebel

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  • Scott Lenton

    Morris this is Lenton. We served together in Bravo Company 1st platoon. Thanks for sharing these photos it brings back a lot of memories.

  • Smokehouse

    I just finished my manuscript "Mogadishu Diaries 1992-1993: Bloodlines," and I am looking for some pictures to feature in my book, aside from my personal pics. I am looking for the owners of pictures 1, 7, 8, and 10. My email address is

    • Smokehouse

      I would like to use picture number seven as the cover of my manuscript. I would like to credit the owner for their work. Please contact me so I can provide credit, or if you object to me using it, I will remove it immediately.

      SEMPER FI,

      E. Thompkins
      GySgt USMC (ret)

      • Smokehouse

        As I was, it was picture number eight.

  • Jordan retro 11 space jam

    Great list, very interesting especially the one on the Manifesto which sparked something. Thanks for the good advices.

  • http://TheBrigade,MarinesinOperationRestoreHopeSomalia Garrett S. Ortiz. Doc Ortiz Wpns Plt. Bravo Co. 1/7

    Discovering this amazing website, the brigade, and coming across an article written by a Marine who toured in Somalia at the same time and in the same unit as I did! Seeing photos of familiar faces I knew in my heart I would never ever forget, however sadly all names nearly escape me nowadays. Should the author of this article, Rick, come across this comment/response I am asking him to contact me at my email. Semper Fi my brother!!!

  • RS Haller

    Just found this site! Freaking amazing. I was with Bravo 1/7 weapons plt machine guns. Doc Ortiz, I was your bunk mate in Okinawa. I remember you saying that you wanted to deliver babys or something like that. I remember Willy and recognize alot of the faces in those pics. If I had any tech savey I would post some of my own. Haller Rs 0331.

    • Doc Garrett S. Ortiz

      Wow! Your post has really triggered some good memories of Okinawa, training sucked because Camp Schwab did nothing but piss down on us, but R&R was a drunken stuper. I keep in contact Joseph O'Connel on a regular basis and in fact i have been out to Chicago and he has been out here to Colorado over the years. I became a police officer and ultimately had to resign as a Sergeant with a college police department due to severe PTSD issues and before that worked as a metro cop in Pueblo for 12 years. Never did deliver babies. I will save your gmail and keep in contact my brother. Semper Fi!

      • RS Haller

        Hey brother! That old Irish bastard O'Connel really brings back memories! I remember him and Denoux being coinsures of Johnny Walker Scotch and myself being awakend by the MPs after those two went on a drunken rampage and told the MPs that I could verify their wereabouts after Denoux got into a fight at the gedunk. I still keep in contact with Cody Ernst and thats about the only guy. I'm married now with 4 kids. My oldest boy is a Marine in 2/9 and just got back from Afganistan and I work as a firefighter/paramedic for the city of Eau Claire. I have some great photos of us that I will work on to see if I can get them digitized or whatever it is they do so I can send them to you. Stay strong brother!

        • Garrett S. Ortiz

          I was so excited to read your post. Any photos you may have would be great to see. Please save my email and l will connect you with Joseph O'Connell as well. We have been trying to locate David Denoux without any luck. Tell Cody Ernst, that tall SOB, I am hoping he is well and that I would like to keep in touch too! Take care my brother, never could understand you damn crazy ass firemen, God Bless and be safe!
          Keep in touch:

  • nicky

    Did anyone on here serve with Danny Stewart from Ohio….please email me at….

  • Doc Garrett S. Ortiz

    If anyone of my Bravo Company brothers, by any miracle, knows how I can locate the next of kin of Lcpl. William Rose, Doc Nate Webber, Doc Tim Robertson or Doc Charlie McDonald Please forward any of this information to me. I would love to see ALL of you from Bravo 1/7 again sometime in the future.

    • cpl. kelly

      Hey that rose shit kindda got swept under the rug i remember they should have sent him home. I will never forget that day at the stadium. They had me write that out in detail as part of my ptsd claim. Tragic. God bless your soul rose. We know the truth

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