Gallantry in Action
From The Scrapbook
Dec 5, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 12 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
A reader points out that the -Marine featured in our cover photo three weeks ago is Captain Timothy R. Sparks, who was recently honored with a Silver Star for his actions during the Battle for Marjah in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Sparks received the medal in a September 28 ceremony at Camp Lejeune.
The official citation reads as follows:
“The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Captain Timothy R. Sparks, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Company Commander, Company B, First Battalion, Sixth Marine Regiment, Second Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan on 13 February 2010 in support of Operation MOSHTARAK.
“In the early morning hours, Company B conducted a low-light heliborne assault to seize the Taliban stronghold in the Koru Chareh village. As the company maneuvered to assault the enemy positions, a like-size enemy force attacked Company B from all directions with a heavy volume of small arms and indirect fires. Undaunted by the enemy fires, Captain Sparks moved from position to position, covering hundreds of meters of open terrain in order to effectively direct his platoons. With complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Sparks led his company from the front, refusing to lose momentum and cede the initiative to the enemy.
“As the Company pushed into the village, Captain Sparks remained well-forward, spearheading the assault to seize key terrain and gain a foothold. He and his men continued to fight off the Taliban counter-attack through the night. During heavy fighting the following day, he personally led an ambush of an enemy force as it displaced, destroying ten insurgents and a sniper. Over the next several days, the company expanded its foothold in Marjah and encountered stiff resistance. Throughout numerous direct fire engagements, Captain Sparks’ calm demeanor, confidence under fire, and exceptional tactical prowess ensured he was always at the point of friction.
“By his bold leadership, determination, and complete dedication to duty, Captain Sparks reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”
The photo on our cover was taken nine days after the fighting described in the citation.
The Dark Lady Returns
Twice earlier this year—first in March (www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/her-chris-christie_552733.html) and again in August (www.weeklystandard.com/articles/marvellous-ode_582082.html)—a Dark Lady approached The Scrapbook’s boss with poems. The first, “To Her Chris Christie,” implored the governor of New Jersey to take the presidential plunge. The second, “To Our Coy Non-Candidates,” addressed Christie as well as Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, “and others,” urging them to enter the lists.
Well, the Dark Lady seems to have given up on getting someone new to join the field. She appeared in Constitution Hall just after last Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate. Kristol didn’t recognize his old friend at first, as she was dressed as a witch. But when she spoke, he says, her sultry tones were unmistakable. She seemed cheerful (for a Dark Lady) and animated. She’d enjoyed the debate, asked that Bill pass on compliments to the sponsors, the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and pressed a scrap of paper into his hand. Then (as before) she faded into the crowd.
The paper was ripped from a larger manuscript. Here are the only lines The Scrapbook could make out:
Major Crisis Looms in Iraq
A friend of The Scrapbook forwards an email from the United Nations offices within the Green Zone in Baghdad:
Needless to say, panic has set in. Our correspondent also shared some commentary from a U.N. acquaintance:
It’s reassuring to know that in times of crisis, you can always count on Americans to lend a helping hand, and that, in extremis, there are limits to anti-Americanism at the U.N.
The Way We Live Now (Harvard Edition)
The Harvard Crimson reports the university’s health plan will henceforth cover “lower gender reassignment surgery”:
The celebratory coverage does not explore why there might be a shortage of surgeons. A hint can be found in a 2004 essay in First Things by Paul McHugh, then the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. Johns Hopkins was once a center of sex-change operations but closed its clinic after rigorous followup studies showed poor outcomes for patients. As McHugh explained:
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