Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

ROBERT "ALLEN" LEATHERWOOD

 

Seal of the
United States Marine Corps

USMC 1st Marine Division

Insignia

Patch 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division


ROBERT "ALLEN" LEATHERWOOD

Patriot, Chapter 1919

 (USMC, IRAQ) Article Spring 2018

 

Allen Leatherwood was born in Austin, Texas in 1983 but he grew up in a country home near Elgin where he attended public schools.  In high school he was a 3-year varsity Football letterman and was also on the Power Lifting Team. As a 17 year-old during his senior year, and with his parents consent, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Both of Allen’s grandfathers had served in the military and he had an uncle that was an Army Vietnam veteran, but Allen was the first Marine in the family. He graduated from Elgin High School with the class of 2001 and was soon sent off to begin training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in California. After completing Boot Camp in November 2001, he was sent to the Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Pendleton for Infantry Advanced Individual Training.

After successfully completing training, Private Leatherwood had this to say about his first assignment, “I was attached to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where I stood duty as a gate guard.  While there I joined the ceremonial drill team and the funeral service team. At the completion of my two year’s duty there on the east coast, I had orders back to Camp Pendleton, California.”

Upon arrival, Corporal Leatherwood was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, and as he describes it, “I was sent to India Company,      3rd Platoon, where I was designated as a Fire Team Leader in First Squad. There I learned the infantry training I would need to be a useful fire team leader in Iraq. Felix Garcia was squad leader of First Squad while we were at Camp Pendleton and during my time in Iraq after the battalion deployed.

While in Iraq my unit was assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 and stationed between Bagdad and Fallujah where my unit did combat patrols on a daily basis. On November 10, 2004 my unit along with numerous other Marine Battalions alongside the Army assaulted the city of Fallujah were we lost many Marines and Soldiers. I was hit on the first day of combat operations assaulting the city. I was not seriously injured, the Corpsman with our platoon sent me to the Battalion Aid Station where a doctor examined the wound, declared me fit to return to duty and within just a couple of hours I was back in the fight with my fellow brothers of 3/1.

Our battalion took many casualties (in combat in Fallujah).  In particular, my platoon suffered the most killed in action, which depleted our fighting ability. As Marines do we pushed through the fight.  In the latter days of our assault on Fallujah we were along the Euphrates River and we were there for the remainder of that deployment.”

The 3rd Battalion returned home to Camp Pendleton in January 2005, and Allen relates, “I was honorably discharged in August 2005 with the Purple Heart and multiple other medals and ribbons.  I now live in Georgetown, Texas with my wife Leann and work as a pest control technician.  I enjoy being outdoors and am an avid fisherman and hunter.”

Allen’s former squad leader, Felix Garcia, when serving as MOPH’s Department of Texas Commander, recruited Allen and signed him up in Chapter 1919.  Since joining us, he has been of great assistance with several ambitious chapter initiatives, including: establishing Chapter 1919 as the first veterans group to affiliate with the new Central Texas “Field of Honor;” meeting weekly with the board for establishment of the “Purple Heart Integration Project” in Georgetown; and in December he stepped up in an emergency at the last minute, mobilizing Leann and family to help, and did the shopping for several thousand (donated) dollars of Christmas gifts and toys that Purple Santa then presented to children of  veterans and active duty military at the Copperas Cove VFW, that being a joint project of  “Wheelers for the Wounded” and the Veterans Motorcycle Club.  This recently joined member has already done tremendous volunteer work for us, he has just been elected Chapter Junior Vice Commander and this issue of PATRIOT BULLETIN now proudly features Patriot Robert Allen Leatherwood Jr. 

 


Allen with load bearing equipment

 and his individual weapon  

Allen on patrol

 

Standard and streamers

Third Battalion

First Marines

Scene outside home of 3/1 Marines

when Lt.Col. E.C. Greeley was in command

and 1st Sgt A. Cisneros was Sgt. Major

 

Corporal Leatherwood is in the center

 

The MOPH national junior vice commander, Felix Garcia,  previously was commander, Department of Texas and several times visited our chapter events in Georgetown, most memorably so, the widely acclaimed 2017 “Chili-Cook-Off” in the Pavillion at Sun City.

 


 

THE 3RD BATTALION, 1ST MARINES HAS A LONG AND STORIED HISTORY TRACING BACK FROM ITS ACTIVATION MARCH 1, 1941 WHEN ASSIGNED TO THE 1ST MARINE DIVISION.  IT HAS PARTICIPATED IN EVERY MAJOR CONFLICT SINCE THEN, SEEING COMBAT IN THE CAMPAIGNS AND BATTLES OF WWII, KOREA AND VIETNAM AND SUBSEQUENTLY IN OPERATIONS DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM AND ENDURING FREEDOM  AS THE WAR ON TERROR HAS CONTINUED UP TO THE CURRENT TIME.

 

FOR THE PART OF HISTORY JUST BEFORE AND AFTER ALLEN LEATHERWOOD’S ASSIGNMENT TO INDIA COMPANY, THE BATTALION TOOK PART IN THE 2003 INVASION OF IRAQ, INCLUDING THE BATTLE OF NASIRIYAH, AND THEN RETURNED TO CAMP PENDLETON IN THE SUMMER OF 2003. THE UNIT THEN RE-DEPLOYED TO IRAQ IN MID-2004 AND WAS BASED NEAR FALLUJAH. THEY WERE THE MAIN EFFORT IN NOVEMBER 2004 DURING OPERATION AL FAJR (PRONOUNCED AL FAD-JER), THE RETAKING OF THE CITY OF FALLUJAH. BEFORE THE ASSAULT COMMENCED, THE OPERATION WAS KNOWN AS OPERATION PHANTOM FURY. 3RD BATTALION, 1ST MARINES WAS PART OF THE COMPOSITION OF REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM 1 (RCT 1), RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEARING THE INFAMOUS JOLAN DISTRICT AMONG OTHERS. ALONGSIDE RCT 7, FOUR MARINE BATTALIONS (INCLUDING 1/3, 1/8, AND 3/5) AND VARIOUS US ARMY UNITS RECLAIMED THE CITY OF FALLUJAH.  THE BATTALION RETURNED TO CAMP PENDLETON IN JANUARY 2005, IT HAD LOST 33 MEN DURING THE FALLUJAH DEPLOYMENT, 28 DURING THE ACTUAL BATTLE (FOR THE CITY).

SINCE THEN THE BATTALION HAS HAD MULTIPLE RE-DEPLOYMENTS TO IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.

THE CURRENT CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, GENERAL JOSEPH F. DUNFORD, JR. IS ONLY ONE OF MANY DISTINGUISHED FORMER MEMBERS OF 3RD BN, 1ST MARINES.

 

                                                                               —CONDENSED FROM MULTIPLE INTERNET SOURCES

 

TOP PHOTO

 

LANCE CORPORAL ALLEN LEATHERWOOD

NAVAL ACADEMY, ANNAPOLIS, MD. 2003


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