Below is an excerpt from a Reserve National Guard magazine interview with EMN Associate Director Matthew Hoh.
When talk of the U.S. invading Iraq first began, retired Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Hoh was a junior officer for the Secretary of the Navy and a White House liaison officer.
“I kind of was a fly on the wall for a lot of things,” Hoh said. “… Because of my role as a White House liaison officer, I ended up becoming an accidental casualty officer for many of the families during that first year of the war … So it became very personal to me very quickly.”
After a White House condolence letter intended for the second Marine killed in Iraq was returned due to a bad address, Hoh was tasked with calling casualty officers to verify addresses of the deceased. As he did that, Hoh would ask if there was anything he could do to help.
“I started getting hit back with these stories one after the other of the Marine Corps failing and letting down families of those killed,” Hoh said.
His time as a casualty officer was frustrating and very angering because he said he saw “a fundamental dysfunction” in the process.
“You had an organization that was accustomed to handling the casualty process in small numbers,” Hoh said. “ … [They were] not prepared at all to handle the magnitude of the war.”
Read the full article here.