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This September, Senator John McCain's youngest son, Jimmy, 18, will report to a U.S. Marine Corps depot near Camp Pendleton in San Diego. After three months of boot camp and a month of specialized training, he will be ready to deploy. Depending on the unit he joins, he could be in Iraq as early as this time next year, and his chances of seeing combat at some point are high. Of the 178,000 active-duty Marines in the world, some 80,000 have seen a tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, and there are 25,000 bearing the brunt of some of the worst fighting in Iraq now. About 6,000 Marines have been wounded there, and about 650 have been killed. "I'm obviously very proud of my son," says the elder McCain, "but also understandably a little nervous."
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Now, 21-year-old Galen Wilson has 20 confirmed kills in four months in Iraq – and another 40 shots that probably killed insurgents. One afternoon the lance corporal downed a man hauling a grenade launcher 5Â½ football fields away.
Wilson is the designated marksman in a company of Marines based in downtown Ramadi, watching over what Marines call the most dangerous neighborhood in the most dangerous city in the world.
During a large-scale attack on Easter Sunday, Wilson says, he spotted six gunmen on a rooftop about 400 yards away. In about 8 seconds he squeezed off five rounds – hitting five gunmen in the head. The sixth man dived off a 3-story building just as Wilson got him in his sights, and counts as a probable death. “You could tell he didn't know where it was coming from. He just wanted to get away,” Wilson said. Later that day, he said, he killed another insurgent.
Marines can be your best friend or worst nightmare.
"Some guys play in all-star games, some guys don't. I don't know who picks all those all-star teams. In all honesty, I don't know who picks the combine, for that matter," Belichick said. "How does (Miami-Ohio offensive lineman Brandon) Brooks not get invited to the combine? How did Vollmer not get invited to the combine? I don't know. We can't really worry about that. We just have to try to evaluate them the best we can."