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As many as eight Camp Pendleton-based Marines could be charged this week with murder and an alleged cover-up effort in the shooting death of 24 Iraqis – including five women and six children, according to a Time interview with Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich.

Wuterich, who commanded the troops of Kilo Company, 3rd Batallion, 1st Marine Regiment in Haditha, Iraq in November, was prohibited by his attorney from discussing the alleged massacre that a Time investigation brought to light. While the article focuses mainly on Wuterich’s family and personal history, reporter Sally B. Donnelly was still able to turn up a few interesting details.

Like Wuterich’s tattoos:

Among the tattoos on his arms, chest, neck and leg are a series of musical notes, the kanji character for endure and a heart for an ex-girlfriend. The one tattoo he’s reluctant to exhibit, on the inside of his right forearm, is of a skewer running through a bunch of severed fingers and eyeballs.

His first time under fire in Iraq:

“Was I scared? Sure,” he says. It turned out that the shots were coming from a Marine officer, who quit shooting once Wuterich’s guys sent up three red flares letting him know they were friendly. While under fire, the squad members, none of whom were hurt, took cover and waited to identify the threat before shooting back. They performed just as they were supposed to, Wuterich says. His remark hangs in the air.

And the current state of his uniform:

His boots are too scuffed and worn for a Marine. And he hasn’t updated his old dress uniform by sewing on the chevron that shows his higher rank… He says the jacket’s too tight, anyway.”

DANIEL STRUMPF

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