Marine Corps Captain Anthony King presented a slideshow on Thursday in Searles Hall of photographs he took during his two deployments in Iraq. The event was sponsored by the College Republicans in honor of Veterans Day.
King, who has been in the Marine Corps for 17 years, currently works as a recruiter for the service. While in Iraq, King was part of the initial invasion of Baghdad in 2003 and the recapture of Fallujah in 2004.
"Someone once said that war is endless hours of boredom punctuated by moments of terror," King said. "And that's exactly what it's like."
In the presentation, which drew approximately 10 students, King showed snapshots that he took during calmer moments: images of fellow marines, Iraqi insurgents and civilians, exquisite ancient architecture, and battle-scarred buildings.
King's first photograph showed a delighted marine opening a package from home that contained smashed Goldfish crackers.
"When you get over there, the first thing you notice is that you don't have the comforts of home anymore," King said.
King also recounted his experience during the first invasion of Baghdad. He said that the entire operation was less action-packed than many assume.
"It was like being stuck in a two-week long traffic jam trying to get to Baghdad," he said.
As King waited to gain access to Baghdad, he and other Marines spent hours listening to BBC's reports on the invasion. He recalled that it was incredibly frustrating to hear the reports, because they seemed inconsistent with what was actually going on.
Although King said it would not be the case anymore, he said he felt safe in Baghdad?even venturing into the city by himself in uniform.
"We could just roll through Baghdad whenever we wanted," King said. "At that time, it seemed like there was no danger."
But King did live through instances of grave danger during his tour. As King showed a photograph of a building with a large hole in the side, he recounted his worst day in Iraq. While he was sitting in his office near Fallujah, a rocket from the city hit the building he was in. Although King endured only "a huge knot in the back of my head from where the plywood hit," a friend and colleague died in the explosion.
King also saw action in Fallujah, when the Marine Corps led the successful recapture of the city in November 2004.
"There was some pretty heavy, pretty brutal fighting [in Fallujah]," King said.
At the time of the invasion, King said that there were no civilians left in the city, only insurgents.
"The rules of engagement changed," he said. "Pretty much anything that moves needs to get shot."
King also touched on some of the lighter parts of his deployment.
"How often do you get a chance to eat lunch with Chuck Norris," King asked as he showed a picture of a fellow marine shaking hands with the actor.
Concerning his view on the current state of affairs in Iraq, King said he thinks that troops will remain in place for at least two or three years.
"It's far from over?we're going to be there for a while?I don't care what anybody tells you," he said.
"If we leave, we leave permanently damaged not only a country, but the reputation of the United States," King said.
As part of his current job, King recruits college students in Maine for the Marine Corps. He said two or three students from Bowdoin usually enlist, and they are "top-notch."
"We really like the quality of candidate we get out of this college," King said.
Senior Phil Shaw, who attended the presentation, is planning on enlisting in the Marine Corps after graduation.
"I like everything the military shows. They are very blunt, they're to the point, and they give you the information you want to know," Shaw said.