CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- They trade "squad" cars and pistols for humvees and grenade launchers. And instead of writing traffic tickets, they search for improvised explosive devices.
The Military Police Company with Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), has come from handling domestic disturbances in the states, to being the targets of mortar fire in Iraq's Al Anbar province.
In the combat zone, MP Company provides security for vehicle/personnel recovery teams, supply trucks, and also scans supply routes for IEDs and enemy activity. The Marines featured said this job requires more time and risk than in Camp Lejeune, N. C., where these Marines call home.
"We love it," said Cpl. Brian S. Soscia, a 26-year-old vehicle commander with MP Company. "Sometimes (we) crave the dangers and adventure."
Danger is easily found in Iraq's most violent province; the MPs alone have encountered more than 40 IEDs and anti-tank mines in just over 5 months.
"If we get attacked by an IED, things can certainly become chaotic," said Staff Sgt. Keith S. Littreal, platoon sergeant, 1st Platoon, MP Company. A 29-year-old native of Greensboro, N.C., Littreal said his Marines rely on their training when confronted with hazardous situations.
"They tend to respond with no fear, their adrenaline gets going... they respond flawlessly, like clockwork," said Littreal, who emphasized training the unit received in the U.S. as a factor for their success.
The company returned from Iraq September 2005, spent some time with their families, and beginning in January 2006, trained every day for several weeks until deploying to Iraq again in February, said Littreal.
"The Marines trained for (this mission), they love it, they enjoy doing their job and they know their job like the back of the hands," said Littreal, who also noted his Marines' outstanding unit cohesion, despite the occasional arguments.
"We quarrel like brothers," said Pfc. Guy J. Verrier, a machine gunner with MP Company, "and we function well as a team."
"(What I'll remember most) is our camaraderie, even though there may be times people argue, they live together (and) there's no privacy," said Soscia, a native of Providence, R.I. He continued by saying that when a problem occurs, "everyone comes together, everyone gets their job done, everyone remembers what to do ... find the problem, eliminate it."
"The bond the Marines have is a strong one ... they know where to move and who moves where, they perform admirably," said Littreal. If MP Company Marines weren't out here doing their job, or didn't have a good bond propelling them toward success, logistics operations would falter, he explained.
"A lot more lives would be at risk, and the mission, as in getting supplies to and from people who need (them), would be endangered," said Littreal.
"Supplies would get delayed all the time, vehicles would get hit with more IEDs," said Verrier, a 22-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va.
Littreal and his Marines are very confident in their ability to get over any obstacles, and are sure that they will accomplish the mission.
"If a situation arises," said Littreal without hesitation, "we are able to take out the threat with any means necessary."