AL ASAD, Iraq -- Endless days of traveling across the hot, unforgiving desert of Iraq, that might be how to best describe the lives of some Marines engaged in operations throughout Al Anbar province. They travel along roads susceptible to attack by improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.
Motor-vehicle operators with 3rd Platoon, Combat Logistics Company 111, Combat Logistics Battalion 1, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), are not strangers to this lifestyle.
“It’s hours of pure driving or sitting on a (weapon mount) without knowing if you’re going to get blown up (by a road side bomb) or get shot at,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher J. Chaviano, 20, a machine gunner with 3rd Platoon and native of Long Beach, Calif. “It’s a hard job, but a great job.”
The platoon engages in re-supply missions throughout Al Anbar province at least three times a week, running operations from base to base to supply other units with what they need to complete their mission, said Staff Sgt. Michael W. Nichols, 30, platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon.
He added that re-supply missions are essential to the freedom of Iraq, an objective they’ve been fighting for over the past three years.
Motor-vehicle operators explain that the job is stressful but despite the challenges, they still maintain a positive attitude and focus on the mission.
“My platoon is very spirited. No matter what happens, they are always upbeat,” said 2nd Lt. Wesley B. Lippman, 25, platoon commander of 3rd Platoon and a Darien, Conn., native.
Their positive attitudes are a reflection of their leadership’s enthusiasm.
“My platoon is awesome. Our staff sergeant and platoon commander have pushed us together,” said Chaviano. “We are all like brothers.”
The platoon has been together for five months and commonly refers to each other as family.
“My platoon is like my family. I would do anything for them,” said Lance Cpl. Pedro L. Guzman, 21, a motor vehicle operator with 3rd Platoon and a native of Bronx, N.Y. “If they needed me to tow 20 trucks with one truck, I would do it for them.”
“We have built this bond and this camaraderie,” said Nichols, a Laplace, La., native. “In fact, I am confident that everyone in my platoon would take a bullet for me and I would do the same for them.”
The Marines agree that unit cohesion helps them strive for perfection.
“We as a platoon see ourselves as the best, so we make it our goal to be the best,” said Pfc. Benjamin R. Nadall, 19, a motor-vehicle operator with 3rd Platoon.
The endless day in the hot sun payoff when the Marines go home knowing they completed their mission.
“The most rewarding factor is the fact that I can go home knowing that I did something to better myself and learned a lot about life,” said Nadall, a Dallas, native.
Third Platoon members will continue their mission to re-supply bases around Al Anbar Province to ensure the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom until they travel back to the Unites States in spring 2007.