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Cpl. Casey O. West, 20, from Hemet, Calif., vehicle commander for 4th squad, Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, visually inspects his gunner?s weapon during a test fire Dec. 29. Security Co. conducts a test fire of all weapons systems before every mission to ensure they are in working order and will fire when they are required. The Marines of Security Co. provide route security for convoys. Their defensive tactics keep the other vehicles out of harm?s way and ensure a safe trip to their destination.

Photo by Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

Security Marines learn more than their own job

7 Jan 2009 | Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

Handling weapons is something every Marine is expected and trained to do. It is instilled in them that “every Marine is a rifleman.” This credo is taken one step further at Security Company.

For the Marines of 4th squad, Security Co., Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, they are just as ready to mount up in the driver’s seat, man the radios, or pilot the vehicle as they are to assume the gun position.

“You can ask any of my lance corporals what their job is and they’ll tell you ‘everything,’” said Cpl. Michael V. Almeida, security unit leader for 4th squad.

This multi-faceted approach ensures that nothing will go overlooked. For a Company whose sole job is to ensure a safe journey, it is vital to mission accomplishment.

Security Co. sends its squads out on combat logistics patrols to keep resupply convoys safe along the route. They attach to other units and provide the maneuverability and firepower needed to get the convoy to its destination without incident. If something does occur and a landing zone needs to be set up for the evacuation of casualties, Security Marines are the ones guiding the helicopters into the landing zone. They are also responsible for ensuring no one interferes with the convoys.

They practiced all of this during a recent patrol with Motor Transportation Co. to resupply the Marines at Observation Post Viking and drop off a vehicle at Camp Ramadi.

“We’ve adapted (to the routine) quite a bit over the last month,” said Lance Cpl. Samuel J. Korn, a driver with 4th squad. “It’s a good change of pace,” said Korn, 20, from Colorado Springs, Colo.

4th squad spent the past few weeks on stand-by for any last minute calls for a security detail. Whether they were called to go on a mission with Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines, or recover a downed vehicle, they were ready to provide security.

Now they are back on the road.

“Be advised all security (vehicles) ready to go,” Almeida says over the radio as they headed out to OP Viking. Once there, they posted security while MT Co. unloaded their supplies and prepared a bulldozer to be taken to Ramadi.

During the run to Ramadi, their versatility was on full display.

“You’ve got good (communications) all across the board,” said Lance Cpl. Alejandro Nava, 20, driver for the Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, spinning up Almeida on the set-up inside the cab. “This one’s your internal.

“With us, we know everything in the truck so if anything goes wrong, we can step in and correct the problem,” said Lance Cpl. Zac A. Craig, vehicle commander with 4th squad.

This knowledge comes from all of the Marines in the squad. The mechanics, radio operators, gunners, and drivers all trade their skills so they all have an even understanding of each other’s roles.

“Everyone knows a little of everything so when you put it together, everybody knows everything,” said Craig, 20, from Kennewick, Wash.

Craig stepped in and served as the vehicle commander for the trip to Camp Ramadi, controlling the route along the way and maintaining communications with the other vehicles.

Putting the junior Marines in leadership roles shows them what all goes into being a noncommissioned officer.

“It’s a chance to learn new things,” said Lance Cpl. Josh Remmell, 20, from Newark, Del. “I like to make myself more valuable,” said Remmel who has done his fair share of multi-tasking, working as the gunner, driver, or radio operator on numerous missions.

With a strong group of Lance Corporals with the know-how and drive to succeed, missions are simple for 4th squad.

“I feel confident on a day-to-day basis that we can cover all bases,” Craig said.

This confidence at the lower levels shows the leaders that they have succeeded in instilling the proper values in their Marines.

“Every one of my Marines can work the (Blue Force Tracker), run immediate action drills, anything. You could put Lance Cpl. Nava in my seat and he’d know what to do,” said Almeida, 27, from Dallas.

With more rotations in store, Marines will continue to learn a variety of roles and further understand their fellow Marines and their jobs.

“I have faith in my Marines in any spot because of how we’ve trained and tested them,” Almeida said.

With another mission successfully completed, the roads stay safer thanks to a competent and highly trained security detail.


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