Marines adapt to new environment

17 Feb 2003 | Sgt. David Christian 1st Marine Logistics Group

The skyline portrait painted with a blue horizon, green palm trees and sandy, yellow beaches is fading from their memories.
After an 18-hour flight, the landscape is now mostly sand.

Marines recently deployed to Tactical Assembly Area Coyote in support of Operation Enduring Freedom are adjusting both mentally and physically from a garrison to field environment.

"I think it's kind of shocking because I never thought I would be here in Kuwait with all this protective gear on and doing all this work for six months to a year," said Lance Cpl. Marianne Cahn, warehouse clerk, 1st Force Service Support Group and native of Milwaukee, Wis.

Marines are finding they can appreciate what their new environment brings.
"My favorite things out here are the people I work with because I now realize I'm not alone when I do these things," Cahn said.

"What I like most is we're out here doing what we're supposed to be doing," said Lance Cpl. Shawn Malkind, a nuclear, biological and chemical specialist, 1st FSSG and native of Phoenix, Ariz. "This is why we joined the Marine Corps - to do whatever our country needs us to do."

"Mainly, the thing I like most in the field is there's really a lot less to worry about," said Pfc. Michael Vander Muss, an NBC specialist with 1st FSSG and native of Green Bay, Wis. "Basically you just worry about one thing, and that's doing your job."
Marines also found some things less desirable.

"What I like least about being deployed is it's harder to call home every once in a while to say, 'Hey mom, I'm doing this and that,'" Cahn said.

"Mainly, what I don't like is that I'm away from my family... and you never know what's going to happen," Vander Muss said. "There's just nothing here; it's all sand."

Although their surroundings are quite different, many things are similar.

"We have a lot of the same creature comforts out here," Malkind said. "It's not like we're living totally in the field. We have shower trailers, a laundry service and big tents to sleep in. We also have a chow hall where we get two hot meals a day and an MRE for lunch. It's pretty good."

The free laundry service is only offered twice a week, so many Marines choose to also wash some of their clothes the old-fashioned way.

One of the most difficult changes many Marines face is being far from friends, family and loved ones. 

"Being here in Kuwait is rather hard because I do have a family back home and mail does take a while," Vander Muss said.

"I'm waiting for my first letter - that would be nice. And I can't wait to get home and see them again. But it is kind of fun being out here because there's a lot of camaraderie."

Environments may change, but Marines are trained to adapt, improvise and overcome obstacles as they accomplish missions and win battles.
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