FALLUJAH, Iraq --
Not many people can say they’ve escorted a V.I.P. through the streets of al-Anbar and helped diffuse a bomb in the same day.
These service members can.
The Marines and sailors with Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, support a wide-array of missions and come from numerous military occupations, said 1st Lt. Thomas J. Beck, the company’s executive officer.
They arrived here in late February and have already played vital roles in several types of operations - providing security for civilian and military convoys, assisting the recovery of immobilized vehicles, participating in mounted security patrols and standing up a personal security detachment for the battalion’s commanding officer.
The company also keeps a squad ready to support explosive ordnance disposal technicians on call to disarm potential improvised explosive devices and mitigate other explosive threats.
A majority of the unit deployed from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and consists of motor-vehicle and heavy-equipment operators, radio operators and mechanics, to name a few.
“This is kind of a mixed unit,” said Beck, a 25-year-old from Edgewood, Ky. He said the Marines come from more than 30 different job specialties and all of them “have taken a leadership role.”
“It really gives us an excellent flexibility in our mission,” added Beck, who’s based out of Twentynine Palms, Calif. “If a vehicle breaks down out there, chances are good I’ll have someone who can take a quick look at it, (perform) some tactical maintenance, and get it back on the road.”
Sgt. John E. Smolinski, security commander for 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Security Company, has served four deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As the only trained combat engineer in the company, he remembers filling security billets during the initial coalition push in 2003, and said designating a company to perform those duties was a good idea.
“Back then, we didn’t have actual security detachments like this,” said Smolinski, a 24-year-old from Mobile, Ala. “It’s nice because we don’t have to take other Marines (in the battalion) away from their jobs to provide security.”
Smolinski and his squad provided security for civilian contractors while traveling to Baghdad International Airport Feb. 8. He wrote the orders, gathered intelligence on the route, took charge of personnel accountability and created a medical evacuation plan.
Delegating these weighty responsibilities to a sergeant highlights the strength and abilities of a unit’s noncommissioned officers, said 1st Sgt. Kevin M. Fountain, the company first sergeant.
“The security commanders are in control of everything, and they’re always (noncommissioned officers),” said Fountain, 37, from Plattsburgh, N.Y. “It just goes to show that this whole war is about small-unit leadership.”
The company is scheduled to return to the United States this summer.