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CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq-Lance Cpl. David M. Ortega, 19, from Douglas, Ariz., a gunner with first squad, Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, test fires his weapon before a combat logistics patrol Dec. 30. The Marines in Security Co. provide route security for convoys. Their defensive tactics keep the other vehicles out of harms way and ensure a safe trip to their destination. They protect the convoy and are responsible for setting up landing zones in case a casualty needs to be evacuated., Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow, 12/30/2008 12:16 PM

Photo by Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

Familiarity, camaraderie key to truck teams’ success

5 Jan 2009 | Cpl. Tyler B. Barstow

CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq — No matter the location or the mission, Security Company is always there to help transport Marines or equipment to their destination safely and efficiently.

The Marines of first squad, Security Co., Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, recently provided security for a convoy resupplying Marines at Forward Operating Base Reaper.

Marines in Security Co. provide route security for convoys and conduct combat logistic patrols in the area. Their defensive tactics keep the other vehicles out of harm’s way and ensure a safe trip to their destination. During their runs, they protect the convoy and are responsible for setting up landing zones in case a casualty needs to be evacuated.

During this run, the Marines kept a level-head as they drove through the night.

"I just concentrate on what’s going on while I'm out there," said Lance Cpl. Robert P. Cribb, a driver with first squad. "I think about what I've got to do, or else I get bored and distracted," said Cribb, 21, from Sumter, S.C.

The road to the FOB is not a smooth ride, most of it on unpaved surfaces.

"It's a real dusty and real bumpy ride," said Lance Cpl. David M. Ortega, a gunner with first squad. "It's kind of hard to see sometimes," said Ortega, 19, from Douglas, Ariz.

Regardless of the conditions, they progressed along the route without incident. Marines of first squad were prepared to set up blocking positions to deter any interference.

"Basically, we make sure nobody comes up from behind, and if (we do) have anybody coming up, we stop them," said Cpl. Jamison M. Irvin, vehicle commander for the rear vehicle.

The run went off without a hitch, attributed greatly to 1st squad’s unity within the vehicles. They attain this by running each mission with the same truck team.

"We try to maintain truck integrity,” explained Cpl. Dustin L. Griffin, the security unit leader for first squad. “It helps make the whole squad more proficient and better at what we do."

Because the same crew always works together, Marines learn what to expect from the rest of their team. Normally working with a driver, vehicle commander and a gunner, the five months they have spent together has given them a good feel for each other’s actions and capabilities.

"We get to know each other more and more because we spend so much time together,” Cribb said. “(The vehicle commander) knows he can trust us to know what we’re supposed to do."

"I feel more confident with those two than with anybody else,” said Irvin, 27, from West Blocton, Ala., about his Marines. “Those are the two I want (working with me)."

With the closeness between crew members, there is no question about the other Marine’s limitations. The familiarity and camaraderie among the teams makes it easy to judge each others’ capabilities.

"If we do get challenged, they don’t have to sit there and say, ‘hey, what do I need to do next?'" explained Griffin, 22, from Tifton, Ga. For them, they know their Marines and what they are capable of.

So far, it's paid off.

"I could put them in my seat to take over if I needed them to," said Irvin, with full confidence in his truck team.

After they have done two weeks of combat logistics patrols, first squad will go on stand-by to react to any last minute call that may come up. Disabled vehicles, casualty evacuations, or missions with Explosive Ordnance Disposal are just a few things they come to expect during their next mission.

But they are ready, thanks to their constant training and connection with their fellow Marines.

Security Co. frequently trains for any situation that might arise. Before their last mission, they practiced responding to a variety of scenarios they might have faced while on the road.

"Out here that stuff changes all the time,” said Cribb about their procedures when dealing with casualty evacuations, disabled vehicles, or improvised explosive device attacks.

They run the drills frequently, coming up with new ways to improve upon their techniques and expedite the process to ensure a safer mission.

The Marines have witnessed a decrease in activity in the area, which is a sign of progress.

"Our missions have been cut back a lot," said Lance Cpl. Michael S. Touraille, 20, from Lewiston, Idaho. "There are a lot less people getting hurt which is good and (facilities) are being torn down and turned over to the Iraqis."

With their presence still needed for route security, Security Co. continues to keep the streets safe.

Unit News Archive
1st Marine Logistics Group