SAHL SINJAR, Iraq (Dec. 2, 2008)- --
Securing Iraq has taken Marines north to the Syrian border, where they help deter illegal arms smuggling.
Combat Logistics Company 19, 1st Marine Logistics Group, is there to support them.
“It’s kind of uncharted territory up here,” said Lance Cpl. Shane M. Bulick, motor transport operator, Transportation Support Company, CLC-19, 1st MLG.
The Marines of TS Co. ran multiple resupply missions to the units patrolling and securing the towns along the border. Bulick, 22, from State College, Pa., and the rest of the Marines of TS Company were part of a big push to help secure the northern border between Iraq and Syria.
With 3rd Platoon preparing to head back to Camp Taqaddum and 1st Platoon just getting their boots on the ground, the company used its most recent convoy to help both platoons transition to their new responsibilities.
“We’re still getting the rhythm of things,” said Cpl. Nicholas A. Smith, communications operator, 1st Platoon, TS Co., CLC-19, 1st MLG. Several other Marines from 1st Platoon took part in the convoy to get a feel for the land and the conditions farther north.
“A big thing is them learning the new routes,” pointed out Bulick, who has a pretty solid feel for the roads.
“(3rd Platoon) has been showing us where all the bumps are,” said Smith, 24, from Plainfield, Ill.
Once at their destination, they delivered the supplies to the Marines of Company A, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. On top of the basic supplies of food, water and fuel, they also delivered mail.
“It’s like Christmas every time (we bring mail),” Bulick said. “It really boosts their morale,” he said, pointing out that the Marines they resupply are living in austere conditions, with limited communications with their families back home.
“It’s nice because I’m usually on the truck that carries the mail and I get to see how happy they are,” said Lance Cpl. Dennis T. McCullough, 20, from Beeville, Texas, lead gunner, 3rd Platoon, TS Co., CLC-19, 1st MLG.
Once they finished filling up line companies with fuel, food, and news from back home, TS Co. headed back to Camp Sahl Sinjar with a Mine Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle in need of repair.
“When we bring back (their vehicles) it helps get them back up and running in an expedient way,” McCullough said. “It’s kind of all they have; they’ve been living off of them and sleeping inside them.”
Once it’s towed back to CLC-19’s compound, mechanics will promptly repair the MRAP so operators can drive it back out to the Marines in the fight.
“We do a lot of vehicle recovery,” said Haynes. “Getting them back to the mission at hand as expediently as possible is our goal.”
With their goals and routes laid out before them, 1st Platoon is taking over with firsthand experience of the area and its mission.
“So far they have a pretty good feel for things,” said Lance Cpl. Temon L. Haynes, 22, from Warrenton, Ore., a heavy equipment operator with TS Co., CLC-19, 1st MLG. “They’re really keen on little details and vigilant (during the convoy).”
“I have no doubt we’re ready,” Smith said.
3rd Platoon is scheduled to return to Camp Taqaddum within the next week, leaving 1st Platoon in charge of things in Sahl Sinjar. The Marines of CLC-19, 1st MLG, make up one of the elements of the first Marine Air Ground Task Force outside al Anbar province in Iraq since 2004. They traveled to the Ninewah province to conduct counter insurgency operations aimed at stamping out the insurgency just west of the restive city of Mosul.