CAMP BAHARIA, Iraq --
No one really knows who would win in a fight between Hellboy and Ironman, but Security Company is trying to figure it out.
During a recent combat logistics patrol here, 5th Squad, Security Co., Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group pondered such life-altering scenarios within their close-knit unit.
But it isn’t all fun and games; those shenanigans come when the mission is over and everyone is back safe. 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, Security Marines have the ability to establish a landing zone for the evacuation of casualties and direct arriving aircraft from the ground.
For Security Co., each mission begins in the same place: the operations room. “Each day when I first get up, I check to see if anything has changed from the day prior,” said Cpl. Brad Sherman, the security unit leader for 5th Squad. “It tells me everything I need to know for the run.”
All of the information pertaining to the mission, from the route, weather and any enemy activity is passed to the squad leaders in the operations room. From there, they plan accordingly and set off to ensure the Marines and equipment are ready, which leads them to the range for a test fire of their weapons.
“When we first got here, the test fire was new,” said Cpl. Brian R. Kestler, the lead gunner for 5th Squad. “Now when we roll out it takes no time to get the weapons up and running.”
Their fluidity of movement comes easy for Marines who go through all the preparation on their own, not needing any supervision.
“(The test fire is) basically a safety measure,” said Lance Cpl. John A. Duckworth, 22, from Chicago, one of the drivers for 5th Squad. “It helps us make sure we’ve got the weapon system up before we roll out.”
“We’ve got it down to a science now,” said Kestler, 23, from Santa Rosa, Calif., as he waited for his chance on the range.
The test fire gives the Marines the opportunity to handle and fire their crew-served weapons on a regular basis, bolstering their confidence before the upcoming mission.
“If you fire 10 rounds (without any problems) it gives you confidence in your weapon system and you know it works when you need it to,” Duckworth said.
Once the weapons are fully operational and the Marines are prepared to roll out, they stage their trucks and head to the brief.
“Out on the road is when you see the camaraderie of all of us,” said Sherman, 36, Falmouth, Ken.
“We all get along great,” said Cpl. David T. Whoberry, a radio operator with 5th Squad, in between bumps on the rough ride to OP Viking.
“Sorry about that,” hollered Cpl. Andrew C. Pauley, a driver with 5th Squad, Security Co., CLB-5, from the driver’s seat after a bump shook the vehicle.
“It’s all right, we’re used to it,” replied Whoberry, 34, from Mount Vernon, Ind., with an all too polite jab at Pauley’s driving skills.
The tight-knit squad brings with it several Marines recalled from the Inactive Ready Reserve who are just as ready as the active duty Marines to get out and do their job.
“(When we’re) thrown back into the mix, we all still know what to do and how to do it,” Whoberry said.
The IRR Marines bring with them their experience and knowledge of the Marine Corps. With backgrounds in varying job fields, they have a lot of applicable civilian experience to share.
“(We can) draw on our past experiences to get our mindset and the squad mindset right,” said Sherman, who is on his fourth deployment. He said he has noticed his Marines were starting to see the bigger picture and were eager to learn new things.
“Everyone has a good grasp of what’s expected of them in their (particular job, which) makes my job easy. I’m at a point now where I can just spot-check,” he said.
With a highly competent unit of Marines, 5th Squad tears through their missions with confidence.
“I like doing the (OP) Viking run,” said Pauley, 20, from Monte Vista, Colo. “It’s one of the best (because) it’s so fast, especially since we’ve been on the road for eight days.”
The units who work under their blanket of security are the ones who most notice Security Co.’s commitment. In their most recent mission, Security Co. protected the Marines with Motor Transportation Co., who resupplied the Marines at OP Viking with fuel, food and other supplies.
“(The Security Co. Marines) have more responsibility than we do,” said Lance Cpl. Marcel V. Campos, a Logistics Vehicle System operator with MT Co., CLB-5. “I’ve got respect for those guys because they have the most chance of getting hit if anything happens,” said Campos, 20, from Long Beach, Calif.
After two weeks of consecutive missions, 5th Squad will go on “stand by” as the first responders to any call that might come through. Whether it is a vehicle recovery mission or a request to support Explosive Ordnance Disposal operations, 5th Squad will be ready to go.