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Logistic Marines

By

Logistic Marines

These “Road Warriors” are the Marine Corps’ source of life-sustaining supplies in Iraq.

Official USMC Photo
Updated October 07, 2005

by Lance Cpl. Wayne Edmiston

CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- “Mount Up!” says a Marine at the front of the convoy.

The Marines hop into their vehicles and begin their long haul on the road, delivering supplies to Marines throughout Iraq.

These Marines will not see the inside of their tents until their mission is complete - a task which has no definitive timeline. These “Road Warriors” are the Marine Corps’ source of life-sustaining supplies in Iraq. They run the convoys of Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Force Service Support Group (Forward).

The amount of uncertainty these Marines face on the road ahead of them is something to which they have become accustomed, said Pfc. Juan Delacruz, a motor transportation operator with CLR-25 and San Diego native.

These Marines never know what may strike their path, whether it’s an Improvised Explosive Device, mechanical problems or civilian vehicles trying to enter their convoy.

“The convoys are a lot more dangerous out here because we are a big target,” said 1st Lt. Ramiro DeAnda, a convoy commander with CLR-25. “All you can really do is react.”

Even though they experience the unexpected, a lot of planning goes into the convoying process. It took CLR-25 six to seven months of training and planning that completely revolved around convoy operations to prepare for thier deployment to Iraq.

DeAnda admits that the majority of training takes place on the road.

“It is kind of like ‘on-the-job’ training,” the El Paso, Texas native explained. “You can prepare all you want, but once you are really doing it that is when you really get the hang of it.”

On the road, it’s the split second changes that make the difference in the safety of the convoy.

“It’s like playing chess all night,” said DeAnda. “I am always thinking three moves ahead and at the same time worrying about what I’m doing right now.”

The danger also culminates with the stress of being on the road for extremely long periods of time.

Some of these Marines are on the road for extended periods of time traveling from forward operating base to forward operating base delivering supplies to each command, said Cpl. Brandon G. Laws, a motor transportation operator with CLR-25 and Houston native.

“Without motor the FOBs wouldn’t get hooked up with food, water, supplies, and Marines,” Laws said. “I believe it’s an important part of the Marine Corps.”

The junior Marines are the ones who make up the majority of the drivers and gunners on the convoys and are complimented by their superiors for how well they operate under these conditions.

Most of these Marines have been to Iraq multiple times and know their job inside and out, said Laws.

“They are doing an outstanding job,” DeAnda said. “They are motivated and never complain. They do their job to the best of their ability.”

Finally, after 48 hours on the road, the Marines arrive back at Taqaddum. They drop off their load and clean their weapons. They just got word that they will go out the next night. This time it is a new destination and a new load to deliver. The Marines try to squeeze in a few hours of sleep before they get on the long road again, always ready to continue supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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