View Full Version : Tampa Bay, Fla., native helps protect Marines in Iraq

01-13-06, 03:02 PM
Tampa Bay, Fla., native helps protect Marines in Iraq
2nd Marine Division
Story by: Sgt. Ryan S. Scranton

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, RAMADI, Iraq(Jan. 13, 2006) -- Lance Cpl. Alex Fox volunteered to deploy here in hopes of to make a contribution vice caught up in working parties at Lejeune. When Fox returned from his six-month tour in Iraq conducting security operations in the Walleed area along the Iraq-Syria border in March 2005, he decided he wanted to return.

After watching the news and listening to reports of the conditions here, the 20-year-old Tampa Bay, Fla., native thought his desire to be involved in the combat operations would be fulfilled. When he arrived in Al Anbar’s provincial capital city of Ramadi in August 2005, he was surprised at what he found.

“I volunteered to come here the second time. From what I can tell, things have calmed down a lot since March,” Fox said. “It wasn’t what I expected, but it’s a good thing for the Iraqi people.”

For the last four months, Fox and his fellow Marines from the Camp Security Force here have manned the various security towers along the camp’s walls providing a barrier between insurgents here and the camp residents Fox has developed a keen insight into the lives of the Iraqis in the neighborhood he watches over.

“After doing this for a period of time you know when something is out of place,” Fox said. “You know when something is there and it shouldn’t be and you know when something is not there and it should. Usually, everybody just goes about their daily lives. They are getting used to our presence.”

Fox doesn’t just speak from his experiences manning the security towers. He often gets much more than a bird’s eye perspective.

In addition to manning the camps security towers, Fox and his fellow Marines frequently conduct patrols at night. They look for insurgent activity, make contact with locals, search homes and buildings for terrorists and their weapons caches, and enforce the city’s curfew in the area surrounding the base.

The contact he has made with the people here is mostly positive and the consistent patrols and interaction with the people have helped diminish the threat of violence here.

“Most of the people we see are pretty friendly,” Fox said. “For the most part, they seem to like us. As they get more used to us, they come up to the towers and give us information and it’s done a lot to lessen the rocket and small arms attacks.”

The improvement he has seen since his first deployment and what he observed in the last four months has made him optimistic about Iraq’s future. A general drop in the level of day-to-day violence - in addition to the lack of violence during what many had expected to be a violent Iraqi Constitutional Referendum in October - and an even calmer and more successful Iraqi National Election in December, showed Fox that the people here are moving in a positive direction.

“The people here are definitely changing their minds and getting a sense of their own country,” Fox said. “They are starting to get the idea. I can see that what we’re doing here is for something. We’re improving the country.”