View Full Version : Female Marine participates in 230 convoys in Iraq

03-12-06, 06:35 AM
Female Marine participates in 230 convoys in Iraq
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Story by Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (March 9, 2006) -- In 2004, President George W. Bush declared March to be further known as National Women’s History Month. Throughout the years, countless women have proven their importance to our great nation and women in the military are no exception.

Corporal Jessica L. Curtis of San Francisco is one Marine who will go down in history as well, at least where fellow Truck Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Marines are concerned.

The field radio operator deployed to Iraq in February 2005 in support of Operation Iraq Freedom.

During her time in Iraq, Curtis participated in more than 230 convoy operations, but she would not have wanted it any other way.

“I loved being deployed,” said Curtis. “I really enjoyed going outside the wire and actually doing something. I learned something every time I went out on a convoy.”

Being stationed at Camp Blue Diamond in Al Ramadi, Iraq, meant almost daily supply convoys to surrounding camps including Camps Taqaddum, Al Asad, Fallujah and Hurricane Point to name a few.

“Every time we would go to Al Asad something bad would happen,” Curtis stated. “We would almost always endure small arms fire or sustain [improvised explosive device] attacks.”

Luckily, no one was ever seriously injured during the convoys she participated in, but that does not mean the enemy did not try.

“We returned fire several times during an attempted enemy attack on our convoy,” she said. “It’s pretty scary too, because once an attack is over, you can’t stop thinking there’s going to be another one any second.”
Curtis’ actions definitely made her stand out, according to one of her fellow Marines who rode the same convoys she did.

"Whenever we were halted, Curtis would always be the one getting on the radio and sending information back to higher keeping them informed of our position and activity," said Cpl. Philip W. Young of Henderson, N.C., a motor transport operator with the company. "She did everything she had to do to make the convoy a success as far as her participation was concerned. We never lost communication on any of the convoys she was on. She did great out there."

No doubt her motivated actions caught the attention of her platoon sergeant, Sgt. Renee Marie Pesqueira of Tucson, Ariz., as well.

“What impresses me the most, besides her dedicated work ethic, is that she didn’t have to join the Marine Corps,” said Pesqueira. “She chose this job and she values the works she puts forward. Corporal Curtis is calm under fire…literally.”

With all the blood and sweat and sleepless nights Curtis dedicated to take part in all the convoys she has, one would think she should be exhausted, but she disagrees.

“I miss Iraq,” said Curtis. “I miss going on convoys and experiencing the camaraderie a convoy operation displayed. I just miss everything about it. Being so busy and getting so many things accomplished in one day. Iraq was a great experience for me.”

Curtis was presented a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for her hard work and dedication while serving in Iraq. She was also awarded a Certificate of Commendation for her work with various Army units.


03-12-06, 11:15 AM
San Francisco native keeps Marines talking
Story by Sgt. Ryan S. Scranton (http://www.marines.mil/marinelink/mcn2000.nsf/lookupstoryref/2005925113252)

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Ramadi, Iraq (Sept. 25, 2005)
-- Corporal Jessica L. Curtis knows the roads here like the back of her hand.

The 21-year-old San Francisco native should. She travels them daily in convoys taking supplies back and forth through the western region of Iraq several times per week.

Curtis said she’s been on more than 100 convoys since she got here seven months ago. As the communications chief for Truck Company, Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, she is responsible for ensuring the Marines driving in the convoys can talk to each other and coordinate their movements. Traveling the various improved and unimproved roads presents a challenge for Marines maneuvering their vehicles through traffic. Vehicles strung out across long stretches of highway and along city streets provide an easy target for insurgents. The vulnerability of convoys makes synchronizing their movements vital to the safety of the Marines.

“People don’t understand how important [communications] are out here,” Curtis said. “No one thinks about it until they don’t have it. Then it sinks in.”

Curtis also maintains the systems that block and prevent the detonation of roadside improvised explosive devices. She’s logged more than 6,000 miles on the roads and said she never feels unsafe. She finds solace in the fact that her fellow Marines are providing security on each convoy. She’s encountered numerous IED’s while on the road, but said that each convoy’s security element has always identified them.

“We always catch it before anything happens,” Curtis said. “We’re either really good or we’re lucky.”

Curtis said if it’s the latter, she isn’t worried about her luck running out. Her confidence in her fellow Marines ability to handle any situation keeps her calm and collected on the road.

“Everyone out here works together,” Curtis said. “I know if anything happens I’ll be okay because everyone knows how to react and they’ll all do their jobs. So I’m not worried when I’m out there. I’m not complacent. I just have faith in my security team and the people I work with.”

The Marines in her unit form a tight-knit group. They rely on each other for support and work together as a team. She acknowledges the importance of her job but said she also realizes the role she plays is just one part of a larger effort.

“I feel like I’m doing something for the team here,” Curtis said. “We all work together to get things done. [Truck Company] does a lot of background work. If the power goes out, it’s because we didn’t refuel the generators. If people don’t get their repair parts, it’s because we didn’t pick them up. We have a pretty important role here.”

Curtis said what is truly important to her is not what she does, but what she is a part of. She wanted to be a Marine since she was 14-years-old. She attended an all-girls catholic school in the Visitation Valley area of San Francisco. Mercy High School was a far cry from the Marines, but she said she has always wanted to do something different.

“Ninety percent of the girls I went to high school with graduated and went to college.” Curtis said. “I wanted to do something adventurous; I guess it was because I watched too much Discovery Channel.”

Curtis’s need for adventure keeps her on the road. She said it’s the same reason she plans to make a career of the Marines.

“I’ve had good days and I’ve had bad days, but there have been a lot more good ones.”

I'd rather have this Jessica on comm rather than Jessica Lynch! :evilgrin:

03-12-06, 05:58 PM
I'm a field radio operator too, that sh!t is motivating...

03-12-06, 06:04 PM
Even when I was going to St. Pauls' School, in the 50's, the girls from Mercy High had "interesting" reputations....even for a third grader. LOL
On a side note, one of the big time Roller Derby Queens of yester year, Ann Caravello (?) attended St. Agnes School in SF.
Ahh, Catholic Schools....the spawning grounds for "interesting" people.
Good story. Thanks.