Results 1 to 1 of 1
06-27-03, 09:17 PM #1
Marines, Proud of History, Ready to Play Their Role
Marines, Proud of History,
Ready to Play Their Role
By Sergeant Joseph R. Chenelly, USMC
ABOARD USS PELELIU — When word came of the terror in New York City, Pennsylvania and the nation's capital, Marines of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) knew the tip of America's metaphorical spear may be needed to protect the United States from future attacks.
Sitting in troop berthing, Marines discuss the surreal scene back home and Operation Enduring Freedom. No one in the MEU, which left from Camp Pendleton, Calif., in August on a scheduled six-month deployment, has seen the dramatic changes their loved ones back home in the states are enduring. Yet the sentiment is clear here.
Human emotions and mental readiness are being dealt with in every corner of the amphibious ships the MEU is embarked aboard.
"I'm trying not to think about the dangers of combat," said Cpl. Conor K. Duffy, 21, a mortarman with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, 15th MEU (SOC). "I'm keeping my head up, looking forward and trying to stay focused on readying for whatever the country needs."
Much like the attitude portrayed in the World War II recruiting slogan "Tell it to the Marines," a sense of duty has gripped Marines here. History shows how Marines responded after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Marine Corps thrives on its immensely proud tradition.
"Everyone joined the Corps living off the legends and stories of the past," said Cpl. Norman A. Peoples, 25, a rifleman with Charlie Company, BLT 1/1. "It may be our turn to do our part in keeping the traditions alive."
From the highest level of command to the most junior warrior, maintaining readiness is a way of life on a Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Martial arts instruction, weapons maintenance, an assortment of tactics rehearsals and briefings fill infantrymen's days. A focus on reasserting the basic infantry skills has spread through the Battalion Landing Team.
The aviation combat element is working around the clock to ensure aircraft readiness is topnotch.
"I trust the pilots, aircraft and myself," said Staff Sgt. Russell D. Jevell, 32, a CH-46E crewman with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron-163 (reinforced). "We're flying a lot of training flights, and paying close attention to each detail in maintenance."
The MEU's support element is anything but idle. Its medical staff is teaching first aid classes. Mechanics spend long hours maintaining the many tactical vehicles the MEU boasts. Support personnel are reviewing weapon handling and security procedures.
"All these classes are necessary to maintain our high level of readiness," said Sgt. Matthew R. McIntosh, 22, a ground radio repairman with MEU Service Support Group 15. "We are as ready as we can be."
Each individual unit completed many months of training before becoming an element of the 15th MEU (SOC). The elements then conducted comprehensive exercises together for another six months before deploying. The extensive training Marines endure often creates close-knit units.
"I'd rather be back home with my wife, but I know I need to be here," said Lance Cpl. Lester Ransburg, a 19-year-old mortarman with Wpns. Co., BLT 1/1. "It wouldn't be right to be away from the platoon at a time like this. We've been through a lot together. They've become my brothers. It's my duty to be here with them now."
As the possibility of a conflict grows, so does the realism that many of the MEU's noncommissioned officers may be asked to lead their troops in combat.
"I've been training for three years for this. I'm confident I can lead, and I'm confident in those leading me," Peoples said. "I'm very confident in the Marines I lead. We are ready, and we will be successful in any mission asked of us."
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)