AR RAMADI, Iraq -- At Hurricane Point, the Marines of 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment work around the clock planning, executing, and refining operations in western Ramadi.
Day and night, a select group of Marines fortify positions surrounding the camp allowing fellow warriors to work, live and rest in relative security as they accomplish their missions.
These Marines have a mixture of different military occupational specialties. However, today they are united together to carryout one job in particular -- the interior guard force.
“We are called the guardian angles of the camp,” said Lance Cpl. Dux A. Lopez, an administrative clerk for Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Bn., 8th Marines.
The battalion deployed last year to Fallujah from January 2005 to August 2005. Now the Marines and sailors have returned to Iraq to participate to conduct operations in western Ramadi.
The Marines of the guard force keep a watchful eye on everything that goes on in the city around them, constantly on the lookout for suspicious activity.
Before they could stand post, the new sentries went through a rigorous five-day training evolution.
Their training covered areas such as escalation of force procedures, weapons conditions, the purpose of each post, and how to use the new Multi-Functional Agile Remote Control Robot.
“The main challenge is making sure the Marines learn and understand the knowledge taught to them,” said Sgt. Antoine M. Beasley, the sergeant of the guard responsible for the Marines on post. “The other challenge is getting the guys familiar with their post and surrounding area.”
Unit cohesion is also important. Since the Marines come from all different sections of the battalion, they must quickly learn how to operate as a team, said the 27-year-old from Augusta, Ga.
“The purpose of guard is to provide a constant over watch of Hurricane Point to ensure the safety of the Marines and sailors inside,” said Cpl. Joshua C. Myers, a 23-year-old motor transport operator with the guard force. “We are the main line of defense between the insurgents and the Marines.”
Standing post for hours at a time can be challenging; however, the Marines know with certainty that staying sharp could be a matter of life or death.
“They have to be observant and pay attention to every detail, they can’t get complacent,” said Lance Cpl. Richard R. Ricketts, a mortar man for the company.
The Marines observe everyone and keep an eye out for anything suspicious, such as people potential IED’s or other kinds of explosives, said Lance Cpl. Joel J. Fuller, a Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defense specialist with the guard.
The sentries keep a continuous watch for their fellow Marines and hopefully, everyone inside camp can conduct their missions with a little peace of mind. The battalion lives by the motto “everyday is day one.” This is especially true for the guard.
“Without the guard force, Marines simply couldn’t sleep at night,” said Beasley.