United States Marine Corps
Below you will see the different areas that I saw and took part in during my time in the military.
Security Forces 1998-2000 (England)
24th MEU: 2nd Recon 2002-2003 (Kosovo / Iraq)
24th MEU: 2nd Recon 2004-2005 (Iraq)
24th MEU: 2nd Force Recon 2005-2007 (Iraq)
The MEU stands for Marine Expeditionary Unit that deploys either by ship or by air for 6 months around the world and is always on standby.
What can I say? It's Africa. I always wanted to experience the African bush and to see the exotic animals in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, my first experience with this great continent was in a small country called Djibouti. Djibouti is situated north of Somalia in east Africa. The land is barren, the animals are scarce, the locals live in shacks, and the weather is humid and crazy hot. I wouldn't say I liked it there. We rode in helicopters from the boat to a small shooting range in the desert. That is when I felt the humid heat that felt like you were continually standing in front of a jet engine, and I'm from south Georgia. After an all-day range fest, we hiked to the campsite on the edge of some rocky terrain. There was a sickness going around the platoon, and if you got it, you were in for a nasty 24-hour bug. Luckily, I never got it. We pitched our tents and then set off in our teams to conduct night patrols in the area. A couple of days later and tired, some trucks came and picked us up to take off to the Army base situated on the coast. This was 2002, and the base consisted of mainly tents.
In 2006, my platoon was once again sent to Djibouti for training. We spent a lot of time skydiving and shooting. The jumps that we conducted were over the beach, and the view was breathtaking. That was another short trip and, unfortunately, my last while serving in the Marines.
The Iraq war is something that will be debatable for the rest of humanity. Did we go in for the right reason, or did greed, power, or money fuel it? I have no idea, and I don't care. Why you ask, because I was in the Marines, and that is where they sent me, period. You didn't question orders, and you didn't refuse them either. I was a corporal in a recon platoon attached to the 24th MEU. I remember when we took the ships over there, I was like a kid in a candy store. I would stand on deck and try to take in the seawater's smell and the daily sunrise and sunsets. I could not wait to see the world.
My first mission, you could say, was to be one of the first ones in Kuwait so that I could bring one of our vehicles up north to a base in Iraq. This was early 2003, and it was a full-blown war at this point. I volunteered with about ten other guys. We were attached to the Force Recon platoon, and I wanted to experience working with these guys. I was selected once we landed in Kuwait to be the gunner on the force recon truck. I was excited, to say the least. We were positioned about halfway in a colossal vehicle column, and we provided security with about ten other gun trucks mixed into the queue.
We started around noon and drove into the night. Around 10 pm, the driver wanted to switch out, and I was still pumped up from the adventure that I volunteered to drive for a while. The column moved slow, and I started to feel the day's effects and kept nodding off. I could not remember what time it was when the column came to a slow stop. It felt like we sat there forever, and I decided to take my NVG's off to relax. I have no idea how long I slept for, but when I put my NVG's back on, I realized that the column had left. I was scared shitless. I looked back, and the rest of the column was still there. I walked back and found the truck driver behind me fast asleep. I woke him up and told him to run around and wake the next guy and vice versa. I waited for a long 10 minutes and then started driving into the darkness. I could barely see the road and needed to make up some serious time to make the column's front part. After about an hour of driving, I saw the taillights off in the distance and reached the convoy's back. The rest of my vehicle decided to wake up at this time and then commend me on staying awake and driving the whole time while they slept. HAHA. Boy did they didn't know. Nobody in my part of the convoy said anything, and that was that. My first mission of the war, and I barely held it together.
The rest of that deployment was not bad at all. We did a couple of recon patrols, but the first part of that war was all infantry. They did most of the fighting in the first half of 2003, and I commend them.
My second deployment was filled with a butt load of night operations, recon patrols, counter-sniper missions, aerial sniper support, etc. We deployed again in 2004 with the 24th MEU to Iraq, Babylon Province, for a nine-month deployment. I was a sergeant in another recon platoon and a team leader. This deployment would fuel for selection into Force Recon afterward.