CAMP HABBANIYAH, Iraq -- Just like street sweepers, Marines here are cleansing Iraq’s roads of unwanted materials.
Marines of Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment conduct daily vehicle patrols to rid roads of improvised explosive devices and insurgents.
“We’re keeping the roads safe for fellow Americans and Iraqis,” said Pfc. Brandon S. Kyle, a 21-year-old from Angola, Ind., who drives a vehicle for Weapons Company’s B Section, Combined Anti-Armor Team Platoon.
Kyle said his team has seen progress since they first started working under Regimental Combat Team 5 a couple months ago.
“The more we patrol, the less likely someone will put something on the side of the road,” said Cpl. Daniel T. McGrath, a vehicle commander with B Section, CAAT Platoon.
So the 22-year-old radio wireman from Daytona Beach, Fla., and his team regularly run the dusty roads in this city west of Habbaniyah while looking for insurgents along the way.
It’s not just windshield tours for the Marines on this duty. McGrath said his team once had to dismount a vehicle to chase down insurgents after a rocket-propelled grenade attack.
Luckily, no one was hurt.
Many of the Marines said they’re just happy to serve with their fellow Marines day after day, despite the inherent dangers of purposely seeking out the weapons insurgents try to use against them.
“It feels like I’m actually doing something productive,” said Lance Cpl. Edwin A. Vera, a machine gunner assigned to B Section, CAAT Platoon.
The 25-year-old from Miami, Fla., serves as a gunner for his vehicle. Vera is the “eyes” of the truck. He’s responsible for spotting out suspicious activity before danger presents itself. Vera says there’s no pressure though. He’d have it no other way.
“I’m not sitting back and worrying about my Marines,” Vera said. “I’m out here with them.”
He said his Marines are what help him though his rough seven-month deployment.
“You got to love those guys,” Vera explained. “They’ll do anything for you,” Vera said.
He said the tight-knit brotherhood keeps their spirits unbreakable.
“Whatever happens, we keep our heads up,” Vera said. “In the morning, in the evening, no matter how many hours we’ve slept, we go out and do our mission. We do this every day, every single day.”