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Jump Platoon explores roads less traveled

1 Aug 2008 | Lance Cpl. Joshua Murray

The Warlords of Jump Platoon have the responsibility of escorting the battalion commander anywhere he needs to go around the Task Force 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 area of operations.

The Jump Marines spend the majority of their time providing this service, but on days when they’re not required to provide those escorts, the platoon drives down seldom-traveled roads and patrols unfamiliar places.

“We do a lot of route reconnaissance, like patrolling routes that no one really uses to travel,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Carpenter, 22, a rifleman with the Jump Plt. “We’ve gone to abandoned buildings and factories to search for contraband.”

Although the route reconnaissance patrols are designed to expand their knowledge of the terrain and routes of Al Qa’im, occasionally the Marines stop to visit locals and give them any aid within their means.

“We came into a village where Coalition forces hadn’t been in a long time,” said Carpenter, a native of Marietta, Ohio. “We gave them toys, candy and water, and if someone was hurt, our (corpsmen) bandaged him up.”

Corpsmen with the platoon have provided medical aid to Iraqis several times so far, and one corpsman says he treats “mainly minor injuries and infections.”

“I’ve given out eye drops, looked at someone’s messed up knee, wrapped it and explained to some Iraqis how to deal with sprains and swelling,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Harper, a corpsman with the Jump Plt. from Charleston, W.V. “One guy that I checked out said he has a hard time finding a doctor, so I help with all the acute problems that I am equipped to deal with.”

These multitasking Marines help the battalion accomplish its mission, raise support from local citizens and increase Coalition forces’ knowledge of Al Qa’im and its people. They will continue patrolling, searching for what’s left of the enemy and lend their support to Iraq’s people any way they can.