AL-ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq --
The Jump Platoon with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5, is proving you can teach an old dog new tricks.
The purpose of a jump platoon is to ensure the safety of a battalion commander during missions. The Jump Platoon with 3rd Bn., 4th Marines has accomplished this demanding task, and then some, during their combat deployment.
“Our purpose is to transport the battalion commander from point A to point B safely, while providing security,” said Sgt. Jay J. Richardson, 29, section leader with Jump Platoon, from Midland, Mich.
The platoon’s missions have led them all over the battalion’s vast area of operations. They have spent long hours on the road traveling to and from the cities of Hit, Haditha and Haqlaniyah. The platoon usually has secondary missions once they reach a destination.
“We conduct convoys from forward operating bases to meetings with sheiks and the Iraqi Police,” Richardson said. “Once we’re on site, we provide mounted security as well as internal security.”
Recently, the Marines in Jump Platoon have been performing alternate missions. On the days they don’t escort the battalion commander through the AO, they assist the battalion’s law enforcement professional.
“We conduct a mounted combat patrol,” Richardson said. “We set up 360 degree security and provide dismounted security so the LEP can do his job.”
The alternate objectives have allowed the Marines to perform missions they would be doing if they were still with their original companies.
“Each Marine is more than qualified for (different) missions because the platoon is made of four or five Marines from each company,” said Lance Cpl. George M. Dickey, 21, machine gunner with Jump Platoon, from Port Washington, Wisc.
Having Marines from various companies allows the Marines to learn from each other and share knowledge that will help them accomplish the platoon’s missions.
“We’re glad we’re doing missions that will help the Iraqi people,” Dickey said. “I’ve noticed a lot of improvement in Iraq.”
Richardson believes the cohesiveness in the platoon has led to them performing every mission without incident and has allowed them to accomplish every objective.
“This is one of the best platoons I’ve ever been in,” Richardson said.