Photo Information

CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq (April 9, 2005)- Cpl. Robert L. Gass, a tow gunner with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team-2 is a vehicle commander of a combined anti-armor team. The Moncks Corner, S.C., native is deployed to the Al Anbar province of western Iraq where he has experienced a new culture he never would have if he didn't join the Corps two and a half years ago. Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Weapons, 3/2 Marine experiences Iraq

30 Apr 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

For Cpl. Robert L. Gass, the only true job for him in the Marines was the infantry.“I never knew there was any other job in the Marine Corps besides the infantry. But even when I did find out, I still wanted to do it,” explained Gass, an anti-tank missile system gunner with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.And now the Moncks Corner, S.C., native’s choice to be an infantryman has landed him a deployment to western Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a vehicle commander of a combined anti-armor team.“My main job here as a vehicle commander is to make sure everyone in my truck is in line. I make sure we are in the best position for our fields of fire, which help us determine the best way to employ our weapons,” explained the 22-year-old anti-tank assault man. “I make sure my guys know what they need to know and be where they need to be to get the job done.”Gass and his team are mainly responsible for providing security for the battalion’s missions. This security consists of vehicle and personnel inspection points that are set up quickly, known as snap vehicle check points, throughout the area to prevent the easy movement of insurgents.“We mainly set up snap vehicle check points,” Gass explained. The 2001 Berekely High School graduate added that they are often involved in raids to root out key personnel associated with insurgent activities. “We are involved in some raids to capture specific individuals. We do a lot of security patrols. So we basically secure areas for other people to work in and support the main players in the operations,” he continued.Gass originally joined the Marine Corps to find something new, and here he is in a different country with a different culture.“I was getting bored with what I was doing and tired of being in the same place all the time,” he said. “I like being out here helping the Iraqis. But it can get kind of hard, because you can’t understand them sometimes. They do things totally different from the way we do things in America, but it’s their culture.”As a noncommissioned officer and a Marine leader deployed to a combat zone, Gass focuses his efforts on completing each mission he is given and getting all his Marines home safe.“My main goal is to bring all my boys home to their families safe,” he said.Gass believes in order to accomplish his goals one of the most important qualities he needs to possess is determination.“If you’re not really determined to do your job, then it’s real easy to get side tracked. You have to be dedicated, doing what you have to do, protecting the guy to your left and right,” he said.According to Gass, his two and a half years in the Marine Corps and this deployment have taught him to appreciate what he has back home.“I love my job,” he explained. “I am getting to experience and see something different. I don’t think Americans realize how good they have it, but being out here makes you appreciate what you have back home.”