AR RAMADI, Iraq -- The opportunity to deploy and help protect the United States is the reason many Marines joined the Corps in the first place. Whether they were watching the war on TV and felt they were missing out on something, or they just wanted to “do more” with their lives, the war in Iraq was the reason many young men and women signed the contract to serve their country.
Lance Cpl. Raymond Guess, an infantryman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment’s guard force, is one of those Marines and recently got the chance to go on his first patrol through the streets of Ar Ramadi during a Civil Affairs Group foot patrol Nov. 5.
“I was really happy being able to go out into town for the first time,” said the Kansas City, Mo., native. “Meeting the children and townspeople was very satisfying. I look forward to being able to do it again.”
Guess is one of many Marines who is serving outside his normal job, working as part of the battalion’s guard force. The guard is the primary force responsible for the security of the Marine bases around the city.
“It’s a fun job, a good deal,” said the 19-year-old. “I like standing post on the north bridge because we can talk to and wave at the people walking by on their way to work or school.”
However, the recent CAG patrol needed a handful of Marines to provide a security element while moving through a northern neighborhood of the city. While CAG is mainly responsible for helping the Iraqi government and people through projects such as improving schools and medical facilities, they still require a security element to prevent attacks from local insurgent groups.
Normally, most patrols through the city, CAG or otherwise, use up-armored humvees and trucks to move troops both quickly and safely. However, the threatening presence the large vehicles give off sometimes works against the peaceful mission of CAG. To help reduce the intimidation of the large, menacing vehicles, CAG Marines are getting out on foot patrols, building meaningful relationships with school administrators, homeowners and business operators. This last operation was a great example of that when they stopped and talked with homeowners of three different homes in the city.
“It’s great to finally get out and interact with the children and families,” he said. “I was excited when I heard I was coming to Iraq in the first place because I wanted to stop the terrorists where they start. Now that I am here, I feel good about what we are doing here. If I had to come back, I would.”