MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Families and friends gathered with their Marines, helping them with their packs and giving them that one last hug for the seven months they’ll be apart. Hugs and kisses from families to Marines seemed synchronized as if there was a cue card letting them know when to do it.
And for Lance Cpl. Ron G. Kramer, a Marine with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, this was an all too familiar scene having been deployed three times in the last two years.
The Pittsburgh, Penn. native deployed to Haiti from March to June in 2004, then to Iraq from January to August 2005 and is returning to Iraq after being home for about six months.
“I’m a little anxious, but I’m used to being deployed, so for me, it’s not that big of a deal,” explained the 2003 Montour High School graduate.
During all three deployments, Kramer has been with the same battalion. His last deployment was to the city of Fallujah in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, where he was a team leader in the battalion commander’s personal security detachment.
Kramer’s job was to provide security for the battalion commander during every operation, escorting him from point A to point B. He was also responsible for setting up the mobile combat operation center (COC) during these operations and conducting cordoned searches and raids.
Although Kramer’s location in Iraq will be different, his job has not changed.
“I’ll be doing the same thing I did the first time out there,” explained the 21-year-old veteran. “I just have to not be complacent when I’m out there and be open to learn new things even though I’ve ‘been there and done that.’”
Upon his return from his third deployment, Kramer will only have six months on his current enlistment contract. He has high hopes and big plans for both his deployment and the end of his enlistment.
“During my deployment I hope to get some time to lift weights, go on patrols and get some bad guys,” he explained. “When we get back from Iraq I hope to get promoted again and then I’ll probably get out (of the Corps) and go onto college at the University of Pittsburgh.”
As Kramer stepped onto the bus to head out for his flight, his thoughts naturally fell to his loved ones back home in Pittsburgh; his mother Barb; father Ron; two sisters Mara and Michel; and his girlfriend Hollie. He said although they are used to his deployments, they are never comfortable with them.
“They know that I’ll be safe and that I’ll keep in contact with them,” he said. “Hopefully this will be the last one they have to go through.”
Kramer is scheduled to deploy for about six to seven months, but he is confident that his prior experience will get him through it.
“I definitely have a lot more confidence this time than I did the last time, but that just comes with knowing what to expect,” Kramer explained.
Kramer originally joined the Marine Corps to “develop a sense of discipline” in his life. And after three combat tours under his belt and four years of active duty he said he definitely believes he accomplished that.