Photo Information

Marines from 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team-2 hone their marksmanship skills during Operation Iraqi Freedom at Camp Korean Village, Iraq. The Marines shot a version of the enhanced marksmanship program. They fired at targets while moving and also practiced clearing rooms. Cpl. Kitch Decoster, light armored vehicle crewman, Security Platoon, 2d LAR, Regimental Combat Team-2, is part of the security platoon that helps maintain security for Korean Village by going on patrols. (Photo by LCpl. Zachary W. Lester)

Photo by Lcpl. Zachary W. Lester

Santa Barbara, California native displays his diverisity in Iraq

19 Sep 2005 | Lance Cpl. Zachary W. Lester

Marines do what ever it takes to accomplish the mission and sometimes this means doing a job that is entirely different from their original field. Corporal Kitch Decoster, Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) crewman, security platoon, 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, is one of them. “Our mission out here is security, to make sure that coalition forces get their required supplies so they can carry on the mission of making Iraq a safe place and to train Iraqi forces,” Decoster said. The Santa Barbara, Calif., native originally worked as a vehicle commander on one of the LAVs for the first part of his deployment, but has had to adapt and take on many different jobs. “For the first couple of months, I was given the responsibility of vehicle commander for an LAV on the Quick Reaction Force which responds to improvised explosive devices and other things of that nature; if anything happened they called us to go check it out,” he said. Decoster also performed duties as a scout, observing for enemy activity from the back of an LAV, while participating in a few raids. “It was fun, but nothing really crazy happened,” he said. “On one raid we found a guy with a lot of Saddam paraphernalia.” As part of a platoon, the 26-year-old and his fellow Marines also have the extremely important task of providing security for the battalion’s commanding officer. It’s a job that required the skills of a seasoned Marine and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing battlefield. “Security for the colonel is our main deal; if he wants to go somewhere we go with him. We take him to the forward operating bases and other places in our area of operations to meet with Marines and see how things are going,” Decoster said. “That is basically our main function.” This is Decoster’s first deployment to Iraq and the eager Marine wants to do everything he can to help the country’s people. Sometimes, he admits, it’s frustrating. But, then he also said that there is a lot of work put into these operations and he always strives to reach a higher goal during the ongoing process to build a peaceful Iraq. “As far as our mission goes we are doing a good job, but I always wish we could do more,” Decoster said. “It is a long road and we are taking steps in the right direction.