CAMP RIPPER, Al Asad, Iraq -- Staff Sgt. Charles E. Sexton, a Florida state trooper, is thousands of miles away from the humidity and the long stretches of highway in the Sunshine State.
Sexton, a reserve Marine and camp security chief, recently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Lehigh Acres, Fla., native is responsible for the Marines who guard Camp Ripper’s entry points. He also supervises their training in anti-terrorism and force protection measures. It’s something he does not take lightly.
“Being out here doing this is just as dangerous as anything back in the states,” said Sexton. “Except we rely heavily on our instincts and continually change our methods in operating procedures to keep potential insurgents on their toes.”
He made the decision to be among “The Few. The Proud.” when he was 30. Sexton was also able go into military police.
The 1983 Colquitt County High School graduate’s experience as a state trooper garnered the attention of his instructors who often asked him to share his experiences.
Sexton discovered that his civilian law enforcement training was very similar to what the Marines undergo to become military police. This helped him along the way.
“I stayed ahead of the game because of my prior experience,” the 2002 Park University, St. Louis graduate said. “The professionalism and the way we handled day-to-day situations mirrored each other.”
The Florida Highway Patrol has been very supportive of its military members said Sexton.
When he left his fellow state troopers this past spring to help his fellow Marines in the Corps, he knew his vast experience would play a heavy part in operations here.
“During our searches back home we would plan for weeks before setting up any entry or vehicle control points,” said Sexton.
With his experience in this field, he usually advises his superiors when it comes to making security changes. He even played an integral part in the design and decision making of Camp Ripper’s new entry and vehicle control points.
He looks forward to being able to go home to celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary, knowing that he did his part in the success of the mission.
“I feel that I personally helped make this base more secure,” Sexton said. “I wish I could do more, but I hope that the difference I made in this country is as much as I could do back home.”