AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Some people know, even as a small child, what they want to do with their life. Lance Cpl. Chris Snell has wanted to be a Marine for as long as he could remember, and now his dream has come true.
Snell, a 21-year-old from Bloomington, Ind., is a mortar man with Black Platoon, Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.
“The military was the only thing for me,” he said. “I wanted to do it since I was a little kid, so I guess it’s no surprise that I am in Iraq now.”
The Bloomington High School South graduate comes from a family rich in military traditions, including an uncle who served more then 20 years in the Navy, his father who was in the Air Force and his grandfather who served in the Army during World War II.
“For me, the decision was easy,” he said. “I left for recruit training right after high school and have enjoyed the Corps ever since. I want to be a lifer.”
In addition to knowing he wanted to be a Marine his whole life, he also realized that being an infantryman was the only thing that would make him happy.
“Infantry was the most interesting thing to me,” said Snell. “I always wanted to do the hard job, the most important job.”
This deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom is his second tour in Iraq. He served in an earlier deployment to OIF with CAAT Blue.
Getting ready for his second deployment though, was no easy task. The CAAT Black team was formed before this deployment and it took a lot of training to make sure they would be ready for the challenges ahead.
“The training was pretty intense,” he said. “It gets you ready though. Anytime we need to raid a house, we know what to do. The training also got us super familiar with our weapons systems and our jobs in the trucks.”
The CAAT teams, which are often used as the quick reaction force of the battalion, use humvees with weapons mounted in turrets on top of the vehicles. Knowing what to do, where to go and how each person in the truck is supposed to react is the first step towards a successful mission.
However, the other mission in Iraq, helping setup a new democracy is something that Snell says he is proud to be a part of.
“We are out here changing the hearts and minds of little children,” he said. “We are showing the younger generation what democracy is. We are helping them understand freedom.”
Even though he acknowledges that his job is to “get the bad guys out,” he says he joined the military to do more then deploy and see the world.
“I think if people want to serve their country, they absolutely should,” he said. “That’s why I am in the Corps, to serve my country and to serve those men who served before me.”