CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq -- A New Town Square, Penn., native found his first deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom both challenging and exciting.
Lance Cpl. Shane P. Costello, a provisional infantryman with Battery K, 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, assists in providing security along the Iraqi-Syrian border near Waleed to hinder the entrance of foreign fighters into Iraq.
“We were tasked with setting up the vehicle check points from Syria into Iraq and patrolling the city of Waleed,” Costello explained. “We search the vehicles coming into the country looking for anything that might be suspicious.”
While conducting operation on the border Costello and his fellow Marines soon realized life in Iraq was not going to be easy.
“It was really quiet when we first got here,” the 2003 Marple New Town High School graduate said. “As time went on we became more aggressive with our patrols because we had heard that insurgents were moving here and preparing to attack the points of entry into Iraq.
“We started seeing suspicious people and vehicles,” he continued. “There were people watching us closer than normal.”
The perils of working in Iraq became apparent to the 20-year-old after insurgents attacked a forward operating base at Waleed.
“In the past two months we have had two suicide car bomb attacks right in front of the FOB and another road-side bomb in Waleed, less than a half mile away.”
These attacks were focused on the Iraqi border policemen that work with the Marines to secure the border, according to Costello. The Iraqi personnel fill an important role here.
“The people see what we are trying to do, but it is hard because of the language barrier. It is a lot easier for the Iraqi border personnel to deal with the people because they speak the same language,” Costello said. “They are willing to help this country as much as we are.”
Costello joined the Marine Corps a few months before deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and had to work hard to adapt to life in Iraq.
“It is very challenging out here. I hit my year mark in the Corps while in Iraq. I was still learning how to be a Marine when I deployed,” he said. “I think that it will benefit me having to learn things the way I did out here.
Even though, he was new to the Marine Corps, he was provided with all the training and tools he needed to successfully complete his deployment.
“We went through one month of training in straight infantry tactics. We had to be a fully operational provisional infantry unit by the time we got over here,” he stated. “The training was outstanding. We are also constantly training out here.”