HADITHA, Iraq -- Exactly a year after the infamous day that brought down the World Trade Center buildings in New York, a man left his hometown of Miami knowing he would deploy overseas to rid the world of terrorists.
However, what he didn’t know was how important he would be while supporting 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment as their only electrician while deployed here.
Lance Cpl. Roly Ramos, an electrician attached to the battalion, works at all hours of the day and night keeping the battalion powered both while at the Haditha Dam and the command post inside the city.
“I handle everything that deals with power for 3/1,” said Ramos, a Michael Krop High School graduate. “I run power cords, install power converters and air conditioners, and keep everything working so they never lose power when they need it.”
When the battalion made their present home the Haditha Dam, the hardest part of the planning process was ensuring there was enough power for more than 1,000 Marines. According to Chief Warrant Officer Paul T. Pritchard, executive officer for the battalion’s Headquarters and Service Company, the dam was not originally made to provide power to that many people inside the dam.
“Ramos worked with the dam electrician to see how much power was at his disposal and how to fix it to make sure that the power didn’t go out all the time,” said Pritchard, a Dallas native. “He had to work 18-hour days for a while and never complained once about it. He knows his stuff and got us up and running when we needed it the most.”
With his experience and electrical proficiency, he was able to provide power to each company’s command center so they could run operations effectively. He also set up many sleeping areas inside the dam with air conditioners to keep Marines cool in the Iraqi heat.
Ramos didn’t think he would be hooking up air conditioners and running power for Marines when he joined the Marine Corps in 2002. In fact, he had no idea what his job was going to be.
“I went to boot camp on an open contract,” commented the Bolivia-born Marine. “When I got told I was going to be an electrician, I thought to myself, I don’t know anything about electricity or power, how am I going to be a electrician. But the school taught me everything I needed to know.”
Since that school, which was taught aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., he was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan and went on deployments to Korea and Fuji. These deployments helped prepare him for his current assignment.
A week before his deployment to Iraq supporting 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, his wife gave birth to his daughter. Having only a week to spend with the new addition to his family, the thought of getting to know her is one of the only things keeping him going during the long days.
“I can’t wait to spend some time with them when I get home,” Ramos commented.
Once back in the United States, Ramos has only a few months left before getting out and heading to his hometown to study for a civil engineering degree from Miami Dade College. He also plans to take over his father’s upholstery company when he retires.
“Every time I go home he talks to me about retiring. So I think he is waiting for me to get out of the Marines before retiring and hand over the company to me,” said Ramos. “That is probably what I will do for a while when I go home.”