AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Some people need the guidance and direction the Marine Corps provides and Pfc. David Smush, a machine gunner with Weapons Platoon, Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, was one of them.
A Chicago native, Smush was working odd jobs and struggling to find direction when he stumbled into a Marine Corps recruiting office one day.
“It was a spur of the moment thing,” the 19-year-old said. “I was tired of being at home all the time. I worked at a gas station and sometimes at a fire station. I needed something more.”
That “more” ended up being the Marine Corps. Smush had a grandfather who was a Marine during the fifties.
“I chose infantry because I wanted to blow something up,” he said laughing.
Soon, however, Smush was learning to do more than just “blow things up.” In order to prepare for a seven-month deployment in a combat zone, Company L participated in a number of training missions.
“It was long, hot and hard, but it was good training for what we are doing here,” said the Hamilton County Senior High School graduate. “And now that we are here, we are constantly fine tuning what we learned and adjusting to make things better and faster.”
Another change he had to make was adjusting to the day-to-day life of a deployment. However, Iraq was not what he thought it would be, said Smush.
“Iraq is not what they made it out to be,” he said. “The people are friendly for the most part. They’re not trying to shoot at us all the time. We were prepared for a lot worse. We had expected a lot more attacks and (improvised explosive devices), but we’ve only seen a couple in the month we’ve been here.”
Being a part of Weapons Platoon brings its own special kinds of missions, as they are often the quick reaction force for the company.
“We do raids and hybrid patrols with the seven tons,” he said. “We go out with the other section of Weapons Platoon and sweep areas for IEDs and bad guys. We also have to be on call in case someone needs help out in the city.”
Even with such an unpredictable mission, Smush says he is glad he decided to “get out of the house and do something with his life.”
“It’s better than having a civilian job,” he said. “I’m glad I did it. It got me away from my hometown, out of my house and has kept me out of trouble.”