HADITHA DAM, Iraq -- Traveling on the roads in Iraq can be dangerous as insurgents continue placing roadside bombs and targeting Marines and civilians.
On the road everyday, helping keep many of the convoys for 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment safe, is Idaho Falls, Idaho, native Cpl. Christopher L. Carney.
The convoy security element commander with the battalion’s motor transport section is seen on nearly every convoy above the first vehicle in the gunner’s seat. Being the first vehicle in the convoy helps him see what lies ahead of the convoy and be the first line of defense against attacks.
“I always try to lead by example and the lead vehicle is the best place for me to be in the event something bad happens,” the 34 year-old said.
The infantryman turned convoy security commander became part of the battalion “Motor T” in July and made an impact as soon as he started working with them. Being the resident rifleman with the section, he was responsible for putting together a training program for the motor transport Marines before they deployed and while in Iraq.
“He has done a great job fostering the warrior attitude in my Marines,” commented 1st Lt. Derek J. Lane, the battalion’s motor transport officer. “He taught the Marines to see themselves as gun fighters and not just Motor T Marines. He brought back the ‘every Marine a rifleman’ concept.”
According to Lane, having Carney around also helps keep the tactical focus of the Marines in motor transport. He provides a point of view not often taken into consideration by the leaders of the motor transport section.
“When we start getting tunnel vision about just (motor transport) things, he becomes the voice of tactical things,” Lane added.
Since arriving in Iraq, the 1988 Ogden, Utah High School graduate has taken on responsibilities other than assisting convoy commanders with safe routes and security elements. He also runs the section’s armory and ensures there is adequate marksmanship training for the gunners in the section.
“I make sure all the weapons and optics are operational and accounted for,” said Carney, who joined the Marines to better himself. “I also take it as my job to make sure of the safety and survivability of the Marines I have with me.”
When on the road, the father of four is constantly seen waving at and giving candy to the children in the streets. Befriending the children in the communities is very important in helping provide a better future for the Iraqi people, commented Carney.
“When the children like you, they will sometimes tell you where (improvised explosive devices) are,” Carney added. “If we make a good impression now, then future generations will like us.”
Since joining the Marines more than nine years ago, Carney has been stationed at numerous bases with many different jobs. Although being with the motor transport gave him a better appreciation of how hard they work, he hopes to go back to his roots in an infantry company when the deployment ends.
“I’m hoping to get promoted soon so I can continue my career in the Marine Corps and continue to serve my country for years to come,” Carney said.