Photo Information

Camp Ripper, Al Anbar, Iraq (August 14, 2005)-- Regimental Combat Team-2 kennel master Sgt. Allen Smith, a 24- year-old Clinton, S.C., native, and Basco, a 5-year-old Dutch Shepherd, runs a training course. (Official USMC Photo by Corporal Ken Melton)

Photo by Cpl. Ken Melton

Guarding the gates in Al Anbar

13 Aug 2005 | Cpl. Ken Melton

Guarding the gates of the camp in temperatures of 110 degrees 24-hours a day can seem like a tedious task for those who do it.

For Lance Cpl. David G. Weimortz, an infantryman with Regimental Combat Team-2’s guard force, he knows his small role in the overall mission is in direct support of the bigger operations taking place in Iraq.

In his daily tasks of performing random searches of personnel and vehicles, sometimes numbering in the thousands, he remembers that there is always a risk of an attack and he stays vigilant to ensure it never happens.

“You get to know people and vehicles, but still must remain vigilant,” the Columbia, S.C., native said. “You never know what to expect so we must maintain our professionalism.”

Until recently during Operation Sword in the city of Hit, he did not fully understand the importance of his role. Weimortz attached to the headquarters section of 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment while they swept through and connected on a social level with the people of the city.

“We changed the local citizens’ image of us being conquerors into being liberators during that operation,” the 1995 Dutchfork High School graduate said. “We not only flushed out insurgents, but we also helped the people so they can build the infrastructure of their society.”

Weimortz realized that being in Iraq’s most deadly province puts everything into a different perspective and he is glad to have been able to take direct hand in the action and learn from it.

“I truly am proud to be an American over here fighting for my country even though I used to take it for granted,” the 2000 University of South Carolina graduate said. “From the simplest things such as getting milk, to being stuck in traffic, or even going to college football games it all comes to the surface and you realize how fortunate you are.”

Weimortz has complete confidence in his entire chain of command beginning with the highest-ranking officer down to the most junior of Marines.  And he is honored to be part of the effort that ends up shaping a country.

“This entire operation reminds me of a Boy Scout saying ‘Leave your camp better than you found it,’” the 28-year-old said smiling. “Not only will I leave this base in better shape and more secure, but we will have left this country in a greater shape for their future.”

2nd Marine Division