HIT, Iraq -- Battle Ground, Wash., native Lance Cpl. Randy B. Lake was in the middle of a house that was booby trapped and ready to blow up during the Battle of Fallujah less than a year ago. Without hesitation, he moved a friend out of harm’s way and warned other Marines not to come in the house.
These actions saved many lives and earned him the Bronze Star. Now, he has returned to the deserts of Iraq for another tour supporting the Global War on Terrorism.
Lake, a radio operator with Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, joined the Marine Corps in Aug. 2003. The thrill of new challenges and a chance to see the world intrigued the young 18-year-old.
“I wanted to get some cool experiences in life,” said the former Battle Ground High School football team captain. “I can now say I’ve done some pretty cool things.”
Lake spent much of his high school life participating in sports like football and track. The idea of teamwork and the leadership skills he acquired as the captain of the football team helped him in the Marines, according to Lake.
“It taught me how to be a leader,” he said. “It taught me how and when to take charge and when to step back and let people do things themselves.”
Now that he is back in Iraq, he uses those skills on four or more foot patrols a day in the town here. He is back in a role that saves lives because he is the link between the squad and the rest of the company.
Lake is responsible for providing information to the command operations center giving updates to key leaders. He also radios for assistance in case of contact with insurgents and medical evacuation of wounded Marines.
“Lance Cpl. Lake brings a lot of knowledge about the radio to the platoon,” said 2nd Lt. Steve C. Chamales, platoon commander for the company and a Brookings, S.D., native. “He has a great work ethic and is great to have with us.”
Along with providing radio support on the patrols, Lake also interacts with the people in each community. During a recent patrol, Lake brought candy along with him and passed it out to all the children in the community.
“I hope I can influence each community that we are the good people and that we are here to help keep their area safe,” said the 20-year-old.
“The kids always like us, but the older people shy away from us. If they see me give the kids candy and talk to them, then they might become more open with us too.”