CAMP KOREAN VILLAGE, Iraq -- The current operation tempo, with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, has some Marines deployed overseas more than they are at home.
Corporal Rodney A. Backues, a Light Armored Vehicle Crewman with Company C, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, is on his third deployment to Iraq at the age of 21.
Backues serves as a gunner on his commanding officer’s LAV, where he scans his surroundings for possible threats and anti-Iraqi forces.
The St. Louis, Mo. native assists in providing security for the battalion, as well as conducting patrols and raids in search of insurgents within the surrounding cities.
Backues and his fellow Marines conduct these operations as the quick reaction force for the battalion. They have responded to roadside bomb attacks and helped recover damaged vehicles.
“If any thing happens in the surrounding area they call us up and we go out and take care of it,” Backues stated.
These operations are nothing new to Backues who was part of the initial liberation of Iraq during the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
“We spent a month in Kuwait and then we pushed up to Tikrit and worked our way back down south,” he explained. “We were here for about four months and then we went back home.”
The Marquette High School graduate’s second deployment was spent fighting in the initial push to retake Fallujah.
According Backues, he is finding his third deployment, this time on the outskirts of the Al Anbar province in Western Iraq, easier than the first two.
“Here you only have roadside bomb attacks, back in Fallujah we had more fights with insurgents. We received a lot of small arms fire. They actually shot back,” Backues stated. “Now they just try to us blow up and run away.”