AR RAMADI, Iraq -- Lance Cpl. James Loomis joined the Marine Corps for a number of reasons. While some people join for adventure or college money, others join for the chance to travel and experience other cultures. Loomis, a machine gunner from Orange County, Calif., enlisted in the Corps for all those reasons and more.
Loomis, who is with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, grew up in southern California and always knew that the world had more to offer than the odd jobs he worked before enlisting.
“I didn’t have any scholarships for college and was sitting around working general labor jobs,” the Amador High School graduate said. “Just before I enlisted, my family moved to northern California. I didn’t know anybody and had nothing to do there, so I enlisted.”
When it came to picking a job in the Corps, Loomis said the decision was easy.
“I signed up to be an infantryman,” he said. “I wanted to go to war and thought this would be the easiest and quickest way there. I wanted to contribute and do my part.”
Arriving at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in July of 2004, Loomis quickly found himself training for his first deployment to Iraq. After finishing recruit training and the School of Infantry (West,) he received orders to Marine Corps Air Ground Training Center Twentynine Palms, Calif.
“We had a three-month training block to get ready for this deployment,” Loomis said. “We went to all kinds of schools and learned a lot of skills we will be using over here. We trained really hard for this deployment. We’ve been going nonstop since the beginning of May.”
Once in Iraq, Company L was quickly put to work conducting vehicle checkpoints, or VCP. A VCP is a temporary roadblock where Marines randomly check vehicles for contraband materials and insurgents.
“I was glad we did that VCP so early in the deployment,” he said. “It was fun to do my job and I got to see the city I will be working in for the next seven months.”
Although in Iraq for a short amount of time, Loomis says he was surprised at how different Iraq was from what he thought it would be.
“From what I’ve seen, the people here seem to appreciate what we are doing here for them,” he said. “It’s definitely not as bad as other people make it out to be.”