CAMP RIPPER, Iraq -- The Marine Corps’ three B’s, beans, bullets and bandages, are said to be the only equipment a Marine needs to accomplish the mission while in Iraq.
Supporting more than 5,000 troops attached to Regimental Combat Team-2 with these supplies and other comforts of home everyday is Bakersfield, Calif., native Lance Cpl. Larry O. Martinez.
Martinez, who volunteered to leave his embarkation and logistics clerk job with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., to deploy, is doing that same job in Iraq for the RCT’s logistics shop. The only difference is the sheer volume of responsibility put on his shoulders everyday.
“Being with the RCT’s four shop, we can pretty much say that any gear or people in RCT-2 went through us to get to where they are now,” commented the 20-year-old Martinez. “We coordinate the movement of all the people and supplies needed to complete the mission successfully.”
For a Marine who enlisted in 2003 to quench his thirst for extreme adventures, deploying to Iraq was the perfect adrenaline fix. Martinez says everyday brings something new as he goes from driving forklifts and 7-ton vehicles to participating in patrols.
“Going along on patrols in Hit was the most memorable time I’ve had since getting here in February,” the 2003 graduate of West High School said. “When I joined the Marines, I thought I would be in the infantry doing extreme things. This gave me a chance to get out there and actually do what I always wanted to do.”
The exhausting task of patrols in hostile areas is not much different than the high-paced, 24-hour job that Martinez does everyday while here. Being awoken after a few hours of sleep is normal as Martinez and the other 21 members of the shop are the suppliers of life-sustaining equipment for battalions in the area.
“The most difficult part of my job is when someone calls and they need supplies right then,” Martinez said. “They are miles away from here and we have to find a way to get what they need out to them in as little time as possible.”
Speedy support to the battalions is a major part of their mission while supporting the Global War on Terrorism. When a battalion needs materials to complete their mission, Martinez is always there.
“I’m kind of like the regiment’s packrat. I get supplies I know people will need, so when they call, I have them on hand and can get it out to them A.S.A.P.,” Martinez said.
Besides supporting each battalion, he helps support the smaller units in remote areas. Martinez, also known as the S-4 shop’s go-to guy, is called upon all the time to provide support to small camps in remote parts of Iraq like Ammunition Supply Point Wolf.
“Martinez took a special interest in Camp Wolf,” commented Chief Warrant Officer Daniel R. Young, Moundsview, Minn., native and embarkation officer for the regiment. “He single-handedly gets the supplies needed out to them on a weekly basis.”
Supplying people with the gear they need and loading convoys and helicopters with supplies is something that Martinez hopes to do for a career, whether in the Marine Corps or as a civilian. When his contract expires in September 2007, Martinez said he would like to take his Marine Corps skills with him as he goes to work in California as a load planner for an airport.
“Loading planes correctly is a very important job,” Martinez said. “If they aren’t loaded properly, lots of people could die because of gear shifting while in flight.”
But until then, Martinez will spend his last few months in Iraq making sure RCT-2 units are sufficiently supplied so the Marines can continue bringing the fight to the terrorists in the region.
“I’m out here continuing to serve my country and protecting my family,” Martinez commented. “I’m here doing this for them.”