U.S. Marines – United States Marine Corps

Times have boot Marines heading to combat

The ongoing war on terror has created a situation within the Marine Corps similar to one that occurred during Vietnam – Marines going almost straight from basic training and military occupational school to war, with little time in between to receive additional training or to spend time with family.

Private First Class Chad A. Brown, 18, of Nederland, Texas, and more than 30 other fellow leathernecks of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division are prime examples. They checked into the battalion here Jan. 10 as riflemen and learned their new unit is deploying to Ar Ramadi, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom the end of February.


Private First Class Chad A. Brown, 18, of Nederland, Texas, just joined 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, after graduating from the School of Infantry just down the road from here. The young Marine, not yet old enough to legally drink, learned he?ll soon deploy to Ar Ramadi, Iraq and fight the very same day he checked in

After attending Marine Corps Recruit Training and receiving more advanced training at the School of Infantry, Brown will soon find himself in combat and have to rely on the war fighting skills he so recently learned.

“It’s nerve raking because I don’t know what to expect,” said the young freckled faced fair skinned Marine who enlisted a day after turning 17. He needed his parents to sign legal consent papers.

Brown said he is in good spirits despite the deployment and the risks it brings. He’s motivated and welcomes the fact that he’ll soon be doing what he’s spent the last six months training for – fighting.

“I joined the Marines for the title, and to support my family,” said the newlywed and father of a five-month-old daughter. “I’ll get to spend at least six months with my family when I get back, before I have to deploy again.”

According to Staff Sgt. Javier L Vega Jr., 29, of Oceanside, Calif., and platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon, Weapon’s Company, Marines like Brown are ready.

“It’s a bonus being fresh out of SOI because they have quick obedience to orders,” Vega said. “Since day one (of their infantry career), they have been preparing for war. They have the ability.”

Vega said their time in a combat theater should sharpen their skill by forcing them to make decisions on their own.

He also offers encouragement to the new Marines by reminding them of the battalion’s history in Iraq. The upcoming deployment will be the second and, for some Marines, the third time to go there. “This is a combat experienced unit.”

Vega also said the new Marines won’t be thrown into the mix right away, but be supplemented instead.

“We will give them simple missions at first,” he said. “As their skills grow, so will their responsibilities with us.”

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