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2nd Military Police Battalion rolls out heavy

Marine Corps News

Story Identification #: 20055391054
Story by Sgt. Stephen D'Alessio

CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, AR RAMADI, Iraq (May 3, 2005) -- Usually there's only one way in or out of the dozens of military camps across Iraq - by way of convoy. And the Marines of 2nd Military Police Battalion know how to do it right.

The battalion is formed of reservists attached to 2nd Tank Battalion, who come from Kansas City, Mo. Their experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom has been invaluable in their effort to maintain top security for convoys in and out of U.S. camps.

But most of all, the camaraderie within this group is a bond that keeps them strong during the long hauls they embark on during the Iraq desert nights.

On a cool Iraqi morning, Lance Cpl. Damion Freeman, a 23-year-old Kansas City, Mo. native and military policeman with the battalion woke up with his buddies and went outside to inspect his High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) for the five-hour convoy ahead. He strapped fuel to the back carriage of the HMMWVJ and checked the fluids under the hood.

As he closed the hood, an ignition could be heard turning an engine and the signature rattle of the pistons echoed through their bivouac area.

"Every time it's a little different and it's always exciting to get on another convoy," said the 1999 Shawnee Mission Northwest High School graduate.

A short time later, the men loaded their weapons and rolled out of the gate. The roads of Iraq are dangerous and laden with hidden improvised explosive devices (IED). Already, only an hour into the convoy, the Marines stopped to inspect a possible IED.

"We have procedures for whatever happens," said Freeman. "All of the guys are close and we're from the same general area in the States, so we know how each other operates and that means we're on the same page when it comes down to it."

The convoy commander gave a thumb's up signal to the rest of the men and the convoy continued on. They passed seemingly endless desert plains with the occasional sight of shepherds tending to their flocks.

Bombed out trucks and cars rusted away along the sides of the road and dusk began to settle in on the horizon. They were an ominous sight for the Marines, who knew how the vehicles met with disaster. The convoy made it far enough to refuel their vehicles and prepare for the rest of the journey through the night.

For nearly five more hours the trucks made their way to their far off destination in Western Iraq. A few times the Marines made emergency stops to search for possible IEDs and insurgent activity. But lucky for them, they were all false alarms.

In the small hours of the morning, the convoy moved up to the gate at their destination. The sight of a Marine sentry there was welcoming, considering the dangers they faced just to get there nearly ten hours later.

Their mission to pick up personnel and bring them back to Blue Diamond was only halfway accomplished. But through any situation, the Marines of the security convoy stick together. After all, their bond is deeply rooted in the Corps and in their hometowns.

"It's great to know you're out here making a difference in the world and helping the people of Iraq," said Freeman. "The best part of coming out here for me, though, is knowing all of the friends I've made here will be my friends when I go home."

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