February 5th, 2006 05:47 EST
Miami, Fl., native protects base in western Iraq
RAMADI, Iraq(Feb. 1, 2006) -- Shortly after completing his basic training and Marine infantry training, Pvt. Ariel Inclan was told he would be deployed to Iraq.
Since his arrival here to Al Anbar’s provincial capital in August 2005, Iraq has proven to be everything he expected it to be. From combat to the concrete block and stucco homes lining dirt roads, most of his preconceived notions about Iraq have proven true.
“I had a certain feeling about what Iraq would be like,” Inclan said. “And if I had to describe it, this would be it.”
For the last four months, the 22-year-old Miami, Fla., native and his fellow Marines from Camp Security Force have provided a barrier between the command element of the 2nd Marine Division and the insurgents they are working to defeat. The hours are nearly endless and payoffs are hard to define, but Inclan is proud of the work he is doing.
“I feel like we’ve definitely played a part in history, which makes you feel good,” Inclan said. “Most of the people in this country are not bad people, they just want to be free and not be ruled by fear anymore. I feel like I’ve contributed to helping them do that.”
Inclan has spent eight hours of each day for the past four months watching the people below his guard tower and been on numerous patrols interacting with the people throughout the area. The time he has spent here has allowed him and his fellow Marines to become very familiar with the local population.
“I think we’re making a difference in the people’s lives here. You could really see it during the elections,” Inclan said. “We’ve captured a bunch of (improvised explosive device) makers and really cleaned up the area. The people here are mostly friendly and some have even helped us get some of the bad guys.”
Even though Inclan feels like the majority of the people are supportive of the Marines being here, he remains constantly aware that there is a potential threat and takes precautions to ensure his own safety.
“Although it isn’t always obvious, there is always a potential for danger here,” Inclan said. “You have to constantly remind yourself that it is just as dangerous as the first day you got here. I always make sure I wear all my protective gear like goggles and a neck protector. When I don’t have it, I don’t feel one-hundred percent.”
According to Inclan, he willingly put himself in harms way so others won’t have to. He feels his service to his country, although not mandatory, is a civic duty, which he is proud to uphold.
“The way I figure it I’m making a sacrifice for my friends and family. If I wasn’t here someone else would have to be. We have other Americans making sacrifices and I don’t see why just because we get to choose to join the military doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, because it’s the right thing to do.”
Source: 2d MLG (Forward)