Whether it is ?peace time? or a time of conflict, those in the military take a solemn oath, to defend our country against enemies both foreign and domestic. As always, I am deeply thankful to all who have done so.
The following is a glimpse into a deployment of a Marine.
Ron Cochran enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school. He served 4 years active duty and 4 years inactive. He was an Artillery Mechanic stationed at Camp Pendleton in California and other places around the globe.
One of Cochran?s deployments was in 1990. Operation Team Spirit, a joint effort of American Military. This was a three month deployment to South Korea to ?team? up with the ROK (Republic of Korea) Marines; to be a ?show of force? to the North Koreans.
Cochran, along with approximately 160 other Marines, were attached to the Navy for this deployment. He served on a LKA 116, which is an Attack/Amphibious Cargo Ship
The Marines had an early morning landing on Red Beach Pohang, South Korea. It was winter time in that part of the world with temperatures in low 50?s which ?seemed pretty cold to us coming from Okinawa Japan with the wind-chill and water spray.?
Cochran explained how the Marines would off load, so that civilians would understand it; ?Ships were anchored approximately 3 miles off shore. We put Mike Boats (LCM-Landing Craft Mechanized) in the water and offloaded the vehicles onto them. Everything we need; Hummers, Water Buffalos, 5-tons, etc.?
Once the vehicles are offloaded, the Marines descend down the cargo net into the Mike Boats with the vehicles.
?Both the ship and the Mike Boats are rocking back and forth on the waves. With the wind and rocking of the ship, the cargo nets would ?pull tight and loosen, almost as if you are on a rubber band. It can get a bit hairy at times. The nets are huge, they used to actually use those nets to offload vehicles, so you can imagine how strong they are. With 2 Mike Boats making 2 trips each to the landing zone, each trip carried approximately 60 marines.?
?We head towards shore until the front of the Mike Boat hits ground, the ramp is dropped and you drive the vehicles out and onto the beach. At times, the water is up to your neck as you are driving the vehicles onto the beach. Once on shore we set up main camp, soaking wet and pretty cold. It?s not real comfortable, just part of the job. We don?t complain.?
Once the Marines were there for a while; ?As the day warmed up, we soon realized there was a fish factory there. It stunk bad. The stench was about 400 yards ahead of our bivouac, and smelled the entire time we were there.?
Part of this operation was for the Marines and the ROK Marines to Patrol the river bottoms, which were dry due to North Korea having had dammed off the rivers going into South Korea.
Cochran explained ?ROK Marines had manned bunkers and their own patrols. They did their thing and we did ours, but at the same time, we (American Armed Forces) were letting the North Koreans know we were there working together.
We got along well with the ROK Marines. They were glad we were there, and were real receptive to us. We took some of the burden off of them for a while.
I have often heard people say ?The Marines, they are a different breed?, I asked Cochran what he thought of that statement. He replied ?Setting out to become a Marine and accomplishing it gives you a lot of pride. We are typically the first ones in. You get a rush knowing you?re the first line of defense, knowing our guys behind us won?t have to worry about what?s in front of us, because we?re going to take care of it?.
Cochran continued, ?Being a Marine, it is a brother/sisterhood. You can run into a Marine, whether or not you served with them or knew them personally, you knew what they had to go through to wear the uniform. That forms an unspoken bond of ?brother?, it?s that simple. I wouldn?t change my life experience as a Marine for anything in the world.?
May God bless America and those who defend her.
Kim Lengling is an author and Co-Chair of Project Support Our Troops and Co-Founder of Embracing Our Veterans, a PA registered non-profit helping veterans and their families in need. She can be reached at [email protected]