CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq 2006) —
It was the mission from hell for Hades.
This week Hades Mobile, the security detachment for Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 5, moved heaven and earth to safely escorted a series of Army convoys bearing 201 concrete “ Texas ” barriers from Ramadi to Fallujah. “Texas barriers are the sturdiest stuff you will find out here,” said Sgt. Austin Moore, the assistant convoy commander and a 22-year-old saxophonist in the 1st Marine Division Band from Claxton Texas . “We know we’re going to protect people.”
“The barriers are needed for force protection in our area of operations. These will protect other Marines,” agreed Staff Sgt. Michael Maschmeier, the convoy commander and a 36-year-old euphonium musician in the 1st Marine Division Band from Eureka , Mo.
The barriers, more than 10-feet tall, cut imposing silhouettes. They were transported in Army logistics carriers. Marines manned Hades’ gun trucks stalking thoroughfares for insurgents and their weapon-of choice, improvised explosive devices.
“We’re here to provide security for you,” Maschmeier said to the soldiers repeatedly in his convoy briefs before each run.
The mission, however, soon proved to be a road paved through hell. Unexpected events crept into the plan and Hades Marines hurdled barriers nearly as tall as the ones they carried. Loading the massive concrete barriers took more finagling than anticipated and forced Marines to adapt their plans.
But Marines maintained their optimism, gritted their teeth and were prepared to step off whenever the barriers were properly loaded.
“I’ve got nowhere to go,” said Cpl. Daniel Rains, a 25-year-old armorer from Thorndale, Texas .
Marines took it all in stride. Delays, adjustments and improvising to complete the mission wasn’t something new for the Hades team, comprised of mostly Marine bandsmen. They do the same thing when they’re gearing up for a performance back at
“When we prepare for band commitments, we prepare for contingencies, so we are not surprised when they happen,” Maschmeier said. “Problems are going to happen.”