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Marine 'excited' about tour

November 30, 1999|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN

The Marines in Lance Cpl. Joey Lamp's unit will be counting on him later this month when they begin a seven-month tour of duty in Iraq.

Lamp, 19, of Hagerstown said he will man a .50-caliber machine gun atop an armored personnel carrier and provide covering fire as the rest of his squad exits the vehicle.

"I'm excited," Lamp said of his first deployment to a combat zone. "That's why I volunteered."

Lamp said he serves in a six-man unit aboard a Cougar, a heavily armored vehicle that was designed to absorb massive punishment.

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The squad will act as a quick reactionary force in Fallujah, he said. When other Marines make contact with insurgents, Lamp's squad will rush to the fighting and provide support.

Lamp said he gets worried sometimes thinking about possible encounters with improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs that have inflicted heavy casualties on American forces since the fighting started in 2003.

"That's the biggest thing," he said. "We'll be in a hurry (when we're called on a mission). We won't have time to look for them."

Lamp, a graduate of North Hagerstown High School, said he joined the Marines about a year ago to follow in the footsteps of his two uncles and recently signed on to serve in Iraq when his superiors asked for volunteers.

"They asked us what we wanted to do (in Iraq)," he said. "I wanted to be a machine gunner."

As a result, Lamp said the Marines trained him on several types of automatic weapons.

Besides the .50-caliber machine gun, he said he is proficient with the smaller M-240 and M-249.

To prepare for Iraq, Lamp said he and his squad continually practiced reacting to ambushes and other combat scenarios. "We did that over and over and over," he said.

Lamp said he might consider making a career out of the military ? depending on the outcome of his experience in Iraq.

In May, he said he plans to marry his fiancee, Andrea Livingston of Frostburg, Md.

The couple said they plan to spend as much time together until his 10-day leave ends this Friday.

"I don't think it's hit me yet," Livingston said. "I'll be crying all the time. I'm just used to having him there to comfort me and talk to me. It's going to be a big change."

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