Scarves Fulfill Marines’ Warm Wishes

208

Jack Frost can nip all he wants.

Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Ponce readies himself for post with a knitted scarf above Patrol Base 600, Iraq
Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Ponce readies himself for post with a knitted scarf above Patrol Base 600, Iraq, Dec. 24. Ponce and other Marines of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment received the scarves by a supporter of the military so Marines can stay warm during the cold nights in Iraq. Ponce is a 19year-old squad automatic weapon gunner from Brooklyn, N.Y. All the Marines are currently serving a seven-month deployment in the Habbaniyah, Iraq area under Regimental Combat Team 5. (photo by Cpl. Ray Lewis)

He won’t be getting to any of the Marines of I Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment who stand post here.

The infantry Marines stay warm above the breezy combat outpost thanks to a knitted scarf donation from a supporter of the military.

“They were sent to me by my mom’s friend,” said Pfc. Andrew C. Carter, an assaultman assigned to I Company. “He told the church about us, and women knitted the scarves and sent them to us. I thought it was pretty cool that they made a bunch of scarves. They made like 30.”

Most importantly, the scarves help Carter and his fellow Marines stay concentrated on protecting Iraqis and battling insurgents instead of battling the elements, said Carter, a 19-year-old rifleman from Stow, Ohio.

“You need to stay vigilant, and when you get cold you sometimes focus on the cold instead of the mission,” said Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Ponce, a squad automatic weapon gunner from I Company. “The scarves keep us warm so we can focus on the mission.”

It’s not just talk. Marines know from experience how a simple scarf can be useful, said Ponce, a 19-year-old rifleman from Brooklyn, N.Y.

“When I was at ‘606,’ it came in handy,” said Lance Cpl. Loren S. Merluzzo, a team leader assigned to I Company. “We we’re doing three-on and three-off for nine days.”

The scarf saved Marines necks, said Merluzzo, a 21-year-old rifleman from Stillwater, N.Y.

“I wrapped the scarf around my neck and I was warmer,” Merluzzo said. “I’d like to say that I appreciate it; we all appreciate it. Despite what people know about Iraq, it gets cold.”

The scarves soon became a trend. A whole squad in I Company was wearing them.

“It was like the 2nd squad tradition,” said Pfc. Jason A. Gaioni, a motarman assigned to I Company. “All of a sudden everyone had scarves when it started getting cold.”

The scarves are just to keep the Marines warm, said Gaioni, a 19-year-old rifleman from Fredericksburg, Va.

Although the material coincidentally blends with Marines’ desert uniform, the scarves are in no way, a fashion statement, Gaioni said.

Gaioni wears his scarf while on post.

“I wouldn’t wear them anywhere else though,” said Gaioni jokingly, “I’m not a scarf guy.”

The Marines still want to thank the people who knitted and donated the scarves.

“They’ve keep me warm; they’re great for post,” Ponce said. “I would like to thank them for the scarves because they sent us scarves just so we can be warm on post.”

By Cpl. Ray Lewis

Military Friends of NewsBlaze originated these stories, sending them directly to us from Iraq, some from Afghanistan and some in the USA.