By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Brian Goodwin, Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs
USS SAN ANTONIO, At Sea (1/21/2009) (NNS) -- A Sailor from amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) volunteered for individual augmentee service in Iraq.
Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Renrick Adams, San Antonio's Supply Division 2 leading chief petty officer, served as an IA with Navy Provision Detainee Battalion 3 in Iraq from May 2007 to January 2008.
Adams' emotional attachment to N.Y. and the 9/11 attacks drove him to volunteer for IA duty when the opportunity presented itself.
"I went IA because I'm a New Yorker, and I took it personal when the 9/11 incident happened," said Adams. "I guess after it happened, I just felt like I had to do something. So when a chance to go IA became available at my last command, I threw my name in the hat."
Adams was required to have preliminary training before leaving for Iraq.
"I had to get a lot of Navy Knowledge Online courses done prior to leaving for training in El Paso, Texas," stated Adams. "Once I got to El Paso, I qualified in 9 millimeter pistol, M16 rifle, combat life support, Humvee training and convoy training. I also had to be medically screened and had to make sure my shots and medical record were up to date."
After El Paso, Adams went to Kuwait.
"I went to Kuwait for more weapons training along with hiking 10 miles with our gear," explained Adams. "We practiced various formations with our weapons and setting up a combat area before hiking some more."
Adams arrived in Camp Bucca, Iraq after two weeks in Kuwait.
"I was chief of the guard, running the compound that monitored almost 2,200 detainees," said Adams. "I normally had the noon to midnight watch, and made sure that the detainees were safe and secure until their release."
Adams remembered the people he watched over while in Iraq.
"The people in Iraq aren't too different from Americans," said Adams. "I learned that most Iraqis want good homes, good families, and want peace, not war. One of the most significant things I remember from being in Iraq were the peaceful people."
Adams credits the experience he gained from his time in Iraq to his current leadership skills with junior Sailors.
"I try to paint a picture of what life is like for the young Sailors and Soldiers on the ground that might be under attack on a daily basis and use that for when I have Sailors on my mess decks who are troubled about minor things," explained Adams. "I want them all to know that if they think they have it bad, they should think about the guys we have on the ground."
Adams offered advice for Sailors wanting to go IA.
"You always have to be open-minded and be a team player," Adams said. "Everyone relies on each other and you have to know that any mishap could cost you your life. If you keep that in mind, you'll be very successful."
San Antonio is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting maritime security operations. MSO help develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons, or other material.
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