Ready to fight, rebuild: Son joins Corps after mother's experience with roadside bomb
By Pvt. Charlie Chavez
| | November 18, 2005
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, Calif. --
After a worried college student found his mother was in harm's way during a roadside bombing in Baghdad, Iraq, he contemplates the situation he chose to ignore and focuses his thoughts on joining the Marine Corps.Pvt. Phillip M. Oesterblad, Platoon 2130, Company E, grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and never had any thoughts of joining the military while in high school. After attending college in Alaska and Arizona, he realized that he did not know enough about America's role in the situation in Iraq."While I was in college, some of the other students would have political discussions about the conflict in Iraq and I realized I didn't know enough not to sound like an idiot," said Oesterblad. "So I read some literature about it."Oesterblad was attending Mesa Community College in Arizona when his mother Genny Lammers convinced her husband Terri Lammers to move with her to Iraq and work there for the experience. They agreed with one another and Terri moved to Iraq before Genny."My mother flew in after him into Jordan," said Oesterblad. "When she got there, she paid someone to smuggle her into Baghdad. While she was waiting to enter the green zone into Baghdad in a cab, a vehicle four cars ahead blew up from a roadside bomb. Marines in the area shot suppression fire into the general area to eliminate insurgents and avoid further bombs," said Oesterblad."My mothers guide was shot in the head and the cab driver instinctively pushed her head down, so she threw his hand off and removed the veil over her face (that was concealing her identity as an American) and ran toward the Marines holding her American passport in the air. Immediately, four Marines ran to her and took her to a safe haven," said Oesterblad.Oesterblad was surprised when he found his mother's decision to go to Iraq nearly turned out to be life threatening, so he contemplated his mother's near-death experience and the role the Marines played in saving her life. "Since (then), I started realizing more about what was happening in Iraq; I thought about joining the military while in college," said Oesterblad. "I personally believe that one of the most important objectives the military has in Iraq is to protect civilians and contractors who are helping to rebuild peoples lives and homes."Oesterblad felt prepared to discuss and attempt to understand other people's ideas and beliefs of the importance and role of America in Iraq after it hit close to home for him. "Talking about it and not understanding how real it can be was something that I had to experience first-hand," said Oesterblad. "Now I am prepared to do my part to save people's lives and fight for my country in the Marines."Working through recruit training plays a miniscule part in the 20-year-old infantryman's plans to become politically involved in the United States government and perhaps foreign diplomatic issues."Recruit training is a means to an end," said Oesterblad. "The Marines will be an extremely good-looking background to get involved in a political profession."Working through boot camp worked out well for Oesterblad, who managed to catch attention from his drill instructor."I think he is an outstanding recruit and the fact that he wants to help make a difference and help rebuild is great," said Sgt. Francisco W. Ortega, drill instructor, Platoon 2130, Co. E. "He is a good recruit as well. He is very intelligent and he did a very good job." Hoping to minimize the amount of civilian deaths in Iraq and work in foreign diplomacies is something that Oesterblad looks forward to accomplishing during his time in the Marine Corps and throughout life.