2011 Third Squad
Patrol Base Fires, Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines
Name and Rank: Lance Corporal David James Richvalsky
Hometown: Waialua, Hawaii
Why did you join the Marine Corps?
"I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to get off the island of Hawaii. I was slightly patriotic, and . . . I don’t know, that’s really the only reason I had. . . . I joined the Marine Corps out of all the other branches because I wanted to fight."
Tell me about all of the weight you carry as a machine gunner:
"I carry obviously an M 240-B Machingun, and it weighs 27.1 pounds. And I carry 500 rounds for it on my body, but in the squad we carry eight hundred. A hundred rounds weighs 7.7 pounds, so if you do the math it adds up. I also carry a night optic for it, a 17 Charlie. It’s not very heavy but it adds up too. I also carry PVS-14s which is like night vision, and I also carry about eight waters."
"I carry 35 pounds in rounds, 27 pounds in gun . . . I probably carry about maybe 60-65 pounds worth of gun gear only, not counting my flak and my water and all that shit."
What does it do to your body?
"It feels like I’m an old man, like I’m just gonna fall apart."
"It’s just what the Marine Corps does, they just break you down in boot camp. Like, they’ll never really build you up."
Describe your living conditions:
"I live in a fucking mud hut. It’s just about three feet thick walls of mud, the hajjis live in. And right now it’s actually pretty dirty just because I’ve been disgusting and not cleaned it, and I got fleas because of the fucking chickens that run around."
What is your role as a machine gunner during a firefight?
"Well, I always like doing my job when I’m shootin’, 'cause that makes carrying the 240 around not just seem like a giant piece of metal that’s pulling me into the earth slowly. But, like, getting shot at, it’s not fun. It’s fun when
- @ Elliott D. Woods 2011
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