<!--:es-->Marines battle the elements while facing insurgents and improvised explosive devices<!--:-->

Marines battle the elements while facing insurgents and improvised explosive devices

ZELLA, Iraq – When the Marines of the small outpost near this Euphrates River village of Iraq’s western Al Anbar Province aren’t responding to the latest shower of mortar fire, they’re doing one of two things – working out or sleeping.

When he’s not conducting mounted security patrols aboard his Humvee and interacting with local Iraqis, Lance Cpl. William D. Hyden, says the best retreat from the 100 degree-plus heat is in his “hooch,” – Marine-speak for “living space” – where his platoon has recently acquired a much needed commodity – air conditioning.

But the heat is not the biggest threat for Hyden, a rifleman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment – it’s the improvised explosive devices lining Iraq’s roadways he’s worried about.

The 21-year-old from Little Rock, Ark., has much reason to feel threatened by the deadly roadside bombs; he’s already survived two IED blasts in the past several weeks.

Hyden is assigned to a Mobile Assault Platoon, which is a team of Marines who patrol Iraq’s roads and cities while mounted in humvees. They cover large areas where the ground forces on foot can’t get to.

By Cpl. Antonio Rosas

Combat Correspondent

1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment

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