Park Rapids grad home on leave after 'near misses' in Iraq
Cpl. David Kadereit scrolls through scores of photos from Iraq - Fallujah, fuel stops, flags over the desert and even Abu Ghraib. The images give a glimpse into what he saw as a Marine in Iraq. A 2002 graduate of Park Rapids, David said he was li...
Cpl. David Kadereit scrolls through scores of photos from Iraq - Fallujah, fuel stops, flags over the desert and even Abu Ghraib.
The images give a glimpse into what he saw as a Marine in Iraq.
A 2002 graduate of Park Rapids, David said he was living in Cambridge when he joined the Marines in March 2003. "I wanted to experience something new," he says modestly.
David graduated from boot camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego and then went to school for three months, specializing in motor transport, from Humvees to 7-ton logistics vehicle systems.
From southern California, he went to Okinawa for two years. For nine months while he was on the island, David was a range coach, teaching shooting skills.
In November 2005, he came back to California and when he checked in, learned he was going to Iraq. "We started training and left in February," David said.
Based at a camp near Fallujah, the 23-year-old served as an assistant convoy commander, re-supplying forward operating bases and Iraqi soldiers.
"Our mission now is to train the Iraqi army to do their job," David said. He said they are good fighters, but are still learning logistics.
While the Iraqi army is "pretty reliable," "really brave" and "know what they're fighting for," David said the Iraqi police are another matter.
The police have insurgents working for them, a fact David witnessed. He was with a convoy pulling into a city and saw police drop something beside the road. As they approached, the object blew up.
"You can't trust them," he said. "Insurgents are everywhere. It's hard to determine who's who because they're not wearing a uniform," he added.
David had a couple of close calls, but no injuries.
He and another Marine were standing outside checking trucks when David started hearing the impact of bullets on a low berm that skirts the camp. "The other guy ran," David said. He headed to a truck and bullets landed where they had been standing. "They weren't very good shots," he said.
He has a photo of a bullet hole in a truck window taken from the inside. He was in the 7-ton vehicle when it got shot in the front window.
When they were on convoys, David said they were heavily covered in Kevlar: pants, arms, gloves, helmets and goggles. "It was really hot."
The Marines' quarters were air conditioned, but the heat was "very unbearable," he said. Because they wore boots, they got heat rash on their feet. David said his feet healed quickly on the plane trip home.
Besides Camp Baharia near Fallujah, David visited Ramadi and Camp Taqqadum, but stayed in Al Anbar Province and was never sent into Baghdad about 40 miles to the east.
"I like what I did," he said. "I think it is for a reason and we helped them out. Iraq will be better in the long-run."
After seven months in Iraq, he came home on leave in September to proud parents Brian and Kathy Kadereit. He also has an older brother and sister and a younger sister.
David will be going back to Camp Pendleton in California and now looks forward to finishing his enlistment.
He is getting married in April and going to school to major in criminal justice. "It has always been a goal of mine to become a cop," he said.