PATROL BASE ATOLL, Afghanistan — Sergeant Darin Dains Jr., a combat engineer with Bravo Company, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion (Forward), relaxes on his cot, watching movies while joking with friends. Even when relaxed Dains took the time to ask Marines how they were doing, making sure everything was okay.
He asked one of his junior Marines if he had dinner, another if he was missing any gear, all the while smiling, as he looked after the junior members in his team.
Dains knows a thing or two about responsibility. Each time he steps out on patrol, as a point man and sweeper, he feels the weight of bringing the Marines back, he said.
“It’s the lead sweeper’s job to get [Marines] from point A to point B safely,” said Dains, also an assistant squad leader with 1st Platoon, Kilo Company.
Since he deployed to Afghanistan in September, Dains helped locate more than 65 improvised explosive devices, a monumental achievement.
“Sergeant Dains’ significant success is a result of his courage, professionalism, and comprehensive understanding of terrain, the enemy’s tactics, and the necessity of maintaining mobility,” said Lt. Col. John P. Sullivan Jr., commanding officer, 3rd CEB (Fwd).
Despite accolades, Dains, a native of Tucson Ariz., said he doesn’t measure his success on the amount of IEDs he’s discovered.
“If I go out on patrol, and I bring everybody back successfully, with no IED strikes, that’s a successful day,” added Dains.
He is under the command of 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion in direct support of 3rd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment, and said he attributes his success to his work ethic and love for his job.
According to Sullivan, Dains has excelled during planned patrols. Sullivan credits Dains’ ability to meticulously analyze terrain on his routes, intentionally choosing the paths of greatest resistance to avoid the areas the enemy is likely to emplace IEDs; and his keen ability to identify any subtleties that would indicate the presence of an IED.
“Because I love to do my job, I take pride in it, I want to be perfect,” said Dains, who comes from a military family, with two brothers in the Marines as well.
The rest of the Marines with 1st Platoon said they appreciate having him with them.
“If we didn’t have (Dains), we may have had numerous more casualties,” said Cpl. Brennan O’Boyle, a squad leader with 1st Platoon and a friend of Dains. “I know this whole platoon is very thankful for the pride he’s taken in his work. Everyone here has a family, and I know I speak for everyone when I say ‘thank you’ for the work that (Dains) has done.”
Dains’ responsibilities don’t end once the Marines return to base; he mentors his Marines, challenging them to take as much pride in their work as he does.
Lance Cpl. Andrew Ortiz, also a combat engineer with 3rd CEB (Fwd), is one such Marine.
Dains described his relationship with Ortiz as big brother, little brother. During the deployment, Ortiz came to him for additional training and advice.
Ortiz took to the younger brother role, learning as much as he could from Dains and encountering similar success.
“He’s had zero IED strikes in patrols that he’s been the lead sweeper,” Dains said of Ortiz.
Ortiz credited Dains for his success.
“Dains helped me be successful with the preparation before we came out here, the training he gave me back at Twentynine Palms and being here to oversee what I’ve done,” said Ortiz, a native of Pueblo Colo. “He’s been here for me through the long times of this deployment.”
Dains is not just a Marine; he’s a husband, a father, a brother, a teacher, a mentor and more. The first thing Dains said he looks forward to when he returns home is holding his family. He’ll do so knowing that he’s one of the reasons why other Marines can hold their families.
“I do feel like I owe part of my life to him, for keeping me safe, as well as everyone else,” added Ortiz. “I want everyone back home to know that Cpl. Dains, knows his job and he’s protected everyone on this patrol base on numerous patrols.”
Editor’s Note: The 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion is currently assigned to Task Force Leatherneck. First Marine Division (Forward) heads Task Force Leatherneck, the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest), and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces, and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
This work, Arizona Marine takes responsibility to heart, saves lives, by Sgt Timothy Lenzo, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.