News: Conrad, Iowa native serves country on first combat deployment
Story by Cpl. Mark Garcia
MUSA QAL’AH DISTRICT CENTER, Afghanistan – With the blood of Marines flowing though his body, Lance Cpl. Shane Kruse decided as a senior in high school that he wanted to join the Marine Corps.
Growing up in the small town of Conrad, Iowa, Kruse had a graduating class of 48 students. He had the opportunity to receive a college education while on scholarship for either football or baseball, but the urge to become a Marine was greater. Kruse was on his way to recruit training four months after graduating from high school.
“Both my parents were in the Marine Corps,” said Kruse, a driver and machine gunner with the Combined Anti Armor Team 2, Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 7.
“My cousin was a Marine and was involved in the early stages of Iraq. I figured it was in my blood. I felt like I needed to become a Marine. I’ve always been driven to be the best, and the Marine Corps offered me the opportunity.”
Kruse is currently serving on his second deployment, his first was with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
“I joined the Marine Corps because of 9/11, and I wanted to serve my country,” Kruse said. “I wanted to be the best, and I saw the Marine Corps as the best branch of the military that I could have joined.”
Kruse noted the risks involved with his current deployment compared to his previous one.
“This deployment is a lot more serious,” Kruse said. “It’s more dangerous this deployment. You just have to take things more seriously because you’re in life and death situations out here. This deployment is a big eye opener. It’s something you’ve been training for and preparing for the past two and half years, and it’s finally happening. When you first get blown up or you first get shot at it gives a different perspective.”
Kruse has enjoyed his current deployment because of his units’ ability to accomplish their mission in a combat environment.
“This deployment has been nice compared to the MEU,” Kruse said. “It’s nice to know that you’re contributing to the war effort and to your country directly. I feel like we’ve been doing good things this deployment.”
During this deployment, Kruse has had to cope with the difficulties associated with leaving a spouse at home.
“It’s a growing experience,” Kruse said. “It’s part of growing up. It’s hard coming straight out of high school and going into the adult world, especially in the military. But you learn to deal with it and take it day by day until you can see your loved ones again.”
Recently Kruse participated in Operation Helmand Viper, which took place during October in Zamindawar, a known insurgent hotbed between Musa Qal’ah and Kajaki. Kruse is referred to as the Tony Hawk of the drivers in CAAT 2 because of his ability to maneuver through dangerous terrain sometimes laden with improvised explosive devices.
“Lance Cpl. Kruse in my eyes is one of the best machine gunners and drivers we have,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Dalbec, a machine gunner with CAAT 2, Fox Co., 2nd Bn., 7th Marines. “He’s a great asset to this team and our company. Not only that, but he’s a great friend of mine. He’s been my best friend for almost three years.”
Although Kruse is undecided on whether he will re-enlist, he plans on striving forward during his time in the Marine Corps and answering his nation’s call whenever needed.