|TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif., Oct. 4, 2006 — Maintaining safe conditions is always a priority in the Marine Corps, especially when live rounds are fired downrange.
Whether on the pistol or rifle range, Marines must abide by the four weapons safety rules that have been ingrained in their memory since boot camp.
Although it is the responsibility of the individual Marine to maintain safe conditions, one Marine ensures they do so: the range safety officer.
With radio in hand and a gold eagle, globe and anchor attached to his cover to signify that he is the RSO, Sgt. Alexander Mobley paces the firing line. He assists Marines with proper technique for firing a pistol, but looking a little further would reveal more than just an RSO.
The RSO billet is usually held by staff noncommissioned officers, however, Mobley, in the eyes of his chain of command at the range, is the right Marine for the job.
Mobley, a native of DeRidder, La., joined the Marine Corps in May 2000 at 18 years of age. His father, a retired first sergeant in the United States Army, along with military family members swayed him to enter the military life.
"My original job was an 1812-tank crewman," said Mobley. He arrived in Twentynine Palms on Dec. 14, 2001, where he was assigned to 1st Tank Battalion. He deployed with them three times.
"The first time I deployed with 1st Tanks was on a float with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit," said Mobley. "The second time was for the initial push when everyone went to Kuwait. The last time I went to Iraq was in February of 2004 with 1st Tanks, Bravo Company, and in August of 2004 I got shot."
Mobley and his unit sustained sniper fire while at the Clover Leaf in Fallujah, where he suffered a shot that penetrated his arm and side and lodged into his stomach cavity.
"I personally had to get off the tank, get back to the grunts, get on a vehicle and be rushed back to Bravo Surgical," said Mobley. "I was able to get up and do it all by myself. I was bleeding a lot, and it was a little bit of a worry about
me passing out, but I got out on my own and I got there,