By Sgt. Cody Harding,May 7, 2010
COB ADDER, Iraq - Acting on a gut feeling, an alert Soldier prevented an illegal weapon from being smuggled onto Contingency Operating Base Adder.
Pfc. Rodgers LaRue, a Soldier with the 412th Aviation Support Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, was on duty the evening of April 20, 2010, at an entry control point on COB Adder when a vehicle entered the search area. As the vehicle approached, LaRue noticed something strange.
"About 20:30 one night, I saw a couple of guys come in alone," said LaRue, an Orlando, Fla., resident. "They came alone; just two guys in a pickup truck."
Though the vehicle, owned by a contracting company, was not required to be searched, LaRue made the decision to have the vehicle searched for safety purposes. One of the civilians in the truck questioned the decision, but the vehicle was still searched by civilian security personnel at LaRue's request.
The instinct led to the discovery of an AK-47 rifle and loaded magazines. The two civilians were kept inside the search building at the ECP as personnel from Explosive Ordinance Disposal searched the vehicle, finding a cell phone and radio as well. The two civilians, after questioning, were given 72 hours to clear from post and barred from entry.
"There's no telling what his intent was," LaRue said. "It's good to know that when we're at the ECP we're there to protect our COB. So, stopping him from bringing that weapon in was good; it makes me feel like we're doing our job, we're protecting everybody on post.
Sgt. Shawn Zandy, LaRue's squad leader from Bradford, Penn., and the current shift noncommissioned officer in charge for the ECP, said that LaRue made him proud.
"I wish more people would act on that gut feeling and say 'You know what, this seems suspicious'," Zandy said.
For LaRue, it was all a part of the training he received during basic combat training and from his unit that gave him the awareness to catch the criminals.
"One thing I learned is that paying attention to detail really pays off," he said. "That was one thing I learned back in basic training and I see that it pays off today. So, everything that you learn from your NCOs really pays off... you got to pay attention."