CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq -- Conducting daily perimeter patrol missions, the Soldiers of Crusader Troop, 1st Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment headquartered in Milan, Tenn., can be seen leaving a trail of dust across the desert surrounding Q-West, Iraq, on a regular basis.

"Our mission is to conduct external perimeter patrol missions in order to ensure the protection of service members and workers on Q-West," said Sgt. Charles A. Rickman, Jr., the perimeter patrol leader from Shiloh, Tenn.

Using various routes and methods, C Troop has safely and vigilantly patrolled the areas surrounding Q-West, Iraq, since March of this year.

"The hardest part of this mission is the heat and rugged terrain. As a driver, my biggest concern is avoiding waddies. Proper vehicle maintenance is also critical. We keep our maintenance section busy," said Spc. Kenneth S. Ozier of Bolivar, Tenn.

While on perimeter patrol, it is vital that the driver, gunner, and truck commander keep their eyes peeled for suspicious activity, threats, or IEDs.

"The villages in proximity to us are pretty quiet. We have occasional interaction with the locals and communicate through our interpreter. The locals respond well to us and are compliant with our requests. Mostly we run into sheep herders. I enjoy that part of the job," said Rickman.

Perimeter patrols only encompass a small part of C Troop's overall mission. As a force protection company, Crusader Troop is tasked with convoy security missions, a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) mission, manning an ECP (Entry Control Point), and conducting perimeter patrols. Thanks to the protection provided by C troop and all other vigilant Soldiers at the location, Q-West remains without serious incident.