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AL ASAD, Iraq ? Lance Cpl. Liz S. Rohrer, an intelligence specialist with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465, helps keep aircrews safe as they fly over Iraq. Rohrer, a Springfield, Mo., native, joined the Marine Corps in November 2003 after graduating from a private Christian school two years ago.

Photo by SGT. JUAN VARA

Springfield native helps keep aircrews safe in Iraq

28 May 2005 | Sgt. Juan Vara

An intelligence specialist with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 465, Lance Cpl. Liz S. Rohrer doesn’t let the "Groundhog Day effect" of serving here interfere with the quality of her work.  Skipping over even the smallest detail could cost several lives.

As an intel specialist in an assault support helicopter squadron, Rohrer keeps track of enemy movement and passes that information to pilots and crewchiefs.  The aircrews use it to plan their routes throughout the Al Anbar province and either fly around or push through certain regions, depending on the level of enemy activity.

After the mission she receives information from the pilots and crewchiefs and shares it with the rest of the intel specialists in the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) to track what the enemy is doing and help aircrews avoid flying over danger zones.

“Somebody told me once ‘the pilots are your pilots,’” she said.  “Every time I brief them my main goal is to make sure I give them all the information they need.  I want to brief them on everything they need to know so the flight is safe and I want to have them come back so I can debrief with them.”

A native of Springfield, Mo., Rohrer thought of joining the military or becoming a missionary after graduating from a private Christian school two years ago.  Her long-term plan during that time was to become an FBI agent.

Serving in the intelligence field of one of the armed forces looked like a good stepping-stone and after researching the Internet to learn about the military, Rohrer decided on becoming a Marine.  “I like to be the best at whatever I do,” she said.  “The Marines are the best.”

In November 2003 Rohrer reported to Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., and left after enduring 13 weeks of arduous physical and mental training.  Having completed Marine Combat Training and intelligence specialists’ school, Rohrer joined her current unit, based at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif., in August 2004.

The squadron deployed here seven months later to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom, bringing Rohrer among its ranks.  “It’s part of the job,” she said.  “Some of the cool things about being a Marine are that we get to travel a lot and learn about other people.  We also learn a lot about ourselves and how to deal with certain situations.”

To deal with the stress of working a 12-hour shift every day, Rohrer lifts weights and does cardiovascular exercises regularly.  As a child she played basketball, soccer, Futsal (indoor soccer), ran and studied martial arts.  “I love to work out,” she said.  “It releases natural endorphins and becomes addictive.”

Working on getting as much of her education completed while in the Corps, Rohrer is taking a sociology class here, which she juggles with work and the limited free time she has.  Her plans of working for the bureau have changed and now she wants to become a doctor and help those in need.

“I still want to complete the mission and being a doctor is one of the things I think would be good,” she said.  “I’d like to study sports medicine or something like that.”

Whether as a Marine in a combat zone or as a missionary, Rohrer’s focus stays the same, doing her best to help save the lives of those around her.
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