HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2009 â€“ Within a week of arriving here, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Gary Mishoe is preparing his motor pool for his unitâ€™s takeover of counterinsurgency operations in the province.
From preventive maintenance to headlight and tire checks on the unitâ€™s Humvees and 7-ton trucks, Mishoe works to ensure his fellow Marines will have safe and operable vehicles throughout their deployment. Mishoe, a 27-year-old Marine from Virginia Beach, Va., is deployed as a motor transport operator with Regimental Combat Team 7, which will conduct counterinsurgency operations in support of Afghan forces throughout the province.But his path from Virginia Beach to Afghanistan was not a simple high school-to-boot camp route.Within a year of graduating from high school in 2002, Mishoe secured a spot on the assembly line at a car assembly plant in Norfolk, Va. His job was simple: assemble drive shafts. The task earned him about $75,000 a year. Life was good. â€œI felt very secure. I had a good job, an apartment, bought a new car and had a family,â€ Mishoe said. â€œI thought I was going to retire there.â€ But four years later, the assembly plant couldnâ€™t survive a weakened economy and its effect on the auto industry. He received three months notice that the plant was shutting down. â€œI got a $100,000 severance package. But I still needed a job,â€ said Mishoe, who had a wife, toddler and baby on the way. The Virginianâ€™s life revolved around the auto industry as far back as he can remember. His mother had worked at the same assembly line 10 years earlier. â€œWhen I was in high school, I would wash some of my momâ€™s co-workerâ€™s cars. I was a kid, washing these peopleâ€™s cars, and then I found myself working right next to them on the assembly line,â€ he said. Following the layoff, Mishoe traveled up and down the East Coast, securing modeling gigs at New York fashion shows, and eventually following his wife to Atlanta. It was there that he decided to accept a commitment heâ€™s always had on his mind: to enlist as a U.S. Marine. He knew the challenge ahead. â€œI knew it was going to be hard,â€ he said. â€œI knew I had to work for it. But I was willing to do it.â€ Mishoe knew he was enlisting in a wartime Marine Corps, and was fully aware of the chance that he may deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan. â€œI wanted to come out here and do what Marines do,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve been training since boot camp to do this, and here I am.â€ Mishoe enlisted Aug. 11, 2007, and after graduating from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., he completed follow-on training at Camp Geiger, N.C., and Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he learned how to become a motor transport operator. â€œWorking for Ford was tougher, not because of the job itself, but because of the lack of a team attitude. I was doing the job by myself,â€ he said. â€œThereâ€™s a lot more pride in the Marine Corps. If youâ€™re struggling, thereâ€™s always someone to help. Thereâ€™s always that team spirit.â€ Mishoe looks forward to heading out of the forward operating base and into the country roads, driving convoys and leading Marines. â€œI want to learn about the Afghan culture, what theyâ€™ve been through,â€ he said. â€œI believe that we are helping them in a turning point in their civilization. Itâ€™s good that we are here.â€ He also hopes to do some soul-searching. â€œThe Marine Corps has helped me become a better father, husband and person,â€ he said. â€œNow, I want to learn about myself, about my limits,â€ he said. After completing his yearlong deployment, Mishoe said, he hopes to secure a spot at the Marine Inspector/Instructor staff at Chesapeake, Va., about 15 miles from the Ford plant where he used to work. The days of the lucrative assembly line are a distant memory, and the plantâ€™s closing may have been a blessing in disguise. â€œIâ€™m thinking about the here and now, and the future,â€ Mishoe said. â€œMy prayers were answered. I got what I wanted. Iâ€™m a Marine.â€ (Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Luis R. Agostini serves with Regimental Combat Team 7.) October 27, 2009: By Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Luis R. Agostini-Â Special to American Forces Press Service Redistributed by www.SupportOurTroops.org
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[caption id="attachment_3451" align="alignleft" width="290"] Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously when President Barack Obama presents the award to his parents at the White House in an Oct. 6, 2010, ceremony at the White House. Miller saved members of his team and 15 Afghan soldiers during a Jan. 25, 2008, battle in Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo[/caption] WASHINGTON In an Oct. 6 ceremony at the White House, President Barack Obama will present the Medal of Honor to the parents of a soldier who died while saving members of his team and 15 Afghan soldiers.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, who was 24 years old when he died, will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for heroic actions in Barikowt, Afghanistan, on Jan. 25, 2008."He displayed immeasurable courage and uncommon valor --eventually sacrificing his own life to save the lives of his teammates and 15 Afghanistan National Army soldiers," White House officials said in a written statement issued today announcing the honor. Miller's parents, Phil and Maureen Miller, will join the president at the ceremony, the statement said. Miller was born on Oct. 14, 1983, in Harrisburg, Pa., and graduated from Wheaton North High School in Wheaton, Ill. Shortly after his family moved to Oviedo, Fla., he enlisted in the Army in August 2003 as a Special Forces candidate. He attended basic training and advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga., and received his Green Beret in 2005. He served as a weapons sergeant in Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, based at Fort Bragg, N.C. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with "V" device, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO Medal, the Special Forces tab, the Ranger tab and the parachute badge. In addition to his parents, he is survived by brothers Thomas, Martin and Edward and sisters Joanna, Mary, Therese and Patricia. Sept. 9, 2010: American Forces Press Service
[caption id="attachment_3445" align="alignleft" width="290"] Marine Corps Lance Corporal Brent A. Smith goes through ammunition clips to ensure they all have the same and correct number of rounds, Aug. 9, 2010. Smith is the first Marine to be named Marine Corps Ammunition Technician of the Year. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kentavist P. Brackin[/caption] CAMP SCHWAB, Japan â€“ An ammunition technician with Ammunition Company, 3rd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, is the first Marine selected to receive the Marine Corps Ammunition Technician of the Year Award.
"I was kind of shocked really when I heard I was receiving this award,â€ Lance Cpl. Brent A. Smith said. â€œI kind of felt like I was up there with â€˜Chestyâ€™ Puller." The late Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell â€œChestyâ€ Puller was a combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War, and the most-decorated U.S. Marine in history.The Ammunition Technician of the Year Award is designed to recognize Marine Corps ammunition technicians, private through sergeant, who have set themselves apart from the rest of their peers through hard work, dedication and sound decision making, officials said."It is a great honor to have an ammo tech from 3rd Supply Battalion represent the company here on Okinawa," said Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christopher Deering, officer in charge of Ammunition Company, who recommended Smith for the award. Smith works with several other ammunition technician Marines to issue ammo to units across Okinawa, giving out anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 rounds of various types of ammunition in a day. "Ammunition technicians seem to be overlooked sometimes," Smith said. "No one notices when their ammunition is delivered on time, but they sure notice when they are on the gun line and there is nothing to put downrange. You can go a few days without food, maybe a couple of days without water, but you wouldn't last a minute without ammunition." Deering said the new award is good for the ammunition community in the Marine Corps. "I am excited to see how this award will transform our community in the future," he said. "It is a great program, and I think that through recognition, Marines may become more competitive. We all like bragging rights." Smith said heâ€™s proud to be the first Marine to receive the award. â€œI know that I have set the bar for myself and for other Marines who push for this award in the future," he said. Sept. 9, 2010: By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kentavist P. Brackin- Marine Corps Bases Japan ***SOT***
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