After returning from the short tour in Afghanistan, I returned to lead the 1st Squad of 1st Platoon, Fox Company, 2/4. During this particular period, we began conducting general training. We conducted a wide variety of training operations over the next several months. At this point, the Department of Defense, mostly with the command of the Marine Corps, began to work out an operational rotation of 1 year home, 7 months deployed. 2/4 would not be deploying for little over a year. So we had a long period of time to train and prepare for the next deployment.
We conducting a variety of training while on Camp Pendleton, CA during those following months. I focused heavily on getting my squad ready for the possibility of conducting operations in Afghanistan whenever it is we may deploy. We went out to 29 Palms to conduct training operations there. My squad and platoon performed outstanding during this period, and I was quite proud of their performance. Competition is always the “name of the game” in an infantry unit, and we were always comparing our performance to that of other platoons. We had a new Lieutenant who we had to “break in,” and he was proving to be a good leader.
After several months of training, I had begun to look toward the future in my down time. Many of my peers had begun their “B-Billets,’ which were 3 year periods of filling the role of Drill Instructor, Recruiter, or Combat Instructor, where you would be home for a guaranteed 3 years filling these vital roles. Every Sergeant had to have at least 1 “tour” in a B-Billet before they would even be considered for promotion. So after 6 years of deploying, I thought it was time that I pursued my B-Billet. I choose to become a Combat Instructor, as I loved what I did an an Infantryman, and I greatly enjoyed teaching it and training Marines in the infantry.
So after saying good by to my squad, I was off to Combat Instructor School, July of 2009. My time in the fleet was with out a doubt the greatest experience of my life. I will never forget those amazing guys that I served with. The bravery I witnessed with my own eyes in the field in far off lands is something that I will never be able to forget. I served with some of the most amazing men that, though they may have been my subordinates, I looked up to greatly, and still do. My peers were all good men. They led their squads well, and I have great respect and admiration for every one of them. I still talk with some of my juniors and have great pride in the leaders that they have become. I reflect back on this time often, hoping that I was a positive influence in all of their lives.
Without a doubt in my mind, there is no organization in the civilian world that can teach you more about Leadership and Management than being a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.