After ending my time at the Naval Academy Preparatory School and re-enlisting in the Marine Corps, I was attached to Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines out of Camp Pendleton, CA. After arriving there, I was one of the few NCO’s present, while the unit was still deployed in Iraq. During this time, I was placed in charge of the junior Marines, fresh out of Infantry Training. I was still a Corporal (E-4) at this time, waiting for my promotion to Sergeant. While in the Remain Behind Element (RBE), I was responsible for coming up with daily training for the junior Marines, while conducting working parties to help prepare the Barracks for the return of 2/4 from their combat deployment.
After their return, I was assigned to be an Infantry Rifle Squad Leader in 2nd Platoon. During this time, we began conducting general training exercises in preparation for our next deployment. We were going to be assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and Fox Company was assigned as the Boat Company. So this would be my second go around as a member of such a unit. I was able to use my experience to train and prepare my squad for these operations.
During this time, I was promoted to Sergeant (E-5) in August of 2007. I was fortunate enough to be sent to the Infantry Squad Leader’s Course (ISLC) at the Advanced Infantry Training Battalion right down the road in San Onofre. While at this course, I learned a great deal, and my skills as a Squad Leader were put to the test significantly. While in this course, I learned the following professional skills.
- Operations Planning and writing of orders (think Project Charters).
- Unit organization and Task assignment.
- Time management, Scheduling, and coordination.
- Supplies and Logistics Management for small unit operations.
- Maintaining accountability of military Weapons, Equipment, and Gear totaling over $1 million, or more when assigned vehicles, closer to over $10 million or more at any given time.
- Inventory management.
- Developing Mission statements and forming Objectives.
- Leading troops in the field, Mentoring them in garrison, and Management of Administration of the 12 Marines under my charge.
- Training development and execution.
- Coordination of outside agencies during operations.
- Working with Air assets and coordinating indirect fire support.
- Development of junior leadership.
- Forming Standard Operating Procedures and Policy making.
In addition to these various Professional Skills, my personal skills and abilities were enhanced dramatically. The course is physically and mentally challenging, and my peers and I were all put to the test heavily. During this time, the following skills were tested and improved:
- Leadership and mentorship
- Time Management skills
- Organizational skills
- Communication and Conflict Management skills.
- Public Speaking, orders giving, and delegation of tasks.
- Tact and Initiative when working with senior leadership.
- Development of Professional relationships
After graduating, I returned to Fox company 2/4, but I was assigned to the 3rd Platoon before our deployment to Okinawa. We then deployed in January of 2008.