CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Bundeson is no stranger to war. During his deployment in Fallujah, a truck in his convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device, tearing the vehicle apart and flipping it over, killing the vehicle commander and the gunner.
“One of my sailors suffered the loss of his friend pretty badly, and I was able to help him through it,” said Bundeson. “We have to stick together as a family.”
For Bundeson, a corpsman with Combat Logistics Battalion 5, 1st Marine Logistics Group, family is everything. From the Marines and sailors around him to his wife and children back home, he considers all of them just as close.
“The biggest challenge I’ve encountered was seeing Marines go down, and the only way I was able to overcome it was by maintaining my espirit de corps and staying true to the Marines and sailors around me,” said Bundeson. “They are my family.”
During the 13 years Bundeson has been an active duty corpsman, he has been on five combat deployments, serving in Ramadi, Fallujah, Al-Asad and Al-Taqqadum during the height of the Iraq War.
During hard times, Bundeson’s focus on family was what kept him going. His wife and 14-year-old daughter provide him with a valuable pillar of support and push him to do better each day.
“At home, my wife and my daughter are my motivation,” said Bundeson. “They mean everything to me and they keep me going.”
Despite being born in Zambales, Philippines, he still considers Roseburg, Ore. his hometown and American culture just as much a part of him as the Philippine culture he was born into.
Joining the military ran in Bundeson’s blood.
“My dad was in the Navy and following in my dad’s footsteps seemed the right thing to do,” said Bundeson.
Bundeson’s love and respect for those he serves with shows in his leadership style. He uses the same familial principles to motivate and develop other Marines and sailors.
Most recently, he showed his leadership skills during a three-day combat operations center exercise conducted by CLB-5 aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., Sept. 5, 2013. During the exercise, Bundeson took some Marines and sailors under his wing, established command presence by treating them fairly and with respect and efficiently accomplished the tasks at hand.
“Exercises like these give you a chance to teach newer Marines and sailors ways to do things more effectively,” said Bundeson. “It doesn’t matter what service you’re in, you need to take charge and take care of your junior Marines and sailors like they’re a part of you.”
At 34 years old, Bundeson shows no signs of stopping. He is at home, whether in his house or in the field, and he provides Marines and sailors with the wisdom and guidance to tackle the challenges of life.