AT-TAQADDUM, Iraq --
They are focused, determined, proud and humble. These are the words a sergeant major uses to describe his Marines.
2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Air Control Group 28, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, serving directly for 1st Marine Logistics Group, has meritoriously promoted five corporals and two sergeants to their ranks within the two month time period of May and June.
“When a Marine gets promoted in a combat zone, it’s a big deal,” said Sgt. Major Todd M. Parisi, battalion sergeant major for 2nd LAAD Bn., as he spoke to the newly promoted noncommissioned officers in his office. “You have put yourselves in that top percentage that separates you from your peers.”
Some of the Marines attained their new ranks after a promotion board and others due to exceptional actions while serving here in Iraq.
Making sure no contraband and forbidden items find their way onto base is the job of entry control point gunner. Cpl. John M. Crawford, deployed with Alpha Battery, 2nd LAAD Bn., was meritoriously promoted due to his consistent, continuous quick thinking, sound judgment and immediate actions at an ECP. He and his fellow Marines at times used escalation of force procedures to deescalate potential threats.
“It was a surprise to find out that I was getting this,” said Crawford, from Columbus, Ohio. “Anyone would have done the same thing if they were in my situation.”
Cpl. Kenton J. Hinkle, search team leader for Charlie Battery, from Monroe, Wash., and Sgt. Kevin R. Overton, assistant patrol leader, Bravo Battery, were also meritoriously promoted due to their consistent and continuous performance during similar incidents.
The Marines of 2nd LAAD Bn. or “Team Guardian” have a dynamic mission aboard Camp Taqaddum and Camp Habbaniyah: being a forward unit comprised of Marines from 36 various commands, they are the security element for these bases.
Patrolling local communities and ensuring the surrounding areas of the bases remain safe are some of the many tasks that Marines like Cpl. Samuel Becerra, from Modesto, Calif., communications NCO, Charlie Battery, Cpl. Ronnie J. Vance, from Mentor, Ohio, gunner with Bravo Battery and Cpl. Jeremy D. Brown, from Oconee, Ga., gunner with Alpha Battery, do regularly.
Parisi said their job is not only to protect the perimeter of the camp, but to go outside the camp and prohibit or deny the enemy a chance to penetrate the area as well.
“We will ensure that there is no way, shape or form, not in a million years on our watch, that the enemy will do any harm to service members on this base,” Parisi said.
As the newly promoted Marines talked about how they got to where they are, they all had one common belief, that being in the Marine Corps is not just a job but a lifestyle.
The lifestyle the Marines talked about was the way a Marine should be taking charge and showing initiative in their sections, always looking for that next level of responsibility.
“I was ready for the promotion,” said Overton, from Augusta, Ga. “I felt like I was acting like a sergeant the whole time. Now I am ready to go after staff sergeant.”
Overton said he believes a Marine should act like the rank above them and always try to lead when given the opportunity.
“Don’t do things in the Marine Corps because you are trying to get promoted. Do them because it is what you really do,” said Sgt. Steven M. Holtsclaw, gunner with Bravo Battery, from Streetsboro, Ohio.
Holtsclaw said Marines should not be shy; they should take the initiative to go forth and be a leader and have courage to stand up when nobody else will.
“These Marines are a reflection of a vast and deep pool of greatness,” said Parisi. “I could not be more proud.”