AR-RAMADI, Iraq --
AR-RAMADI, Iraq (August 7, 2008) – Everyone knows someone who will brighten up another’s day just by being in their presence.
For Marines here, that person happens to be Lance Cpl. Michael I. McDonald, a command operations center duty watch clerk with Combat Logistics Company 111, Combat Logistics Battalion 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
“I love McDonald’s morale boosting effect on others,” said 1st Lt. Jared P. Klusmann, an operations officer with CLC-111. “He is always motivating Marines around him, whether it’s physical fitness or working.” He uses words of encouragement to all ranks to make them work harder.
McDonald was homeless in Buffalo, N.Y. prior to enlisting, but left the abandoned apartment complex he slept in to serve in the military.
“He isn’t your average Lance Cpl.,” said Klusmann, from Cleveland, Ohio. “He is well known throughout the base.” Service members go out of their way to visit McDonald at the COC; they walk out of the room with a smile or are still laughing when they leave because of his comments, jokes and uplifting personality.
“McDonald will put a smile on everyone’s face,” said Staff Sgt. James L. Aultman, an operations chief with CLC-111. He jokingly shares his views whenever an opportunity arises.
“He is a very opinionated Marine,” said Klusmann, 27. “We refer to him as cashing a $2 million check with a $2 body.” McDonald is the shortest Marine in his shop, weighing less than 130 pounds.
If a Marine shares something with the shop and McDonald doesn’t agree, he is not shy in letting them know. “I like to throw my two cents-worth in everything,” said McDonald. He disputes topics with Marines, even if he agrees, just to get a rise out of them.
“We usually let the little ‘fella romp around,” Klusmann said. “He’s always making the people around him laugh, either with or at himself.”
Everyone at the COC enjoys McDonald’s comments. “I’m basically the comic relief around the shop,” said McDonald, 21.
The Corps has given McDonald a lot. In return, he gives back all he can to the Corps.
“He has a lot of untapped potential,” said Klusmann. “Being around the Staff Sgt. and myself, we’ve brought a lot out of him.”
“The 1st Lt., and Staff Sgt. see my potential and try to better me,” McDonald said. “They have a lot of influence on me.” Aultman is always working with McDonald throughout the 12-hour work shifts. They work hand-in-hand to monitor all the convoy operations that take place outside the wire. McDonald is always looking to learn new information on his job and how to be a better Marine.
“McDonald holds a lot of leadership traits that we look for in Marines,” Aultman said. “He is always seeking self improvement and is very dependable.” McDonald listens to advice and takes it to heart. “He is very competent,” Klusmann said. “I know if I task him with something, he will do it to the best of his ability.”
The Buffalo native has been known to help out random service members here, no matter what the job is. “He has a very uplifting spirit, no matter the work load, he’s never beat,” Aultman said. “He will always help out with any task.”
McDonald said he really enjoys working for the military and making other service members laugh. He plans to be promoted to Cpl. during this deployment, then go back to the United States where he will be able to re-enlist at his three-year mark. McDonald sees himself making a career out of the Marine Corps.
“I hope he stays in longer than his first enlistment,” Klausmann said. “The Marine Corps could use more Marines like him.”