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Sgt. John Leavens (left) and Lance Cpl. Devin Reyna, Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), stand proudly in front of the flag poles they constructed displaying the National Colors and Marine Corps flag in the CLB-2 compound at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Oct. 19. The Marines volunteered several weeks of their time to gather materials and construct the flag poles to display the colors with pride.

Photo by Cpl. Shannon E. McMillan

Deployed U.S. Marines keep patriotism high in Afghanistan

22 Oct 2010 | Cpl. Shannon E. McMillan

Standing tall in the Combat Logistics Battalion 2 compound here is a symbol of patriotism, pride and initiative.

The United States flag and Marine Corps colors wave proudly above the compound due to the efforts of two CLB-2 Marines currently deployed to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force.

Sgt. John Leavens and Lance Cpl. Devin Reyna constructed a flag pole in their spare time to give the battalion a place to proudly display the colors.

Taking the initiative and volunteering countless hours, the Marines created plans, gathered materials and assembled the dual flag poles within a few weeks of starting the project. Along with the national colors and Marine Corps flag flying beside each other, the Marines also constructed the display to hold the companies’ and battalion’s guidons, which are smaller flags representative of each unit.

“I wanted to do something that will motivate everyone,” said Sgt. John Leavens, lead navigator with 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, CLB-2, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).

“Whenever I look at the flagpole, I always get courage and motivation,” said Lance Cpl. Devin Reyna, metal worker with Maintenance Platoon, Headquarters and Service Company, CLB-2, 1st MLG (FWD), 19, from Corpus Christi, Texas. “Motivation because of being in Afghanistan and constructing something that makes it that much better for everyone out here.”

The Marines’ hard work and dedication will be displayed here as long as Marines are serving aboard Camp Leatherneck.

“It was very motivating to see Marines take time out of their very busy schedule to hand-make the flag poles and do all the work to put them up,” said Sgt. Maj. Tracy Linch, battalion sergeant major, CLB-2, 1st MLG (FWD). “The flags came out awesome; they fly high above the CLB-2 compound with pride and honor to our country and Corps.”

Since the completion of the project, the flag display has been utilized for re-enlistment, promotion and awards ceremonies, and flying the colors at half mast in memory of a fallen comrade.

“When someone chooses to have their re-enlistment ceremony in front of something that [you built], that’s when you know they are proud of it,” said Leavens, 31, from Hammondsport, N.Y.

As the Marines of CLB-2 prepare to complete their tour in Afghanistan, they know they are leaving a monumental piece of patriotism for future units who support the counterinsurgency mission here.

“When we started the project, we wanted to make sure they will last for the battalions after us, to hold the tradition of displaying the colors with pride,” said Reyna.


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