CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
A sailor from El Paso, Texas was combat meritoriously promoted to the rank of petty officer first class at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Jan. 17.
During the ceremony, Petty Officer 1st Class Paul Gomez was promoted to his current rank by Brig. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward).
“It was a great honor for him to pin me,” said Gomez, command master chief executive assistant, 1st MLG (FWD). “[It’s] not everyday someone gets pinned by the general.”
He wears his current rank for actions that took place during a combat logistics patrol headed to Forward Operating Base Edinburgh, Nov. 2, 2010. He was on a mission with the Marines who provide security for the 1st MLG (FWD) commanding general, explained Gomez.
During the combat logistics patrol, one of their vehicles was hit by an improvised explosive device. The blast caused one Marine bi-lateral lower leg fractures, and another Marine suffered a grade-three concussion.
Gomez immediately sprang into action providing medical care to his brothers in arms.
“His courageous actions last (November), combined with his sustained superior performance, commitment and solid track record of professionalism through almost 11 years of honorable Naval service made him most deserving of this recognition,” said Master Chief Gerardo M. Ramos, command master chief, 1st MLG (FWD).
Shortly after the incident, Gomez was notified that his command was submitting a package for him to be meritoriously promoted.
“I was surprised because of the competition amongst the other sailors in the unit,” said Gomez, 32.
Gomez was the only sailor from 1st MLG (FWD) to be submitted to the Regional Command (Southwest) board for promotion and once he was selected, he was submitted to compete at the Marine Forces Central Command board.
“The next thing I know the commanding general asking for my presence in his office,” said Gomez, husband of Natasha and father of 3-year-old Ashley. “He was congratulating me for my accomplishments.”
The Marine Forces Central Command only has one Navy quota for combat meritorious promotion to E-6 per quarter and Gomez was selected, said Ramos.
After finding out he was being combat meritoriously promoted, Gomez was overwhelmed with emotion.
“I felt ecstatic and relieved at the same time.” Gomez said. “The anticipation of waiting for the results (of the board) along with being so close to the rank of petty officer first class.”
“It feels great,” said Gomez of his promotion.
Once Gomez finishes his deployment and returns to the United States, he will be in charge of the junior medical and dental sailors of Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st Marine Logistics Group, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“I am excited that I am going to be given the opportunity to teach and guide junior sailors in the vast skills and knowledge I have learned over the years,” said Gomez. “A famous saying that I have used is ‘lead from the front.’”
Gomez, who joined the Navy Jan. 25, 2000, says he feels proud to be a part of an elite military organization and plans on staying in for at least 20 years.