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Cpl. Dustin Carlton, wrecker operator, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), provides tow capabilities for military vehicles that break down and cannot be fixed quickly during missions throughout Helmand Province, Afghanistan. “Sometimes we tow vehicles and sometimes we fix them… I love my job and I’m great at what I do.”

Photo by Sgt. Michele Watson

Roanoke native serves Corps, lives up to family tradition

13 Jul 2012 | Sgt. Michele Watson

Each Marine has his or her own personal reason for joining the Corps, whether it is a sense of duty to one’s country, a chance to travel the world, or tradition. For Cpl. Dustin Carlton, it was all of the above.

“My great grandfather served with Chesty Puller,” said Carlton, 23, a native of Roanoke, Va. “All of my family has served in the military."

After following in his family’s footsteps, Carlton said he is grateful for the opportunities the Marine Corps has afforded him.

“There is no other job in the world that would let me serve my country as a tow truck driver,” said Carlton. “I have been able to see so many different places through my job."

Since he joined in early 2007, Carlton has travelled to more than 20 countries with the Marine Corps. In addition to combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Carlton also deployed in support of Africa Partnership Station 10 where he visited multiple countries in Africa and worked with foreign militaries. At the beginning of the deployment, his small Marine detachment was rerouted to Haiti because of a catastrophic earthquake. While there, Carlton participated in humanitarian operations by giving food and water to Haitians in need.

“I love being deployed,” said Carlton. “I love all the experiences I have had and it’s always a good time, no matter where I go.”

Stationed out of Camp Lejeune, Carlton is a member of 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), currently forward deployed to Afghanistan. Working with different companies within 8th ESB, he is responsible for providing tow capabilities to military vehicles that break down and cannot be fixed quickly.

“The thing I love most about my job is it’s just me and my [assistant] driver,” said Carlton. “Sometimes we tow vehicles and sometimes we fix them… I love my job and I’m great at what I do."

With only a short time left in this tour, Carlton is ready to wrap up another deployment. He said he looks forward to seeing his family but would never want to miss the opportunity to travel.

“I miss my family and I miss home but I love deployments,” said Carlton. “It’s bittersweet.”


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