CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Gunnery Sgt. Bradley Rusher, a radio chief with Communications Platoon, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, of Carthage, S.D., has experienced almost every facet of the Marine Corps during his last 13 years in the military. He started his career working side-by-side with infantry Marines, then deployed with Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians, worked with the air wing, did recruiting, trained with a reconnaissance unit and is current working in the logistics field with the MLG.
Why did you decide to join the Marine Corps?
I had a buddy growing up that joined the National Guard. The National Guard is big where I come from. I always thought the military was exciting and a challenge, so I was going to join the National Guard but ended up getting a call from the Marine Corps and thought I’d give it a shot and I one-up my buddy. I never regretted it since.
What kinds of experiences have you come across so far?
I’ve been to Iraq three times and Afghanistan once. In 2003 I went to Iraq during the initial invasion with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines as a forward observer radio operator for artillery. I then went to Okinawa in 2004 and after a small break I went back to Iraq during Fallujah and was a colonel’s radio operator. I got a two or three month break before going back to Iraq with EOD. Then I went on recruiting duty and not long after after that went to 3rd Reconnaissance and went to Afghanistan for 7 months.
How was your time with a reconnaissance unit?
While I was with recon I also went through the [Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques] Masters Course and a dynamic assaults course. While with them, I got to do all the training right beside them.
What other courses have you been able to take so far?
I’ve also been to an assault climber’s course and a boat raider’s course.
What is the assault climber’s course?
The special operations training course put on a 7-week rock climbing course. I had to learn how to tie a bunch of different knots, all timed. I was able to rappel down and safely rescue somebody or if somebody was injured I could get them off a cliff. It was definitely one of the best courses I’ve done. It was physically demanding and mentally challenging. I once was the lead in a 300 foot climb. The scenarios we were put through were things like you have a unit coming off the ocean onto a beach front and there is a cliff right on the beach. Now we have to get a company sized unit up that cliff. My job is to find the best way to get that company up that cliff safely and effectively.
Have you been able to use that training?
I have done it a couple times since doing the course. I did it with 1/5 for the 31st [Marine Expeditionary Unit]. It definitely also motivated me to do a little rock climbing on the side. I’ve actually gotten my kids into it!
What is the boat raider’s course?
The zodiac course is engine appreciation week, where you don’t get engine. You have to paddle and teamwork is huge because if one side of the boat doesn’t paddle as hard as the other you start to turn. You really learned how to come together as a team while doing that. I was a junior lance corporal then.
What would you say the biggest impact in your life has been?
The biggest impact in my life would be all the deployments that have made me grow up. I experienced different ways to be a leader and to overcome different situations. I learned to stay level headed in most situations and not let adversity take over.
How have you handled raising a family while being a Marine?
It’s definitely challenging. You have to have a spouse that is supportive of everything you do and you have to support her with things the family wants to do. It definitely makes it easier. It becomes challenging when work hours become later and you just have to work with your spouse to figure out how to raise a family. And when you do get time off, you have definitely got to spend time with the family.
How has being here in the MLG been different than other units you’ve been in?
It took me a while to figure out how the MLG works and what the purpose was and then I opened my eyes and thought ‘Ok so that’s how, when I was with the infantry, we got resupplied and how convoys got pushed out for fuel, water and chow.’ I’m glad I got placed in this unit because it gives me a better well rounded view of the Marine Corps.
Do you have any words of wisdom for the Marines out there?
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Your best unit is always the unit you just came from. When you’re there it seems to be the worst unit, but when you leave you always seem to think it was the best.