AL ASAD, Iraq -- Marine Security Guard Duty is one of the sought-after assignments for many active-duty Marines. The Marines that are assigned with MSG are faced with stresses like homesickness, isolation and long hours of work, yet they desire to accept the challenge. Many of those who participate in this cross-over military occupation achieve success during their three-year tour as a MSG.
Staff Sgt. James L. Aultman, training chief for Combat Logistics Battalion 1, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), was one of these Marines that took on the challenge. For his efforts, he earned himself the Capital One Marine Security Guard of the Year award, two Navy Achievement Medals and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his success and work ethic.
“I was shocked when I found out that I received the award for MSG of the Year,” said Aultman. “It had already been several months since I had gotten off (MSG) duty.”
Aultman was outside the United States in Moldova, Egypt, Oman and Jordan for over three years, coming back home only for medical reasons. Despite being away from home for such an extended time and facing the daily stresses and pressures of the job, he enjoyed it.
“MSG was the best thing I have ever done,” he said. “It meant a lot to me.”
Aultman, a Sylvester, Ga., native, said he joined the Marine Corps in October 1999 after feeling his life wasn’t going in the right direction. He had dropped out of Worth County High School, Ga., at age 17 and explained he was hanging out with the wrong crowd. One day woke up and decided it was time for a change.
“Sometimes in life you make decisions you can’t retract,” explained Aultman. “I knew the moment that I joined the Marine Corps I was doing it to better myself.”
Aultman joined the Marine Corps as a logistical vehicle system operator with 1st Platoon, Motor Transportation Company, Combat Service Support Group-3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group based out of Hawaii. He served overseas in Guam, Japan, Thailand and Australia, earning him the first of his three Navy Achievement Medals.
According to him, hard-work and determination earned him an opportunity to join MSG in February.
“All of the work you produce is a reflection of you,” he said. “If you want to be the best, then you will be the best.”
While serving his MSG term with Alpha and Bravo Companies, Marine Security Guard Battalion, 4th Marine Expeditionary Force, Aultman assisted in restructuring the operational plans and increasing security for MSG Detachment Muscat, Oman, earning him his second Navy Achievement Medal. He also successfully activated the first MSG Detachment for the U.S. Embassy of Chisinau, Moldova in November 2004 and was awarded his third Navy Achievement Medal.
Aultman received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal in November 2005 from Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, in Quantico, Va., for his actions while serving as a MSG.
“From where I came from, I would have never expected all of this. I came from nothing to going so far while achieving so much,” said Aultman.
Now with Combat Logistics Battalion 1, the 27-year-old staff sergeant is looked to by his Marines for guidance.
“The Marines just get motivated around him,” said Sgt. Maj. David J. Allen, 44, Sergeant Major of Combat Logistics Battalion 1, and a native of Panama City, Fl. “If I had 10 more Staff Sergeant Aultman’s, we would be a better unit.”
“He influenced me to stay in the Marine Corps,” said Sgt. Andres J. Garcia, 24, Unit Movement Control Center chief of CLB-1 and a native of Anaheim, Calif.
Aultman has been in the Marine Corps for almost seven years, and during this time he has successfully achieved his Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and is seven classes away from earning his bachelor’s degree.
“Self-drive is the key to success,” Aultman said. “The most endangered species are the dedicated leaders.”
The Capital One Marine Security Guard of the Year recipient is scheduled to return to the United States with CLB-1 in spring 2007. He said his plans include getting married and finishing up his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Law.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for MSG duty,” he reflected.