NEWS | Oct. 24, 2011

Seven Marines prepare for year-long deployment

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Brannon Deugan Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Office

Seven Marine Corps Reserve members have answered the call to serve their country for a year-long overseas deployment and are making preparations to embark on their journey at Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station.

Seven Devil Dogs from the Marine Corps Reserve Training Command volunteered for the mission which requires heavy equipment operators in support of ongoing operations.

"The Reserve component, especially during Operations Iraqi and Operation Enduring Freedom, has been extremely important to the Marine Corps by augmenting the active-duty forces," said Capt. Matthew Verdin, Marine Corps Reserve Training Center active duty coordinator. "The Reserve members allow active-duty service members to minimize their deployment time so they can spend some much needed time at home with their loved ones."

"The biggest part about all the Marines here at MCRTC is that they want to deploy and they are looking for deployment opportunities. When one comes around they jump on it," he continued. "These seven Marines want to go and they want to be a part of the operating forces that are deployed."

Meeting regularly during monthly drill weekends, the seven Marines, like all Reservists, have mastered the required knowledge and skills of their primary jobs to be successful on deployment. However deployments require additional skill sets other than a Military Occupational Specialty.

"All Marines have the basic fundamentals; they understand their position as riflemen and the specifics to their MOS. So their technical proficiency meets the standards needed because that is what they continuously trained to do," said Verdin. "Right now, we are concerned with taking care of their administrative and medical readiness; things such as power-of-attorney, wills, medical and dental screenings and immunizations, all the yearly readiness priorities that need to be taken care of before a deployment.

"They will be undergoing pre-deployment training as well," he continued. "Training requirements such as shooting at the rifle range, entering a gas chamber and classroom training all have to be completely up-to-date prior to deployment."

Sergeant Clinton Hall, Landing Supporting Equipment Platoon first sergeant said, while undergoing pre-deployment training can be redundant, all the information is critical and may save a person's life.

"It is important for us to pay attention to this training," Hall said. "When we get out there, situations can come up and we have to remember our training. If we fail, it may cost someone their life. Thankfully, because we train constantly, we should be prepared for any situations we encounter. Complacency kills."

While preparing mentally and physically for the upcoming mission, the Marines are also preparing their loved ones by taking the proper precautions to ensure all obligations at home are taken care of during their absence.

"Obviously focusing on the mission is a priority, however we need to get everything straight at home, such as our finances and our families," said Hall. "On my last deployment, I left without making the proper preparations and it was hard to take care of things at home being so far away. I learned from that experience and have been busy getting all the home front preparations made so there is less to worry about."

"The process of preparing Marines for deployment is pretty thorough; it doesn't matter if a Marine is active duty or a Reservist. All of their uniforms say U.S. Marines. They have all earned the eagle, globe and anchor," said Verdin. "The integration with the operating forces in Afghanistan is going to be seamless, there is not going to be any lag. These Marines are just as deployable and combat ready as any active duty Marine in the Marine Corps right now."