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Reserves support "Support Group"

Marine Corps News

Release Date: 5/30/2004

Story by Cpl. Matthew J. Apprendi

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq(May 30, 2004) -- Grease stained their hands and boots; sweat drenched their faces and uniforms as the Marines fixed a tactical vehicle at Camp Fallujah, Iraq.

The grease and sweat belong to a detachment of approximately 30 mobilized reservists from their Abilene, Texas-based motor transportation and maintenance unit.

The reservists are augmenting Combat Service Support Company 121, Combat Service Support Battalion 12, 1st Force Service Support Group, for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"I've been absolutely blown away by how well the reserves have been performing," said Capt. Neil Anderson, the commanding officer of CSSC-121, and native of Fallbrook, Calif. "Most of them were not forced into this, they were handpicked from their units - best of the best."

For some, this is their first deployment. However, for a few, this deployment has etched a first impression that will likely last a lifetime.

"Coming out here has pushed my motivation," said Lance Cpl. Charles A. Kerry, a mechanic with the company from Snyder, Texas. "It has urged me to stay in (the Marines) as long as I possibly can."

The 2002 graduate of Snyder High School and the first Marine in his family plans to extend his activation and transition to active-duty when he returns home.

"I never planned on joining," he said. "I was out for a run one day and a Marine Corps recruiter stopped me and asked, 'What are you doing with yourself after high school?' We ended up talking at McDonald's, I liked what he had to say about the Corps, so here I am."

Reservists are found in nearly all of the 12 different sections of the company. Some have been afforded the opportunity to cross train outside their military occupational specialty.

Lance Cpl. Clint B. Freeman was a bulk fueler at his reserve unit. Currently, he has been working with the generator section learning the ins and outs of maintaining electrical power.

"I'm really loving cross training," said the full-time student, who is majoring in psychology at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, where he also resides. "The active-duty guys gave me a hard time in the beginning, but it was all in good fun. Once we started to work, we were all going for the same mission accomplishment."

"They've (reservists) learned a lot out here," said Staff Sgt. Floyd H. Thomason, the maintenance chief for the company from Fort Worth. "What they are gaining out here is something they could never learn back home."

Thomason is a diesel mechanic with Southwest International Trucks in Dallas as a civilian. He laughed, "I can't get away from this job."

Outside on the desert floor, the Marines take a break by gathering around a crudely set-up pull-up bar. They egg each other on to see who can do the most.

Lance Cpl. Logan D. Knox, a mechanic with the outfit, from Dallas is on the bar pulling himself up with a big grin. The Marines shout, "Come on Knox! Get up there - one more."

"We definitely have our laughs out here," said Freeman, chuckling. "Marines will do about anything not to get bored. Pranks are always going on. I've tried to open my door before, and it just has fallen off the hinges."

Freeman added the culprits are usually right around the corner laughing at the spectacle.

"We really try to keep everything somewhat sane out here," he said. "The days get pretty hectic sometimes, but we always try to set aside a Sunday to play cards or throw some horseshoes and drink a bit of non-alcoholic beer."

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