News: Ariz. Native Has Big Job in Afghanistan
Story by Lance Cpl. Phillip Clark
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – A four-year-old boy rode in a parade with his father, who was in his unmistakably identifiable uniform: the Marine Corps dress blues. From that day forward, the Kearny, Ariz., child wanted to be a United States Marine, exactly like his father.
That young boy was Matthew E. Jenkins, and he is now living his dream of being a Marine as a corporal and intelligence specialist for 2nd Marine Division (Forward).
As an intelligence specialist his job consists of gathering information about enemy activity that is happening in the area of operations for 2nd MarDiv (Fwd) and providing it to his section leaders and command members.
“I wanted this job, because I thought about my future inside and outside the Marine Corps. Also my dad was a Marine, and his father before him, and his father before him; and as far back as I can remember with my dad’s side of the family, the males were Marines,” said the Ray High School graduate. “I figured I would get a good job while I was in and one that would benefit me when I left the Marine Corps.”
Jenkins is currently on his second deployment overseas. His first was in Iraq with Regimental Combat Team 8, and now he is here with the division.
“I think he is handling his second deployment really well, and he shows great Marine qualities,” said Capt. Paul C. Croom the 2nd, the production and analysis officer in charge for Task Force Leatherneck, headed by 2nd MarDiv (Fwd). “There will be a few turnovers throughout the year when people go home and others replace them, but since he is here for the full year, his capability and expertise will make that change a lot smoother, and he will be able to handle that change proficiently.”
Jenkins also supports subordinate units in the area and recently visited 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd MarDiv (Fwd), in southern Helmand province. He went there to support the unit with its shortage of Marines in the intelligence section.
“For their intelligence section, they only have a total of four people [who are junior Marines] -- two of them worked in the [Combat Operations Center] day and night shift, and two worked in the [Counter Intelligence/ Human Intelligence Branch] day and night shift; and one of them had to go down to Patrol Base Wolf Pack and I was there to fill his slot,” said Jenkins. “I was the only intelligence analyst besides the chief and the [deputy] for the day shift. I created all the intelligence projects for them during the day, and I gave multiple patrol briefs and threat briefs, along with other assessment projects.”
Jenkins said he really enjoyed being at the battalion level because it allowed him to see how his actions supported the unit’s mission. He suggested every junior Marine should experience it, so they can see their work first-hand put into practice.
“I really enjoyed being at the battalion level because I got to see what happened right there when I made a decision, rather than hear about it later and not see it actually take place,” said Jenkins. “I recommend every junior Marine should be at the battalion level for at least a little while to get that experience.”
Croom believes Jenkins is an outstanding Marine, and the section decided to send Jenkins to 3rd LAR to help support the unit because of his performance.
“It was a joint decision among the G-2 [intelligence section], and he was definitely the best individual to send to fill their need,” said Croom. “He has always been the go-to guy in our section. He produces very quickly and the quality is very high, although he hasn’t been in the Marine Corps all that long, that short term is not reflected in the quality of products he produces.”
Jenkins’ dedication to a job well-done at 3rd LAR has made him an asset to his section and the mission of Task Force Leatherneck.
“I was absolutely pleased with what he did down at 3rd LAR, as well as the division, the commanding general, several units, and Regional Command [Southwest],” said Croom. “They all have benefited immensely from what he did down there, and the knowledge and insight he brought back with him. It was certainly a boom for us individually, but other units and organizations also benefited from his experience, and that is going to shape the campaign plan and a lot of the tactical and operational movements we do from here forward.”