News: 9th ESB Marines awarded, receive earned promotion
Story by Lance Cpl. Garry Welch
AICHI, Japan - A 9th Engineer Support Battalion Marine was combat meritoriously promoted at Camp Hansen June 29 for actions performed during a recent deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Staff Sgt. William E. Rietveld, a combat engineer with 9th ESB, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, who was combat meritoriously promoted to his current rank, attributes the promotion to the members of his team who were by his side daily, sweating and repelling the enemy.
“I couldn’t be more proud of those two Marines,” said Lt. Col. Scott A. Baldwin, 9th ESB’s commanding officer, of Reitveld and Sgt. Cody T. Romreill, a 9th ESB Marine who received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing device for valor during the deployment. “They’re a true representation of this battalion.”
Both Marines were deployed to various regions of Afghanistan, throughout Helmand province to include the Sangin District.
“[Reitveld] was constantly taking charge,” said Master Sgt. David W. Dickens, operations chief for Company A, 9th ESB, who deployed with Reitveld. “As a sergeant we had him running missions, which are usually limited to our staff noncommissioned officers and officers.
“During the deployment, he was in charge of our route sweeps; he was leading squads of Marines in clearing [improvised explosive devices],” said Dickens. “He was always the first one to volunteer for a hard mission, and he led his Marines with firmness and fairness.”
“I was just doing what was in front of me,” said Rietveld.
A lot of the missions tasked to the squad were outside the wire improving forward operating bases and building roads, said Rietveld.
“One of our first missions was to build a FOB on top of a hill,” said Rietveld of a place well known for IEDs. “We witnessed some grunts go in and clear it out and four IEDs went off within 100 meters of each other.”
“Right then, all the Marines who were on the mission realized what they were getting themselves into and how serious it was,” added Rietveld.
During the seven-month deployment, Rietveld and his team went on more than 10 missions, some lasting more than a month in duration.
Like Rietveld, Romreill was also recognized for his courage and leadership during the deployment.
“Long days; hard work; every day was different,” said Romreill about his time in Afghanistan.
These were days filled with building bunkers, clearing lanes for IEDs and gaining positive identification on IEDs allowing explosive ordnance disposal Marines to dispose of them, he added. Every day brought a different mission, he said.
One day was all too different from the others.
Romreill’s squad came under enemy fire Aug. 31, 2010, while prefabricating guard posts and two Marines were wounded from machine-gun fire.
Romreill immediately moved an armored tractor rubber-tired articulating multi-terrain vehicle between his squad and the enemy.
He then moved a wounded Marine in the bucket of the loader and transported him a safe place then returned to aid the rest of his squad move the injured Marines to a nearby landing zone.
While carrying a wounded Marine to the helicopter, Romreill was again engaged by enemy fire, but continued to lead the litter team through sustained fire to the helicopter and augmented security until the helicopter was able to evacuate both injured Marines.
As a non-commissioned officer, leadership is expected to be exhibited, said Romreill. “Getting out front and leading is part of the job.”