News: Arizona native helps keep rockets’ red glare alive, well in Afghanistan
PATROL BASE EREDVI, Afghanistan - The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System delivers target destruction from miles away.
Driving one of the multimillion dollar trucks that can do so much damage is Lance Cpl. Edgar Rosas.
The 20-year-old Mesa, Ariz., native, is currently deployed with Sierra Battery, 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment to a small Georgian Army patrol base providing northern Helmand province with artillery rocket support.
“When we get a call for fire, we jump in the trucks and head to the firing point,” said Rosas, a 2010 graduate of Skyline High School in Mesa. “It’s my responsibility to make sure the truck is on the right slope, a certain distance from any structures and to record the data once the rocket is fired.”
Rosas said before he joined the Marine Corps he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life, but he knew he wanted to do something that made a difference.
“I knew I needed to grow up in a sense after high school,” Rosas said. “So I chose to become a Marine. When I went to (military occupational specialty) school, I wanted to learn all I could about artillery and I graduated at the top of my class. They asked if I wanted to learn to be a HIMARS crewman and here I am.”
For Rosas, being on the team firing the rockets is just another day at the office.
“The rocket comes flying out of the pod at Mach two,” Rosas said. “So the whole truck rocks back and forth when it’s fired. The noise isn’t so bad if you’re in the cab, but it’s deafening if you’re outside.”
Rosas’ hard work and dedication to his craft do not go unnoticed. Sgt. Mike Stilwell, HIMARS launcher chief from Yale, Mich., and Rosas’ direct supervisor has seen how well Rosas works from when he first got to the unit all the way till now.
“I don’t have to tell him to do something, he takes the initiative and if he sees something that’s wrong he fixes it,” Stilwell said. “He studies nonstop to be a gunner and when he was tested by our field artillery chief before we deployed, he knew every job in the truck from my position down and passed the test with flying colors.”
“He’s a locked-on Marine and we’re lucky to have him,” Stilwell added.
Rosas said he will take his time in the Marine Corps one contract at a time, but when he does leave, he wants to get his bachelor’s degree in biology or human anatomy to become a physical therapist.
“I want to help people,” Rosas said. “And if I can help them overcome a sports injury or a car accident then I know I’m still making a difference.”
Date Posted:08.01.2012 09:00
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