News: Marines deploy: It’s what we do
Story by Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles
BARSTOW, Calif. - In the last decade, Marines across the Corps have deployed on a regular basis; however, when Marines find themselves in non-deployable units, it’s much harder for them to deploy.
Although Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., is a non-deployable unit, the opportunity to deploy does exist, and gives the hard-charging Marine the chance to support the fight from the front lines.
“I never thought I would deploy from Barstow, but I did,” said Sgt. Jacey Marks, S-3 chief aboard the base.
Marks deployed from Barstow in June 2012, filling an individual augmentee billet with the Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command.
“I was deployed to Germany digging up B-24 bombers from World War II,” said the seasoned Marine, who’s been on a total of five deployments throughout his short career.
Before executing another deployment, especially one from a non-deployable unit, Marks had to be ‘on top of his game’ when it came to completing all the necessary paperwork in order to deploy, both for himself and his family.
“To be able to deploy you have to have someone to do your job [back in garrison], make sure you have all of your training done, and ensure all your medical paperwork is up-to-date,” said Marks.
“You have to be ready mentally and physically,” he said.
Preparing to deploy isn’t always the easiest thing to do, even from units that are on regular rotations, however, certain steps can make the transition from home to the frontlines a little less complicated.
Asking questions from more experienced Marines is highly recommended, suggests Sgt. Cody St. Pierre, a MCCS Manager aboard MCLB Barstow.
St. Pierre didn’t have trouble finding an IA billet to fill because of his military occupational specialty. What proved a little harder however, was what to expect before, during and after a deployment, as he didn’t have the deployment experience of some other Marines around him. Thankfully, he received some shared knowledge.
“Before I deployed I didn’t know what to expect or if I would be able to perform my job because I was only in the job field for a couple of weeks,” explain St. Pierre. “So I asked for help from my peers and luckily I had Sgt. Jeremy Overstreet to help me prepare.”
Marks couldn’t agree more.
“When you’re looking for advice, the best thing to do is ask multiple Marines that have been deployed the same question,” said Marks. “If you’re looking for answers or guidance just ask for the help. I can guarantee you, you will not be turned away.”
Paperwork for both the Marine and his family completed and aside, Marines mental and physical preparation for deployment is also crucial.
“Marines have to be ready to take care of the Marine to left and right of them,” explained St. Pierre.
Getting all affairs in order for everyone involved, allows Marines to better perform in the fight, said Marks.
“I wasn’t faced with combat [while deployed], but I was faced with challenges,” said St. Pierre. “There was no down time for us. We were moving around and providing for the Marines coming back to camp,” he said.
“My motivation was seeing the Marines walk into the exchange with big smiles on their faces because we had their favorite snacks or they [service members] bought something they were craving while being out of the wire.”
Having things in order on the homefront, being physically and mentally prepared, completing pre-deployment training and requirements and asking for help from those with prior deployment experience, can only add up to success.
“There are a lot of different deployment opportunities available,” said Marks. Volunteer for deployments … if you want it bad enough, you can get those IA billets, said Marks. Yes, even from Barstow.