MIHAIL KOGALNICEAU, Romania - Corporal Frankie Pagan, a motor transportation chief with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, and Miami native, is the Marine of the Week at Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania, Nov. 29, 2013.
Pagan said that when he found out he was selected for the award, he didn’t expect it.
“It’s nice, it’s like a pat on the back,” said Pagan. “It shows me that my hard work and dedication isn’t going unnoticed.”
Corporal Ivan Martinez, a motor transportation mechanic, and Decatur, Ala. native, said that Pagan was chosen for Marine of the Week because of his dedication and leadership, but that his hard work didn’t just start on deployment withBSRF-14, but in 2011 when Martinez meet Pagan for the first time in Military Occupational Specialty school.
“He’s motivated, he’s put in hard work into Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, and training Marines,” said Martinez. “He knows what he’s doing, he helps organize most of the things that [Motor-T] does, and he advises other Marines.”
Along with being a shop chief, Pagan also instructs MCMAP courses. He currently has approximately 172 hours and has instructed several classes of Marines for sustainment from tan belt to gray belt, and further advancement to green belt.
Both Pagan and Martinez agreed that the award of Marine of the Week is important for various reasons.
“It shows the junior Marines that the work they do actually does show here. You get recognized for the work you do, which is pretty good because it shows Marines that their leadership is watching what they’re doing,” said Martinez.
In addition to all of the hard work he’s put into MCMAP and his job, Pagan also helped build an Olympic lifting platform designed to absorb the shock of weights being dropped. He also dedicates his time at the gym to helping improve the physical fitness of his fellow Marines.
Pagan said that he joined the military because he’s very patriotic, and it was something that drew him to do something for his country. In addition, he chose the Marine Corps specifically because he wanted to do something that was physically and mentally challenging. He didn’t want the bare minimum.
The highlight of his experience in Romania was being able to take a step away from the command element side of things, and being able to integrate with the ground combat element.
“[A highlight] was my live-fire shoot with the Alpha Co. Marines in Bistrita, Romania,” said Pagan. “It was something that I’ve never done before and was out of my comfort zone. It really, for me, hit on the fact that every Marine’s a rifleman.”
Pagan said that although he loves his job, it is difficult to remain versatile in not only his specialty, but in the Marine Corps as well.
“For Motor-T, the [good part] is being in charge of people, and going to work every day. For MCMAP, it’s teaching people to be disciplined, giving them a foundation on how to protect themselves and protect others,” said Pagan. “[The hardest part] is not forgetting where you come from, and not forgetting why you do what you do. Why do I instruct? Why do I go to work every day? Why do I put on this uniform? It’s just giving it 100 percent every day.”
Pagan said that his goals for this deployment include getting every Marine and sailor to a green belt in MCMAP, start brown and black belt courses, and to leave with no broken gear.
Martinez said that Pagan has the potential to be a great Sergeant in the future when he gets promoted to the rank, due to the way that he carries himself already and because he’s already a great leader of Marines.
Marines and sailors with BSRF-14, along with being part of an annual rotation of forces to promote regional stability and security, increase military capacity and interoperability, and maintain partnerships with their counterparts in Eastern Europe, still have many more chances to prove their worth of the title Marine of the Week, as long as they keep striving for mission accomplishment, troop welfare, and they demonstrate the corps values of honor, courage and commitment.