COMBAT OUTPOST SHIR GHAZAY, Afghanistan – After a troubled past, Lance Cpl. Christopher Souder knew a change had to be made for him and his family. Wanting to serve his country, he joined the Marine Corps in hopes of a better life.
Souder, now an armorer with Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 7, decided to join the Marine Corps to support his first child and his wife.
“Before I joined, I had one kid. My wife and I had just gotten engaged and my life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to,” said Souder, from Rockville, Md. “I had gotten in a little bit of trouble, so when I had the chance to enlist, I took the opportunity.”
Souder joined the Marine Corps Nov. 1, 2009, to better his life and has no regrets about the decision. He volunteered for his current deployment and hopes to get another deployment before his time is done.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Souder said. “I mean it led me here, so although some of the decisions I made weren’t the right ones, I’m glad I was able to learn from them. I begged to come on this deployment. I saw the old commanding officer for Bravo Co., and he was like, ‘Hey, I’ve been hearing your name a lot, you still want to deploy?’ I told him, ‘Hell yeah I want to deploy,’ and here I am.”
Souder said he is motivated to deploy again by what his grandfather, a former Marine, told him as a child.
“The one thing my grandpa told me was ‘Don’t go through life with any regrets cause that’s the worse thing,’” Souder said. “Many people have come over here three or four times. If I don’t try to get on another deployment after I’m already done with this one, I think I probably would regret it later on in life. I don’t want to have that, so I’d like to deploy with the next company when they come out here.”
Although Souder’s grandfather passed away, he still takes the knowledge his grandfather passed on to him to heart.
“My grandfather died when I was 10, but he told me a lot of stuff as a kid. A lot of it has stuck with me to this day, and I try to live up to it all the time,” Souder said.
Souder currently has two daughters and is expecting a third child. He will be able to enjoy the birth of his third child after his deployment is complete.
To cope with being away from his family, Souder writes music about his experiences in Afghanistan. Before joining the Marine Corps, Souder had built a little name for himself in music in his hometown under the stage name of Drew Gutterz.
“My oldest daughter is my angel and my youngest melts my heart every time I see her, so I hope I get another daughter,” Souder said. “But I miss my wife and kids pretty much equally. I write music to kind of just take me away from everything. I write music out here all the time, and I like to put some of the different experiences from out here into my music.”
Sergeant John Ramson, a section leader with Bravo Co., 2nd Tank Bn., has been in two companies with Souder and noted his professionalism throughout that time.
“He always makes sure he does his job the way he’s supposed to and doesn’t care if he gets the credit or not,” Ramson said. “He’s just a hard worker and wants to make sure everything is done right. He’s pretty funny and is really dedicated to what he does. He really cares about making sure whatever he’s doing he’s doing it right. He was my armorer back in Delta Company, and he was my go to guy if there were any problems.”
Souder plans on re-enlisting and working on his musical career, but until then he will continue to ensure Bravo Co., 2nd Tank Bn., has functioning weapons while deployed to Afghanistan.