USCENTCOM, AT SEA
A U.S. Marine corporal with 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) embarked aboard amphibious transport dock, USS Green Bay (LPD 20) received a meritorious promotion to the rank of sergeant.
Green Bay is on their routine deployment ready to accomplish missions, varying from humanitarian assistance to counter-piracy operations.
Sgt. Christopher B. Harris, a Huntsville, Ala., native, deployed with 13th MEU in February. In 2008, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and has been meritoriously promoted twice, first to private first class, and recently to sergeant. Harris competed against corporals throughout I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), taking the top spot. A MEF is comprised of several units having more than 60,000 total personnel, making it one of the largest combined arms groups in the Marine Corps; 13th MEU is one of those units.
“Winning the I MEF meritorious sergeant promotion board was very humbling,” Harris said. “I have to constantly prove that I deserve this rank and that I can lead. Being in the Marine Corps is about being a leader, being responsible for others.”
Harris is a member of 13th MEU’s Maritime Raid Force (MRF), a small and diverse team of Marines and Sailors trained in a variety of missions, such as visit, board, search, and seizure operations, reconnaissance and surveillance, and direct-action assaults.
“My primary job is to help clear enemy threats from ships or maritime infrastructure and then help gather information to support the mission,” said Harris. “From the time the warning order gets dropped to the time when there’s boots on the deck, there’s really no room for error in that type of mission. You could have civilians onboard with armed pirates, so you need to make quick decisions and be tactically sound.”
His work with the MRF has not only impacted himself, but others around him.
“He’s a mentally tough and mature Marine, very intelligent,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Skelton, radio reconnaissance team leader, MRF, 13th MEU who has worked with Harris for a year. “When I nominated him for the board, he stood out because of his natural leadership abilities and his drive to improve himself.”
Some of the things he misses the most from back home include drinking sweet tea and some of his old favorite hangouts.
“I miss my friends back home and I miss my family,” said Harris. “I miss the pace of life back home, that feeling of being home. You take it for granted that you can see your family whenever you want to when you’re around them all the time.”
He’s considering applying for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program and pursuing his future military career as an officer. He is also considering working in the special operations community.
“Right now I’m considering my options,” said Harris. “The military has challenged me for the better.”
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This work, 13th MEU Marine Receives Meritorious Promotion, by SSgt Christopher O'Quin, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.