CAMP DWYER, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
CAMP DWYER, Helmand province, Afghanistan – Each Marine has a unique reason for joining the Corps: some enlist out of pride, some want to see a foreign land, and some do it simply to serve their country.
Lance Cpl. Jerod Byron Young, an electrician with Regimental Combat Team 5 and 21-year-old native of Atlanta, joined the Marine Corps to follow in the footsteps of his father, retired Master Gunnery Sgt. Jason Anderson.
Anderson’s 26-year career inspired Young to become a Marine. His father’s unwavering dedication to the service made Young want to follow in suit.
“Seeing him serve for so long was so motivational for me,” said Young. “It made me want to join.”
“My dad even told me that I’m fighting the war that he never finished,” Young recalled with a smile.
Young’s role as an electrician is vital to Marines and sailors operating throughout southern Helmand. He repairs utilities equipment, such as generators and air conditioners, which keep forward operating bases and combat outposts ready and alert for the fight.
“Any problems that have to do with utilities, we take care of it,” said Young. “We not only maintain the generators and utilities here, but we also take care of the ones in patrol bases out there.”
Aside from repairing generators, Young also delivers new and repaired utilities equipment, picking up those in need of repair, to various COPs and PBs.
“I’ve been on about seventeen missions to deliver and pick up generators to the other bases,” added Young.
On a typical day, Young and his team repair utilities equipment in their lot. Swapping parts, changing dusty filters, and cleaning oil chunks out of machines are all part of his daily routine.
The job is dirty, sometimes becoming repetitive and tedious. Even so, Young understands the importance of his hard work to the overall mission.
Not only does Young keep machines up and running, but he also makes sure his fellow Marines are energized as well.
“Whenever I see a Marine that’s sad or unhappy, something clicks in my head,” Young explained. “I just start thinking of the funniest thing to say.”
Just as he uses a screwdriver to fix a generator, Young uses a smile and a joke as tools to cheer up his fellow Marines.
“If you make a man laugh, you can make him forget every negative thing that’s going on in his life, even if it’s just for a second,” Young said.
“It’s good having him around,” said Lance Cpl. Oscar A. Villalvazo, a generator mechanic with RCT-5. “His humor definitely lifts up our workplace.”
Generators break down all the time, so Young’s work is never done. As his deployment moves forward, Young, much like his father before him, will continue to dedicate himself to the Corps, by servicing utilities equipment across southern Helmand and lifting the spirits of his fellow Marines.
“Our job is to support the grunts out there,” said Young. “I’ve got no problem fixing their air conditioner or heat and keeping their power on so they can do their job and maybe even charge their iPods.”
Editor’s note: Regimental Combat Team 5 is assigned to 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Forces and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
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This work, Atlanta Marine follows in father’s footsteps, powers Marines in Afghanistan, by Sgt Alfred V. Lopez, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.