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    The new tradition of E-18

    The new tradition of E-18

    Photo By Cpl. Johnny Merkley | U.S. Marine Sgt. Maj. William R. Frye, the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment sergeant...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Johnny Merkley 

    Regimental Combat Team-5

    NAWA DISTRICT, Afghanistan — Throughout the Marine Corps, the bulk of combat operations are conducted at the non commissioned officer level and below.

    Within 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, an unexpected, a tradition between the two senior enlisted leaders in the battalion has arisen due to their close working relationship. The battalion sergeant major and master gunnery sergeant have made it a practice to develop a presence on the front lines with junior enlisted Marines across the 2/6 battlespace.

    “The best way to understand what the Marines are going through, is get out there and do it with them,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. John E. Trotta, the 2/6 operations chief. “The Marines have to know the guys who make decisions know what they’re going through.”

    Together, Trotta and Sgt. Maj. William R. Frye, the 2/6 sergeant major, patrol monthly and sometimes weekly with their Marines throughout Helmand province’s Nawa district. These visits allow them to gain hands on experience at the battalion’s smaller positions, boosting the morale of the young Marines they visit in the process.

    The role of a battalion sergeant major is to maintain morale and good order and discipline, while an operations chief is focused on organizing and running the operational and tactical side of the battalion. Frye and Trotta believe the two of them combined make the perfect team to drive the battalion’s success.

    “When master guns (Trotta) arrived at the battalion, we got together and discussed the importance of our relationship,” said Frye. “We feel that going outside the wire and patrolling is important because the Marines see that we’re out there… that we see what they’re experiencing everyday.”

    With the two E-9’s (a sergeant major and master gunnery sergeant share this grade) working together in both the office and field environment, they felt the nickname of “Team E-18” best symbolizes the working relationship of the battalion’s two senior enlisted leaders.

    “We’re the senior leadership in the battalion, when we go out the combined effort is E-18,” said Trotta. “You don’t see senior enlisted leadership going out together like this too often, it’s something we enjoy doing and combined we get a good perspective on the battalion.”

    Jointly, the two have been leading 2/6 over the past several months in combat operations in Nawa, and continue to push out together as much as possible to the different squads in their area of operations. Though Frye and Trotta each have decades of Marine Corps experience under their belts, they admit a lot has changed since their days as young Marines.

    “We carry a lot more weight on patrol these days and we ask a lot from our squad leaders who are sometimes young corporals responsible for many lives,” said Trotta. “I think when the young Marines see old guys like us with 20 years of experience in the Marine Corps out patrolling with them, it helps boost moral. It also motivates us to be out there with them.”

    Editor’s note: Second Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division (Forward), which 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 the ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.



    Date Taken: 04.20.2012
    Date Posted: 04.20.2012 02:03
    Story ID: 87023
    Location: NAWA DISTRICT, AF 

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