News: Seven years, four deployments: Illinois Marine loves to serve his country
Story by Cpl. Ed Galo
DELARAM DISTRICT CENTER, Afghanistan – Living the simple life in a small farm town, Sgt. Michael Montgomery felt that he had to serve his country in a time of war.
“I think it’s everyone’s obligation to serve their country in the military or some sort of public service,” said Montgomery with Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6. “I joined so I could deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
In his seven years in the Marine Corps, Montgomery, of Potomac, Ill., has deployed four times: twice to Iraq, once with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and currently, to Afghanistan. He is serving as a squad leader and the patrol base non-commissioned officer in charge for the Delaram District Center just outside of Forward Operating Base Delaram II.
Montgomery, 25, is a field artillery cannoneer by trade.
“I love every aspect of artillery, but shooting and moving is my favorite part,” Montgomery said. “There aren’t blanks for the howitzer. We always shoot live rounds. So that means we always train for how we fight.”
Montgomery says he believes his experience from his time in service and deployments helps him be a strong leader for his junior Marines.
“It has definitely helped me - the experience of how basic day to day life is, and going on patrols and maintaining security. I’ve learned a lot about that and try to teach it to the junior guys,” Montgomery said.
Although he’s traveled around the world many times, Montgomery is still a farm boy at heart. He enjoys talking about tractors and farm life. He restores old tractors as a hobby.
“I don’t like working with new tractors with computers and stuff like that,” he said. “I like an older tractor that is just gears spinning and not computer programs on wheels. I was raised old school like that.”
Even on patrols, through the Delaram District Center, Montgomery talks about farm equipment he sees.
“That one looks almost like the one I have back home,” he said with a smile to another Marine while they stopped to talk to the locals on a patrol. “Mine has a bigger plow though.”
Montgomery says he probably won’t reenlist because he has accomplished his goal of deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. He plans on going back home to Illinois, pursuing a degree in criminal justice, becoming a police officer, and working on his farm.
“I don’t plan on making a lot of money out of the farm. That’s just more to keep it up,” he said. “We’ve owned it since 1828. I’m real big into history, and that’s history. It has a lot of sentimental value. I was raised on the farm, and if I ever have kids, I’ll raise them on that farm too.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Echo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, is a part of Regimental Combat Team 6. RCT-6 falls under 1st 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 Force 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.