CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – More than 20 vehicles of varying shapes and sizes kick up dust and sand as a combat logistics patrol drives through Afghanistan.
Corporal Armando Muniz, loadmaster, 4th Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 2, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, keeps track of everything the patrol drops off and picks up. He makes sure everything gets where it needs to be.
The battalion supplies Marines and other coalition forces throughout Helmand province. Most of the food, drinks, building materials and equipment come from their logistics patrols.
“We take everything from point A to point B and sometimes even C,” said Muniz, from New York.
A loadmaster’s job ranges from checking to make sure everything is loaded safely and securely, to making sure gear is signed over to the proper person. Muniz also makes sure he knows what the Marines need for future deliveries.
“Sometimes Marines don’t always get everything,” said Muniz. “I talk to the Marines. When I’m back, I make sure we load it on the next convoy. If there are other Marines going back to the base, I’ll give it to them.”
It is this kind of dedication that developed Muniz’s reputation of being professional and helpful. The Marines at the bases know when the logistics patrol arrives to find Muniz if they need anything.
“When people call our office looking for gear, they ask for Cpl. Muniz by name,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Schlottmann, Muniz’s platoon commander. “He’s earned himself a reputation with the Marines with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines. They know when he shows up, he’s there to work, and they take him very seriously.”
When a patrol arrives at a forward operating base, there are a lot of moving parts. Certain bases receive certain items and quantities. In addition, Marines at each base might have something to return with the convoy. With more than 20 vehicles and 60 Marines and sailors moving around large boxes of cargo, the importance of a loadmaster quickly becomes clear.
“Corporal Muniz is always the first person onscene when we get to other FOBs,” said Sgt. Bryan Hall, security team leader, 4th Platoon. “He’s always coordinating with the other units, and he makes the unloading and loading a lot easier.”
Muniz is active when the logistics patrols arrive. He makes sure the correct personnel sign for items, checks unloaded gear and accounts for loaded gear.
“He’s also on the trucks with the Marines undoing straps and unbinding chains,” said Hall, from North Tonawanda, N.Y. “He doesn’t just sit there and tell people what to do. He gets his hands dirty and works with the Marines.”
For Muniz, the job is the next challenge he is trying to conquer. This is his first year as a loadmaster. He volunteered for the position before he deployed. He enjoys working under the stress and time sensitive conditions.
“After my first two deployments, I wanted to move up to a bigger challenge,” said Muniz. “When I’m loading, sometimes I feel like I’m playing Tetris. I’m trying to load as much as I can on one vehicle safely.”
Muniz may compare his job to a game, but he takes his job seriously.
“I play a supportive role for the guys out there in the fight,” said Muniz. “I want to make sure they have everything they need.”
With winter fast approaching, Muniz’s job as loadmaster will not slow down. He will continue to make sure Marines and coalition servicemembers throughout Helmand province receive the necessary gear and supplies to continue operations.
This work, No ordinary Tetris game, loadmaster supplies servicemembers, by Sgt Timothy Lenzo, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.