War on Terrorism

Monday, April 16, 2012

Face of Defense: Warehouse Clerks Band Together

By Marine Corps Cpl. Mark Stroud
1st Marine Logistics Group

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, April 16, 2012 – Three Marines here make sure their fellow Marines have everything they need.

“Pretty much everything anyone has out here came through supply at one point,” said Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Lud G. Romain, assistant warehouse chief, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, 1st Marine Logistics Group. “We have three lance corporals in the warehouse taking care of the entire battalion.”

Once the supply warehouse meets the battalion’s supply needs, CLB-4 provides direct combat logistics support to Regimental Combat Team 6.

Romain and one of the other supply warehouse clerks, Lance Cpl. Brian A. Yanez, began their journey together at the birthplace of many Marine Corps friendships -- military occupational school. Lance Cpl. Lagrima C. Urista, another supply warehouse clerk, joined the duo shortly afterward at their first duty station, Camp Foster, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan.

“Romain and I had already been a good team on Okinawa when we first met Urista, but when we did, we knew we had found someone who was going to be a great addition,” Yanez said.

Their group bonded by day at work and explored Okinawa by night, taking advantage of the recreational and historical sites on the island, Urista said. Less than two years into their careers, their service has already taken them across thousands of miles, with stops in five countries on two continents.

“We first met in Japan, but since then we have been on training exercises or deployments in [South Korea], America, Kyrgyzstan and now Afghanistan,” Yanez said.

Afghanistan‘s Helmand province is the most-recent stop for the supply Marines.

“I think we will look back at this deployment in 20 years as an opportunity that was given to us to rise to the challenge of taking on [noncommissioned officer] responsibilities as lance corporals,” Yanez said. “[We] have always [had] responsibilities, but this is the first time we were given this level of responsibility. It is a good feeling knowing we are accomplishing the mission.”

The Marines have learned to trust and rely on one another over the course of their friendship.

“It is always noticeable whenever one of us is out of the warehouse for training or convoys,” Yanez said. “We have learned to rely on each other. When we are all here, everything thing runs perfectly smooth, but it becomes apparent how important each Marine is whenever one of us is gone.”

The bonds formed during training have helped the Marines accomplish their mission, both individually and as a team. These bonds have given them experience beyond their rank.

“Each of them is capable of making their own decisions -- decisions that NCOs would normally make,” said Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Drew McDonald, CLB-4’s supply warehouse chief. “They make a good team, and it helps them every day.”

Romain, a Newark, N.J., native, uses his natural tenacity to complete his duties as assistant warehouse chief, Yanez said.

Yanez, a Buena Park, Calif., native, is a fixture around the CLB-4 compound, spending time as the Defense Reutilization Management Office NCO, assisting with base improvement projects and managing the DRMO pit, where excess or broken equipment is taken for disposal or reuse.

The junior Marine in the warehouse, Urista, a Vernon, Texas, native, brings a positive attitude to the table, motivating her fellow Marines on even the longest days while working as roll-back clerk, Yanez said.

The trio intends to continue their friendship long after the deployment is over, carrying the bonds they forged with their fellow Marines with them for the rest of their lives, Urista said.

“We will probably try to stay in contact, but even if we don’t, we will take what we learned from each other and pass it on to the next group of Marines,” Yanez said.

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