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Patriotic Article

By USMC LCpl Garry J. Welch

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Brotherhood Forged Between Marines In The Field
(December 9, 2010)

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CAMP SENDAI, Japan (MCN - 12/6/2010) — Growing up, I had always wanted to become a Marine. The tales of what they had done astonished me, and having multiple relatives that served in the Marine Corps only added to my fascination.

My grandfather and one of my uncles were both Marines and served in Vietnam. My grandfather was in infantry, while my uncle was in force reconnaissance. Both told me stories of what they had done and the conditions they did it in. My father, also a Marine, was in artillery in the 80's, and would also tell me stories of deployments, and what his job was like.

I joined the Marine Corps not sure what I wanted to do. I thought about artillery but in the end I allowed the Marine Corps to choose for me and I became a combat correspondent, which recently allowed me to follow a group of artillery Marines on an annual training exercise. For me, being able to see what my father did, and even do it myself was an experience.

Working with Gun Team Five, Bravo Battery, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, afforded me the opportunity to experience some of what my father had done. I saw how the crew operated and the speed at which they did it. I was even allowed to fire a round.

When my time came to fire the weapon, my heart was racing with anticipation as I held the lanyard in my hand. I saw the round get rammed into the chamber, powder bag and primer inserted, breech closed then I heard it, “Stand by ... FIRE”.

The howitzer jerked back from the recoil as I pulled the lanyard and sent the round downrange. A shockwave went through my body as a cloud of white smoke poured from the end of the barrel, then from the breach as the team prepared to fire the next round.

Gun Team Five congratulated me on successfully firing the howitzer for the first time with handshakes and smiles. At that moment I felt like I was more than just someone telling their story, I felt like I was part of the story – part of their team.

They treated me like I was a guest in their house. They ensured I got chow, had somewhere to sleep, and got what I needed to complete my job.

I became a friend.

The Marines I was with have great personalities and were willing to explain in detail what their job requires of them and even showed me how to do it.

Spending time with Gun Team Five allowed me to see the brotherhood formed between Marines in the field. Out there, everything is shared and everyone is taken care of by each other.

Being in the field with these guys made me realize I am not alone in the Marine Corps. The scenery might seem familiar to me at times, but sometimes it can be vastly different. When the weather turned on us, these Marines were there with me. Some of the jobs and equipment might seem intimidating, but Gun Team Five was there to help. No matter how bad things get, when I was living in the field, I knew there were Marines going through the same thing beside me.
By USMC LCpl Garry J. Welch
Marine Corps Bases Japan
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Marine Corps News

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