CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (1/20/22012) – Nicholas Marchioni enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2000 as an infantryman and like many, he completed his four-year contract and headed back home to start a new chapter in his life.
Just a few short months after he returned to his hometown of Detroit, Marchioni was once again called to serve.
“I was recalled, so I just reenlisted and became an engineer,” explained the 30-year-old.
Now, seven years later, Sgt. Marchioni is on his sixth deployment and finds himself in Afghanistan for the second time, serving as a squad leader for 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward).
Sgt. Nicholas Marchioni, a squad leader with 2nd platoon, Alpha Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), enjoys a game of spades with his Marines during some down time in a route reconnaissance mission, Jan. 2, 2012. The Detroit native is known as a father figure throughout the platoon. Photo by USMC Cpl. Meredith Brown
Second platoon operates as the security platoon for 9th ESB. They are tasked with conducting route and site reconnaissance missions in addition to providing security for other combat engineers on the ground.
“Because our job is (so versatile), you become the jack of all trades, master of none,” said Marchioni with a laugh.
“It seems like most of the time, I go back to my roots and teach people about machine guns and rifles and a lot of other things, because I learned how to be an (infantryman) first.”
Spending time with his Marines and passing on his knowledge and life experiences is something Marchioni often does, even after the work for the day is complete.
Before the unit deployed to Afghanistan, Marchioni would organize barbecues for the company every weekend outside of their barracks in Okinawa.
“It's how I live, 2nd platoon is my close-knit family and first squad is like my kids,” Marchioni said.
The special bond Marchioni shares with each of his Marines is evident from the moment you see them interacting.
“Most of (the Marines) have seen me go through some rough times, but I always seem to be having a good time,” he said. “It's being able to get through all the craziness of normal life and still put a smile on your face, go to work and get done what you have to get done. Always keep driving forward.”
For Marchioni, being there for his Marines and believing in them when they need him is key to being a successful leader.
“A lot of Marines know I'll do whatever I can for them and believe in them, if they are going to fail it doesn't matter,” he said. “I just want them to put forth whatever they can, give them the benefit of the doubt as much as I can. A lot of times, doubt is the only thing keeping the Marine from doing it. I mean we all got here somehow, trying to be the best.”
Marchioni is looked up to as a leader by many of the Marines in the platoon; his understanding and patience does not go unnoticed.
“He is more like a father figure,” said Lance Cpl. Andrew Nelson, a gunner and squad member. “With the kind of personality he has, before he chews you out, he'll talk to you about what you did wrong, instead of making you feel stupid. It's just the way he is and it just works.”
After Marchioni completes this four-year contract, he plans to get out of the Marine Corps and move back to Michigan, so that he can spend time with his 7-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.
By USMC Cpl. Meredith Brown
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Provided through DVIDS
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