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Pride Paramount To Marine From River Ridge
by Army Spc. Chelsea Russell - April 13, 2012

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April 4, 2012 - Marine Corps Sgt. Marc Orgeron, an intelligence surveillance reconnaissance collection manager with Regional Command Southwest stationed at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, said pride in country, state and family have helped shape him into the Marine he is today. Photo by Army Spc. Chelsea Russell
April 4, 2012 - Marine Corps Sgt. Marc Orgeron, an intelligence surveillance reconnaissance collection manager with Regional Command Southwest stationed at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, said pride in country, state and family have helped shape him into the Marine he is today. Photo by Army Spc. Chelsea Russell

 HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (4/9/2012) - The sound of the National Anthem fills the air and young Cpl. Marc Orgeron holds a microphone in his hand. He stands rigidly at attention, the gleam of hard-earned medals glinting from his chest as he begins to sing. His voice booms across the bright green ball field and fills the hearts of those gathered to witness the San Diego Padres versus Colorado Rockies baseball game, Sept. 17, 2009, with pride.

Now a sergeant, Orgeron, an intelligence surveillance reconnaissance collection manager with Regional Command Southwest currently deployed to Afghanistan, comes from a culture rich with a history of music, food and pride. He grew up in River Ridge, La., a suburb of New Orleans.

“I tried out for American Idol when I was sixteen,” said Orgeron. “I was pretty heavily involved in the community as far as singing whenever I was younger.”

Orgeron has always had an interest in music. He got his first drum set when he was 5 years old and has been playing ever since.

“I've always loved music,” he explained. “I started singing
whenever I was in high school. I always knew I could sing, but I was just really shy about it so I didn't really show anybody.”

One day he decided it was time for him to overcome his fears of singing in public and began sharing his musical abilities with others. When he tried out for American Idol he made it all the way to the executive producers. Even though he had only been singing for a year, he was both excited and nervous to try out for the popular reality television singing competition.

“People don't realize whenever you try out for American Idol you don't go straight to Simon, Paula and Randy,” he said. “You go through a series of steps of judges before you go in front of them.”

Even though he didn't make it past the second round of judging, Orgeron said it was a great experience.

After graduating high school, he attended Delgado Community College, but it wasn't long before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.

Orgeron was in New Orleans when the hurricane stormed its way across Louisiana during August 2005. After the hurricane passed, he and his family lived with relatives in El Paso, Texas, for about two months.

“I went to school for a little while after Katrina and there was so much going on that I just started working in the community helping with tree removal,” said Orgeron.

Katrina was one of the reasons Orgeron didn't stay in college. He got so involved in helping his local community he just decided it would be best for him to get a job. He believed it would help him become more mature, plus he enjoyed working.

“I worked for Northrop Grumman,” Orgeron said. “They build a lot of Navy ships. Some of the people I worked with were retired Marines. They were inspiration for me to join the military.”

Soon after making the decision to join the Marine Corps, Orgeron began work as an aviation ordnance technician.

“I liked it,” he said, smiling fondly as he recalled his years of working in the field. “There was a lot of camaraderie, but I wanted something that would better suit me for my transition if I was to decide to transition into the civilian world.”

After exploring the options available to him, he made a lateral move into the intelligence field.

“There's a lot of pride in the intelligence community,” Orgeron said. “We're very close knit.”

When he was younger, Orgeron never imagined he would be in the military. It's been nearly six years since he joined and he said it's good to know his job in the Marine Corps is making a difference in the war effort.

“It's really cool to know that what I do plays a very key part in saving people's lives in the battlespace and it is also directly contributed to winning,” said Orgeron.

He has learned about maturity and patience since joining the Marine Corps.

“I've learned to appreciate the little things in life,” he said, his eyes alight with sincerity. “That's one of the biggest things. A lot of people don't appreciate things until they lose them and then whenever they get them back they learn how special it is to be an American.”

Master Sgt. Heath Lewison, collections chief with RC (SW) stationed at Camp Leatherneck, said Orgeron is a stellar Marine.

“I think the hard part about this job is it requires you to think on your feet a lot,” said Lewison. “You have a lot of things coming at you at one time. You have to be able to have initiative and prioritize what may be the most important task at hand.”

Orgeron is two months into his deployment and he said the biggest challenge has been being apart from his wife, Jennifer. They will celebrate their first anniversary June 10.

“Time flies by, really,” he said. “I get to talk to my wife every day, which is really good.”

Pride in country, state and family have helped shape Orgeron into the Marine he is today.

“I've always had pride in the military,” he said, his voice filled with emotion. “Both of my grandfathers were in the military.”

Whereas they served in the Air Force and Navy, Orgeron is doing his part in protecting his country by serving in the Marine Corps. Even though he's only been here a few months, he is looking forward to the sense of personal accomplishment he'll feel at the conclusion of his deployment.

By Army Spc. Chelsea Russell
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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