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Patriotic Article
By Marine LCpl. Brian M. Woodruff

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Recon Marine Prepares For Next Challenge
(March 24, 2009)

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Staff Sgt. Mark L. Reidel, a team leader with 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, prepares to take a shot during the Pre-sniper Course here March 18. Becoming a scout sniper is just one of the many challenges Reidel has taken on in his career.
  Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, NC (March 19, 2009)

Marines are challenged throughout their careers. They are challenged to earn the title of Marine. They are challenged to learn the intricacies of their specific job. Simply put, every day is a challenge for Marines.

Staff Sgt. Mark L. Reidel, a team leader with 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, said he thrives on challenging himself. It's what made him the man and the Marine he is today.

Reidel, a Milford, Ohio native, started off his Marine Corps career in 2002 with an artillery battery. He has deployed four times three of which have been to Iraq. During his second tour in Iraq, Reidel says he experienced one of the most memorable days in his career.

In an effort to free insurgents from Abu Ghraib prison, insurgents launched a strike on the prison using small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and vehicle borne improvised explosive devices.

At the time of the attack, Reidel was manning one of the M2 .50 caliber machine guns. He delivered constant heavy fire on the enemy's positions until the episode had ended. During the attack, Reidel received shrapnel wounds to his face and neck.

Four hours later, after receiving medical treatment, he was picking up debris from the attack with all the other Marines, with no sleep and no food. But for Reidel, that was just one more challenge.

After coming back from the deployment in 2006 as a Sergeant, Reidel moved to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion.

“It was something I was always curious about and I wasn't sure I wanted out of the Marine Corps,” Reidel said, “yet I wanted a challenge.”

After joining the unit, he deployed to Iraq. Upon his return, he was selected to join Force Company as a team leader.

With only six years in the Marine Corps, Reidel was selected for Staff Sergeant. This is no small accomplishment for any Marine.

While his promotion presented the new and exciting challenges for him as a leader, another challenge lay in wait.

Reidel was selected to join the ranks of the scout snipers, a dream of his since early 2007.

“When our team didn't have a sniper in Iraq, I became the designated marksman, and I was able to receive some on-the-job training from real scout snipers,” Reidel said. “They talked about the [Marine Corps Scout Sniper School] and I knew I had to go.”

On March 16, Reidel began his next endeavor by starting the Pre-sniper Course. Reidel's peers say he has already shown himself to have limitless potential.

“All the guys in the course have improved so much, but he definitely stands out from the rest,” said Sgt. Clint A. Michalek, Instructor for the Pre-sniper Course. “He puts pride into everything he does and does it to the best of his ability.”

Reidel said he wanted to take on this test because he's seen the impact just one scout sniper team can make.

“You can have one two guys holding down an entire platoon-size element with no problem,” Reidel said. “You also have the fear factor. You could be under heavy inaccurate fire and not be scared, but one or two well-placed shots by a sniper and it becomes chaos.”

Reidel is very excited about the upcoming scout sniper course, and says he has no problem facing up to what may be his toughest test yet.

“I try to fill my life with challenges, because if I'm not challenging myself then life is boring. Once I complete one challenge and I get that great feeling, I just want to do it again and again,” Reidel said.

Even though he has accomplished many different things during his time in the Marine Corps, Reidel doesn't know where this road will lead him.

“Right now it's going great, but when it stops being a challenge, I may find something else,” Reidel said. “Who knows what might happen?”

By Lance Cpl. Brian M. Woodruff
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Marine Corps News

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