Patriotic Article
Military

Sailor Reflects On Five-Year Tour With Marines
Courtesy of 2nd Marine Logistics Group - July 25, 2012

Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul M. Koch, a logistics specialist with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, poses for a picture aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 17, 2012. Koch has managed to distinguish himself among leathernecks for nearly five years by deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. He also received his Fleet Marine Force Badge and volunteered to participate in Corporal’s Course in March 2011. Photo by USMC Cpl. Bruno J. Bego
Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul M. Koch, a logistics specialist with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, poses for a picture aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 17, 2012. Koch has managed to distinguish himself among leathernecks for nearly five years by deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. He also received his Fleet Marine Force Badge and volunteered to participate in Corporal's Course in March 2011. Photo by USMC Cpl. Bruno J. Bego

 CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (7/19/2012) – Corpsmen, medical officers, religious service specialists and chaplains are the most common Navy specialties seen working hand-to-hand with Marines. However, other jobs such as logistics specialists are a much more uncommon sight.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul M. Koch, a logistics specialist with 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, has managed to distinguish himself among leathernecks for nearly five years.

Koch's career started in 2007, when he joined the Navy with the desire of becoming a corpsman and deploying.

“I wasn't able to get the job I wanted, so the logistics specialist job opened up and I took it,” the Silver City, Iowa, native explained. “I was concerned because I didn't know if I was going to be able to deploy around the world with this [job].”

The logistics specialist occupational specialty was created as a result of combining the Navy's storekeeper and postal clerk specialties. LS sailors are in charge of taking inventory of general supplies that support ships and squadrons.

The job demands are similar to the Marine Corps' warehouse and postal clerks.

During his time at the Naval Technical Training Center aboard Naval Air Station Meridian, Miss., Koch made it clear to his superiors that he wanted to serve in an operational unit, such as the Seabees. Upon graduation, though, he was informed that his wish was not possible.

“I was told that there was an opening with a Marine Corps unit instead,” he said. “I thought it was cool I was going to get to work with the Marines.”

What Koch did not think was that the Marines were going to take him for a spin in some of the most dangerous terrain known to mankind.

He started by volunteering to deploy with the battalion in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009.

“In Iraq I got to meet a lot of great people and that's where I got more involved with Marines,” Koch explained. “During that deployment I received my [Fleet Marine Force badge].”

The FMF is a badge earned by naval personnel who are trained and qualified to operate with Marines.

After returning from his first deployment, Koch was promoted to petty officer 3rd class. He continued to serve with his battalion and alongside Marines, but in March of 2011 he decided to pick up the pace and volunteer to participate in Corporal's Course.

The month-long course is designed to toughen non-commissioned officers physically and mentally through grueling physical training sessions and formal classroom instruction. The goal is to reinforce leadership principles among young leaders.

“I thought the course was a way for me to improve my leadership skills and to be at the same level as some of the Marines [non-commissioned officers] in my shop,” he added.

Koch's successful completion of Corporal's Course was followed by a second deployment with the unit to Afghanistan in support of International Security Assistance Force operations from September 2011 to March 2012.

“I am very proud of what I have done, I am proud of my deployments and my service alongside Marines,” Koch said.

Although Koch's military career has come to an end, his experience in the Navy and the time he spent with the Marines at Camp Lejeune and the Middle East will certainly serve him well as he ventures into a new phase of his life.

Koch will use his educational funds to attend Tidewater Community College, Virginia Beach, Va., where he will pursue his life-long dream of completing his degree in emergency medical services and work with the fire department.

“While I am checking out I feel like I don't want to leave because this is what I've known for the past five years, but it is time to move on,” Koch concluded.

Courtesy of 2nd Marine Logistics Group
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2012

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