Photo Information

Cpl. Cade Mierstice stands among aircraft on a flight line during cold weather training aboard Ft. Drum, N.Y., Mar. 11, 2017. After being an avid competitor in wrestling, he chose to join the Marine Corps because he did not want to settle for anything short of the finest. “We’re the best,” said Mierstice. “It’s just how we are. I was a state championship wrestler before I got in, and I always wanted to be the best at everything I did.” Mierstice is an aviation ordnance technician with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Mackenzie Gibson/Released)

Photo by Cpl. Mackenzie Gibson

One round at a time: HMLA-269 Marine leads by example

21 Mar 2017 | Cpl. Mackenzie Gibson 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

“I remember it was a freezing day,” said Mierstice. “I was brand new to the fleet, and a Cpl. who wasn’t in my shop instructed me to go outside and scrape ice off of the tugs, knowing full well that I didn’t have any warming layers.

“So I’m out there freezing, scraping ice off of tugs, and this other brand new Cpl. who checked into our unit that same day came outside with an ice scraper and started scraping right next to me. I told him ‘No Cpl., I was told to do it.’ and he said to me ‘I would never make my Marines do something that I wouldn’t do myself.’

“That was four years ago. To this day, he is my best friend. So he is how I model myself for my Marines. They know that they can always count on me and I will always be there right next to them.”

Now on his second enlistment, Mierstice originally joined the Marine Corps for a sense of purpose. After being an avid competitor in wrestling, he chose the Marine Corps because he did not want to settle for anything short of the greatest.

“We’re the best,” said Mierstice. “It’s just how we are. I was a state championship wrestler before I got in, and I always wanted to be the best at everything I did.”

According to Mierstice, countless hours of hard work and discipline went into becoming a champion. Waking up at 5 a.m. to work out, and sometimes making extreme changes to his diet to cut weight proved to be challenging.

“I spent every waking minute working on it,” said Mierstice. “My dad was always behind me, pushing me very hard. I never would have gone as far as I did without him. It was hard, but it physically prepared me for the Marine Corps and gave me the determination and commitment this job takes.”

Mierstice states that small challenges are an everyday occurrence as an aviation ordnance technician.

“Murphey’s Law is kind of a big thing here,” said Mierstice. “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. We just have to overcome the obstacles, and we always manage as a team.

“My favorite part about coming into work is being a team leader. I love going out there and loading the weapons with my Marines.”

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